An inner city allotment

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August 2019

We’re always a little bit disappointed in August. Sounds weird, but the allotment just seems to go crazy. Everywhere looks a mess – not that that truly matters – but it seems that all we do is harvest and weed / deadhead. The rain has been torrential at times. The water butts have been overflowing, and quite a few times rain has stopped play at the allotment. But enough of the moaning …

The sweetcorn is coming along very nicely indeed, despite the fact we had to put the nets around it again because the pesky squirrel made a come back and munched three plants.


Not too bad …

With all the rain, the beans have gone ballistic. We keep picking, but they keep coming. On the other side of the beans, we planted a couple of butternut squash. They were very slow last year, but this year they’ve gone crazy! We were convinced the beans would be nearly over with by the time the squash got going. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, you can just see said squash growing around the bean canes. Now, we’ve had to trim them right back – with giant squashes taken off to ripen in the greenhouse – and drape them over some canes and netting. They’re still producing. We’ll be eating squash until the new year!


Invasion of the squashes!

The dahlia bed is producing some gorgeous blooms. Some were given to a neighbouring plot to decorate the tables at their wedding! We’re so happy with them this year, they have been excellent.


The house is full of them!

Unfortunately, we’ve had to cut the pear trees right back. The leaves were turning black and branches were rotting.  We think we’re going to have to replace them. The plums have been plentiful and the apples are coming along well as usual.


In the words of Bob Marley “We’re jammin'”

We’ve been told by the weather gods, that there is going to be a heatwave at the end of August for 2-3 weeks. We won’t put our wellies away just yet. Happy plotting!


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July 2019

When were not moaning about the heat, we’re moaning about the lack of heat. Never satisfied eh? Well, what a month on the allotment? It’s not all Hugh Fearnly- Whatnott perfect, with everyone helping each other, tolerance and instagram prettiness is it? Nope. So when people get a little bit … er above themselves, we find it best to avoid them. Why let a few bloated, blotchy, rotten old apples ruin a perfectly good barrel? It must be the heat … or a full moon.

Anyway, the problem area by the old BBQ seems to have perked up a lot. When it rains the water runs down the brick wall and just settles at the bottom, becoming muddy. We’ve planted some shrubs – salvia – which struggled and even pickling onions –  most of which rotted, just to sort it out. We think we have solved our problem though. The cosmos – Purity- just seems to love it, along with some Lychnis and a few little Geums by the border. It’s not looking so bare now.


Cosmos Purity


It’s all green in the green house. The peppers – Poblano, Cayenne and Sweet – are bursting though. Can’t wait for them to begin to ripen. We need more sun. They’ve been fed on smelly, diluted Comfrey mix. It seems to work better than normal tomato feed.




Poblano or Ancho chillies? Either is fine by us.


California Wonder, sweet peppers.

A few years ago now, someone on the allotment, gave us a throw away, catty remark about our plot. It’s stayed with us ever since,

“Oh you’re  good … with flowers.”

We got it. It was meant as an insult, but we just thought … ‘THANKS’, because without the flowers, like these lovelies we picked last week,


Always looking for vases …

You don’t get this.


Keep positive people. HAPPY PLOTTING.



March 2019

Well, March certainly did come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. It felt like there was a storm for about two weeks straight. The wind just seemed to get worse and stopped us from getting stuff done outside quite a few times.


Dwarf Narcissi

We unwrapped the dahlia tubers this week. We only lost one, no doubt it will be replaced. When you see the displays in the garden centres and they’re so cheap, sometimes two for a fiver, how can you resist?

I wish we had somewhere special to keep them, but they were wrapped in old newspapers and stored in a large plant pot in the greenhouse. They don’t seem to have done too badly. We put them individually into pots with some fresh compost to get them ready to begin shooting, then when they’re strong enough they can go in the soil.


Some of the dahlias. Not too pretty at the moment.

The seedlings seem to have picked up after a very slow start. We sowed various brassica seeds about ten days ago and today have already began potting some of the larger ones on in newspaper pots. The tomato and chilli seedlings are still very small, but hopefully with the good weather coming they should pick up … fingers crossed.


The cayennes – the second lot. Lost the first lot to a hungry cat!

Our rose bed, which we assembled from a three broken troughs is beginning to take on a life of its own. The roses are thriving along with the spring bulbs that we planted in it. It’s a forgotten area of the allotment, right at the back next to a huge composting area, but it’s beginning to look o.k., even better now we’ve added an obelisk to its centre. Hopefully the flowers will grow around it and we’ll have fresh blooms for the house this summer.


Happy plotting!

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October 2018

One of our favourite months on the allotment. Bright sunshine, crisp cold mornings and lots of birds waiting for the feeders to be topped up. We’ve done a bit of D.I.Y. on the plot this month. Moving things about, building ramshackle raised beds, it’s been hard work but great.

Firstly, we began putting the dahlias to bed, these were the last of the … lost the name tag, but they’ve been a great bloomer all summer. The colour is amazing.  We spent a good couple of hours digging up all the tubers and drying them off, unfortunately we haven’t got a ‘Dahlia cupboard’ like a certain TV gardener, so some newspapers and large pots have to do for cover.


Coffee Time.

We had to move one of the apple trees from the orchard. It had almost toppled over in the last strong winds we had, and was getting shaded by the other trees. The apples are delicious from it. We had moved the rhubarb bed, so decided to give it a new home there. It promptly decided to immediately shed it’s leaves. Hope we haven’t done more harm than good.


Fingers crossed!

We needed somewhere to park our roses. We’ve been given a few, and bought a couple, each one means something to us. So we decided to build a raised bed from all the old bits of wood on the allotment. It was a spare bit of space, that had previously been used for growing peas in containers. As well as the roses we’ll be putting a lot of various herbs in there so it’s not just for decoration, but we can’t wait to see the flowers next year.


Has since been creosoted!

This month has passed so quickly. Winding the allotment down seems to have produced more work. Looking forward to November. Happy Plotting!



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May 2017

The merry month of May, when it’s crazy in the greenhouse and the hardening off area, (a fancy term for a plastic tent, that will soon become the Aubergine house!) is crammed. The herb ladder is in its new ‘lean too’ place around the back of the shed, it will get a good amount of sunshine there as we’re quite shaded on the main allotment, but it’s great to have some proper fresh herbs again. The sorrel never took off, well I think we got one seedling which is being nursed like an only child, but everything else is going OK.


Nice big crack in the pot of oregano, must change it!

We planted the beans last Sunday; French, green and purple and runner beans from saved seed. All was well until the next day … pigeons! Bl**dy pigeons had decided to snack on them!! Our fault though, we forgot to net them, never having had any trouble with them before. Now they are under a safety cordon of dangly jar lids, old cds, a string grid and netting. Good job there was some spares. Does everyone do this? Grow the spares, just in case? Usually we end up giving them away but we’ll need them this year.


They’ll plug the gaps.

The mangetout have fared much better, maybe the pigeons haven’t got a taste for them. They were planted in a trough over a week ago, and seem to be flourishing. In a way, it was another go at the ‘bean and pea wall’ we tried last year. After seeing a picture on the internet of a spectacular wall of various sweet peas and beans all in various shades of purple we decided to give it a go. We bought some various coloured mange tout in green purple and yellow. It was just that they were all in the same bag!! So the purple wall had some green and yellow in it as well!


Wonder what colour we’ll get this time?


The Purple Pea and Bean wall! ( with added Yellow!!)

The Maypole for the sweet peas has gone up and the varieties we’ve planted are ‘Mumsie’ and ‘Tiller Girls’. We’ve planted more out, ‘Royal Family’, Air Warden’ and ‘Giant Wave’ on a bamboo wigwam next to the Maypole. We became addicted to the scent of the flowers in the house last year, so where there’s some spare space we’re planting sweet peas.


Also now covered in pigeon proof netting!

There’s so much to go out this weekend; the courgettes, borlotti beans in giant pots, lettuce etc. The fennel seedlings are getting stronger and the cauliflower seem to be picking up after a slow start. The squash have finally shown up as well! So, we’ll finish this post with a nice colourful pic of some radish. Nice and colourful, just like the allotment. Happy plotting!


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January 2017

Our first month is nearly done. Yesterday (Sunday) was the first time since taking over that we haven’t come home caked in mud, and throwing our clothes straight into the washing machine. It was nice to just visit the plot, tidy the shed, have a coffee and a chat with our new neighbours and bimble about, as you do, without panicking about getting the allotment ‘ready’.

There’s still a lot to do, we need to tidy up the orchard (yeah we know it’s only a few fruit tree’s but we like to think big!!). The woods rotted around the trees and needs replacing as you can see from this aerial pic ie someone balancing on some fencing to take the pic.


Just see the boat there …


Another angle, without too much wobbling!

You can see the fruit bushes still in their buckets, about to go in. We’re making a taller fruit cage to go over them, a walk in as the knees are not up to much crawling and stooping at the moment. We we’re thinking about keeping the gooseberries separate. There are only two,  both a dark red variety and they do fruit quite a bit, but the thorns are a right (literal) pain to contend with when you’re trying to scramble past them to get to other bushes.

The raspberry canes were cut right down and we’ve leaf mulched them, the rhubarb bed next to them doesn’t look like it’s doing much compared to other one we’ve seen on other plots but we’ve planted three new crowns grown from seed so maybe they will become stronger soon.

So we just need to finish plugging up the leaks in the greenhouse and finish painting the shed then it’s all go with the planting. Can’t wait. And here’s a pic of the new kettle, for any allotmenter you know how important that is especially on freezing days like these! Essential kit.  Happy plotting!20170129_142128.jpg

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Open Days!

Open day season is upon us, and on Sunday we visited an allotment site that is a favourite. Sefton Park Allotments in Liverpool is set in  … Sefton Park. A glorious park that has everything for everyone; A Palm House, music festivals, lakes etc etc. We have been to the open days every year since we became allotmenteers ourselves. Everyone we met was polite and pleasant, inviting us onto their patches to have a nosy … and the tea and cakes were very tasty.

If there is an allotment open day near you, please go. Support our allotments, buy a plant, some produce or even just a cup of tea. Ta.


They know their onions!


No colour clashes in nature.