Allotment successes and failures

I’ve been slacking in the blogging front but have been just about keeping up with the plot itself. I can’t believe how fast the weeds pop up during the summer though, especially with all the rain we’ve had.

Anyway, as it’s now officially autumn, here’s a quick summary of what’s worked and what hasn’t so far this year



Broad beans – sown in November, these gave an early crop

Beetroot – a big success, so easy to grow

Asparagus – thanks to the previous plot holder for this

Rainbow chard – rampant and colourful

Runner beans – these are past their best now but the five plants I sowed could have fed the whole street

Dwarf French beans – tricky to germinate – I only got three plants – but I’ve been surprised at the large crop

Kale – huge and pretty although I’m not keen on the taste

Purple sprouting broccoli – needs a huge amount of space but have been trouble free and delicious

Tomatoes – red, yellow and chocolate colours are all cropping now and are much more tasty than shop-bought

Blueberries – from my Poundland bush and one smaller one bought online. Lots of berries for breakfast pancakes.

Radishes – quick and easy.



Garlic – after a promising start, most of mine suffered from mould and I only got one full sized bulb

Carrots – I sowed a couple of rows which seemed to be doing ok before promptly disappearing.

A mixed bag:


Mange tout – I expected a larger crop from these but what I got was very nice.

Blackberries – the plot has problems with out of control brambles but at least I have enough blackberries to make jam to see us through the winter.

Parsnips: these are notorious for being hard to germinate and I only have a few seedlings. Will report back on how they do.

Veg galore

Here are a few photos of the plot and recent harvests. After six weeks of asparagus, we’ve now moved onto feasts of rainbow chard, broad beans and mange tout.

The garlic hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped with some suffering from white rot and only one full size bulb so far.

The weeds are rampant on the side of the plot I haven’t tackled yet but on the plus side, I have loads of poppies and some foxgloves.

A bump in the road

My bump in the road took the form of the (now dreaded) allotment inspections. I went to the plot yesterday to eat my lunch, as work’s been super-stressful for the past few weeks and it’s nice to get away from my desk for a few minutes. One of the men popped over and opened with the line “it was the inspections yesterday and you failed dismally”.

I hadn’t known the inspections were happening or what the criteria are so it was all a bit of a shock and not conducive to a relaxing break from work. I asked what the criteria are and it’s apparently to be 50% planted up and 100% weed free which, on a plot which six months ago was completely covered with rubbish, old car parts, broken glass, bindweed and matestail isn’t realistic I don’t think.

They’re right that one side of my plot is a disaster zone as far as weeds are concerned but I’ve made known that my plan is to focus on the right hand side this year before tackling the left, and as it’s thigh high in marestail I’m not entirely sure what can be done in the short term besides getting hold of a strimmer perhaps.

Anyway, I’ll dig up the most visible weeds at the top end and make it obvious I’m continuing to battle the weeds. The inspections are monthly so I’m hoping for no black mark next time.

Here’s a pic of the better side of the plot, complete with runner bean wigwam.




Lunch from the plot


The title of this post is a slight exaggeration but two elements of today’s lunch are from the plot: yet more asparagus, and the multicoloured radishes.

Today we put up the wigwam for runner beans and I sowed some sunflowers in an attempt to add some colour to the plot.

Here’s how it’s looking st the moment (not shown: marestail forest on the left hand side of the plot).

Garlic, radishes and broad beans are all doing pretty well, while beetroot, chard, broccoli, kale and carrots are all tiny. Mange tout took a battering in the wind shortly after I planted them out so I’m hoping they recover.



Poundland blueberries

A few years ago I bought one of the blueberry sticks you see in Poundland. It’s in a pot out the front of my house and over the past three years had grown but never shown any sign of giving fruit.

I read that blueberries do better when grown next to another blueberry plant of a different type so a few months ago I ordered a Bluecrop from Amazon and potted it up next to the other bush. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but this year both blueberries are covered  in promising-looking buds and flowers which I’m hoping will result in lots of fruit later in the year. So it might take a few years but it looks like £1 fruit bushes are worth a go.


First harvest!

Guess what our tea was tonight? Or our starter, at least. Asparagus! Grown on the plot!

I went down this afternoon just to water the garlic and the seeds I’ve planted recently and realised that the asparagus was growing at such an alarming rate that I needed to harvest some. I cut four spears which we’ve literally just eaten so I can tell you that they were delicious.

I didn’t harvest the giant, intimidating, biggest-asparagus-spear-I’ve-ever-seen as it isn’t quite long enough yet but it certainly has enough girth.


PS – I noticed an influx of visitors this week which I think was due to a mention from Richard on Sharpen Your Spades – thanks Richard!