Planning what to grow on the allotment

I know I won’t really be able to start growing anything on the allotment for a few months yet but I’ve started thinking about what I might grow.

I’m trying to choose veg which are:

  • Things we like to eat
  • Things that are hard to find in the shops
  • A few choices which are easy to grow and will result in lots of veg
  • Some things I’ve grown before

The list so far is:

  • Runner beans (easy to grow, should give lots of beans)
  • Beetroot
  • Kale (apparently very hardy)
  • Garlic
  • Nasturtiums (for colour, and can be added to salads)
  • Broad beans (because I bought some Aquadulce Claudia seeds, which are meant to be so hardy they can be planted in November for an early harvest)
  • Chillis (grew some indoors this year with moderate success)
  • Broccoli
  • Rainbow chard (pretty)
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Asparagus (because there’s some already on the plot)

I’ve also started doing some little plans of what might go where in the plot:

Allotment plan

Do you have any suggestions for things I should try to grow?

Strange and sinister things I’ve unearthed on the allotment

First up, this cleaver type thing, which I found next to a length of washing line:

cleaver

Then Jon dug up a slinky:

slinky

It wasn’t particularly near the surface either, he found it while digging out bramble roots.

I’ve also found a rake and a small gardening fork which have both been put to use already. I’m hoping I might unearth a shed or greenhouse but it’s not looking likely.

 

Day four: rainbows and snails’ eggs

I got to the allotment at about half eight and at about 8.35am it started chucking it down with rain. I put my hood up and carried on clearing the area I started yesterday, only to make a horrifying discovery of scary white insect eggs.

Here they are – the white ball of eggs in the centre of the photo. Also, check out the bindweed roots.

snails

There were loads of them clustered around bindweed roots and old plant pots. I had lots of scary thoughts, mainly about spiders, so abandoned that area and took photos of the double rainbow instead. My first allotment rainbow:

Rainbow over the allotments

I googled when I got home and found that they are snail eggs. Much less scary than spiders.

Day two on the allotment

Today I tackled three more of the raised beds. One had overgrown asparagus in which was pretty easy to deal with – I pulled off the large, feathery tops and stripped off the black plastic which had been covering the bed. I found the largest slug in the world when I did this.

plastic

The second raised bed seemed to be empty save for some horse’s tail and other generic dead things which I dug out. I’d been told I should touch the horse’s tail but I was impatient and tried to dig it all out by the roots. I’ve since googled and found out that’s just about the worst thing you can do.

day2after

Finally, I ventured over the the left hand side of the plot and found two narrow wooden beds which had been used for strawberry plants. I don’t really know what I’ll put in this one as it’s quite narrow.

strawberry

 

My first allotment

Today I collected the key to my first allotment. Jon and I went to meet Barbara, and we were invited into her office (greenhouse) while she put my name in the book of plot holders.

I’d already been to the local hardware shop to buy a spade and some shears so I started poking around the plot straight away, uncovering the remains of raised beds, several compost heaps and what I assume was once a cold frame. The greenhouse and shed had fallen down and been removed by the previous tenant’s family respectively, leaving weed-ridden areas of hardstanding.

Huey, one of the other plotholders, showed me where there were the remains of overgrown asparagus plants and pointed out the rampant horse’s tail and bindweed, talking about how they spread if you cut their roots and can be impervious to weedkiller.

I selected a raised bed to start work on and basically dug and dug and dug, pulling out weed roots and chopping back overhanging brambles.

Here’s how it looked when I started:

raisedbefore

And after:

day1after

After an hour or so I spotted an abandoned mattress at the end of the allotment which was kind of discouraging. However a gift of leeks and cabbage from Barbara cheered me up again and I went home to plan my dinner.