No one else but me had set foot on my allotment since I’d owned it – I’ve just never really thought anyone would be bothered to come and it’s also a horticultural nightmare with old junk and weeds galore. However, driven by a surplus of Dahlias people have been, and it’s been great. Continue reading Dahlia swap!
The popcorn plants on my allotment are (later than normal) finally flowering and I thought I’d share some photos of the flowers. I’m betting most people have never seen popcorn flowers! Continue reading Have you ever seen popcorn flowers?
You know that moment in sci-fi films when the warp drive or mega lazer is powering up? That “vvvvvvoooooooo” noise before the “ZEWWW” as it fires. Yeah, that bit. That’s the equivalent of what the Dahlia leaves are before the explosion of flowers. They grow and grow and then ALACAPOW there are balls of floof all over the shop. That’s the point my Dahlia patch is hitting on the allotment. And with twenty odd cultivars this year, if my Dahlia patch were a warp drive, South London would be inching closer toward Birmingham right now. Continue reading Allotment month 21: release the Dahlias! Black tomatoes, Zinnias, Brassicas and Pumpkins
Monty Don always says it’s important to pick only what you’re about to eat to reduce the time between plot and plate. James Wong often tweets and writes in the Guardian about the way sugars in vegetables quickly turn to starch – often in surprisingly short spaces of time. Continue reading Allotment month 20: it’s in the flavour – new potatoes, carrots, Florence fennel, beetroot and more
being thrown head first heading into my second season on the allotment and this year, my mind has turned to my stomach. Quite a different mindset to last year’s “must grow everything possible! Yay!” approach. I’ve actually come up with the below formula to decide what to grow, which I thought would be helpful to share: Continue reading 7 easy pickings for grow your own keenos
Today I’m talking surprise appearances, broccoli and rhubarb starting to crop, my new cut flower bed is underway, only a small moan about problems and a little froggy friend. Continue reading Allotment Month 16: surprise, surprise
Month 13: my allotment has expanded a bit this year as I’ve taken on some unused adjacent plot. This is thick with grass and other weeds so I’m using weed suppressant membrane to bring it under control with less effort. It may not look pretty, but it works. Continue reading Allotment: weed suppressant membrane – beating weeds organically
Taking on an allotment for the first time is exciting and scary. I know because I’ve just done it – I’ve had my first allotment for a year and guess what, it was fine 🙂 Yours will be too. Below are some of my tips for allotment newbies to help speed you on your way to fruit and veg success! Continue reading 13 tips to help allotment newbies… by an allotment newbie!
We had a cold frosty day at the end of November – the coldest night in London for years – and every centimetre of my allotment was covered in dazzling bling. It was a reminder that our home garden really is small. We don’t have frost like this, nor the scale of a good solid garden the size of the allotment. It was a magical moment and a joy to see the beds and plants frozen like that. Continue reading Allotment propagation and storage – potting shed, polytunnel or greenhouse?
I used to be a foliage boy. I’ve changed (well, a bit). In the past I saw flowers as extravagant, expensive purchases that didn’t last for more than a couple of days. Now I grow my own – especially the flowers I like – my world is different. Bringing flowers into the house is fun and highlights the strength, colour and architecture of each flower – particularly the Dahlias I love. Fresh, they last for ages too. There’s something so precious about a flower in a little vase. Showing off each individual flower was my key discovery, rather than losing them in a large bunch. Focus on fewer stems is purer, bringing out the fragility and wonder. Here are some of our cut flowers from our garden and allotment this year. Continue reading Why I’ve fallen for cut flowers
It’s been a year since I was given my 125 sq metre allotment and what a wonderful, soulful, reflective, fun, heartening year it has been! It’s been a hell of a lot of hard work which, while not converting into an equal output of produce, has satisfied my need to grow-our-own tenfold. Continue reading Allotment month 12: proof is in the potatoes
Something about Autumn and Spring make them feel much the same thing. Soil is damp and warm again, leading to a sudden burst of growth from weeds. This surge of energy – seen too in the wanted plants – is what helps many fruit and veg ripen and hardy veg seeds to germinate now ahead of a spring crop. Continue reading Allotment Month 11: jobs for Autumn
This year I took on my allotment and I designated one bed for garden design experiments. Deeply inspired by Planting in a Post Wild World and then seeing that principle in action at Nigel Dunnet’s design in the Barbican I’m focussing on creating a plant community with drought tolerant plants and grasses. I’ve grown everything from seed or plugs as I do with all plants to fully understand them. So this year it’s (as expected I should add) looking quite bare… Continue reading Living on a prairie (part 1)
Weedy humans are weak. Weedy plants are tough as nails. Wild flowers we like. Weeds we don’t. I think we need to make our minds up. When does a weed become a wild flower? What weeds are weak? When is a flower no longer wild? I want answers. Continue reading Taming the weedy wildflower
I’ve had my allotment for over half a year now – where did that time go? As a recap, my allotment is seven miles from our house, which is about 40 minutes on the train. This means I can only really visit it once per week on a Saturday morning, putting in a few hours graft. Continue reading Allotment Month 7: Potatoes growing, problems sowing
I’ve had my allotment since December and after a mountain of clearance, weeding, planning and seed buying, I finally feel on top of things and ready for the growing season ahead. Here’s a quick summary of where I’m at. Continue reading My Allotment: Month 5
March has to be up there in my top three favourite months of the year. Yes February has snowdrops. In March however every inch of bare soil or naked branch comes to life with little shoots of green and the garden transforms faster than I’m ever ready for. Blink and you miss it. Continue reading March 2016: Allotment woe to propagation pro
I’ve had access to my allotment for a month now giving me time to assess it, ready about half of it for planting and to make plans. It’s been cared for by the same person for over a decade I believe, and the soil appears to be a lovely, rich clay loam. Continue reading My Allotment: month 1 – preparation and planning
Today I had my first proper session at the allotment and I’d say that for the first time I felt like a proper gardener. Down on my knees hand weeding a very overgrown plot – as you can see in the photo above. I only worked through 5 metres (another 120 to go!) but it was done thoroughly.
After a year of trying, this has all happened quite quickly: I have an allotment! 125 sq metres to grow on (6m x 21m). You can see above that it has had some love in the past, and now needs some tidying up. It has become very overgrown with weeds, so that is my first task. Very excited about what this means for growing my own vegetables, fruit and more plant experiments 🙂 Continue reading I have an allotment!