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Andy H

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Posted
  • Location: Hertford
  • Location: Hertford

    I have just got my Allotment and even though at the moment it is a state i am loving every minute of getting down there and getting it ready for planting my first crops, i thought it would be nice to start a thread where we can exchange tips and hints and even pictures of our Allotments.

    I decided to get mine after last spring managing to grow some basics like tomatoes and strawberries but having chickens in my garden no matter how much i covered them i found them attacking all our hard work. and two weeks ago we was offered an allotment £13.80 for the year it already has a shed and plenty of crops starting to grow. And for a piece of land around 60ft by 30ft a bargain for the cost although i know a lot of hard work is involved.

    I will post some pictures up later of the piece of land and the work in progress, would be nice if other Allotment holders can offer some advice and pics of there own Allotments

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    Posted
  • Location: Orleton, 6 miles south of Ludlow
  • Location: Orleton, 6 miles south of Ludlow

    Hi Andy,

    I don't have an allotment, but my sister got one last year. It had been a rough pasture field, so no-one had ever weeded it or looked after the soil properly. She spent time getting the couch grass out, planted spuds to help break up the soil, and made raised beds for other veg. She has done tremendously well. Clearing the grounds of perennial weeds is really important — even if you are an organic gardener, this is the one time it's OK to use a weedkiller like Roundup. Kill the weeds at the very start, then just weed as necessary after that. Allotments often have access to farmers who will bring masses of well rotted manure — go for it big time. Get plenty of manure into the ground (except where you want to plant carrots or parsnips) — sounds like yours might have been neglected recently, but loved in the past.

    Do you have any photos of your allotment to post, so we can follow your progress?

    Picog

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    I don't have an allotment but gardening is what I do for a living, over the years I've grown lots of fruit and veg including renovating a 2 acre, walled kitchen garden.

    The most important part of any gardening, but especially veg gardening is to get the soil in good condition - lots of organic matter dug in. Well rotted manure if you can get your hands on it (not fresh, it takes more nutrients out than it puts in, as it rots in the soil) spent mushroom compost is fantastic for a brassica patch as it's got lime already added.

    As a general purpose fertiliser, pelleted chicken manure is hard to beat but always fertilise root crop areas at least 2-3 weeks before planting, otherwise the roots will split and you'll get some very odd looking carrots.

    Invest in some ground cover fabric, it's not expensive and available by the meter in varying widths from most garden centres - use it to cover any ground which isn't being used, not only will it prevent nutrients being washed out by the rain but will stop weeds growing; when you're ready to plant that bit of land, pull it off and hey presto, you're ready to go. Saves sooooooo much time and effort.

    If you don't have time to plant it all up in one season, thickly sow the vacant area with a green manure (there's lots of different ones, dependant upon soil type) this will both keep weeds down and condition the soil. A couple of weeks before you're ready to plant the area, dig the green manure crop into the ground.

    Enjoy! Be warned.....it's addictive.

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    Posted
  • Location: Hertford
  • Location: Hertford

    Thank you for your advice certainley taken on board, very additctive hobby we have been down there every spare hour, these pictures were taken just over a week ago so will get some new ones up at the weekend and show the progress. Can somebody tell me what the plant is i have taken a picture of is? seems almost oriental like bamboo??? (last Picture)

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    Posted
  • Location: Bramley, Hampshire, 70m asl
  • Location: Bramley, Hampshire, 70m asl

    Thank you for your advice certainley taken on board, very additctive hobby we have been down there every spare hour, these pictures were taken just over a week ago so will get some new ones up at the weekend and show the progress. Can somebody tell me what the plant is i have taken a picture of is? seems almost oriental like bamboo??? (last Picture)

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    Looks quite a job you've got on there Andy H!! But making good progress with your little helpers.

    Plant is definitely Bamboo .... lots of different varieties and I can't tell what you've got there --a few can be quite invasive...the roots will spread and it can shoot up everywhere.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    Looks like you're going to be busy Andy, it's really nice to see the kids getting involved too. Quick word of caution though, if that's a storage tank for rain water I'd urge caution against using it for new seedlings - stored water which has stood around for a while will have fungus and bacteria growing in it, fine for established crops, beneficial for soil but tends to cause damping off with young plants and seedlings. If there's no fresh water available then a precautionary dose of fungicide (copper based) will help stave off die back.

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    Posted
  • Location: Hertford
  • Location: Hertford

    Looks quite a job you've got on there Andy H!! But making good progress with your little helpers.

    Plant is definitely Bamboo .... lots of different varieties and I can't tell what you've got there --a few can be quite invasive...the roots will spread and it can shoot up everywhere.

    The Bamboo is in a big wooden pot and raised so hopefully should not be a problem

    Looks like you're going to be busy Andy, it's really nice to see the kids getting involved too. Quick word of caution though, if that's a storage tank for rain water I'd urge caution against using it for new seedlings - stored water which has stood around for a while will have fungus and bacteria growing in it, fine for established crops, beneficial for soil but tends to cause damping off with young plants and seedlings. If there's no fresh water available then a precautionary dose of fungicide (copper based) will help stave off die back.

    Kids have been great no moaning and love it down there, not a storage tank the previous owner built a pond and there are 5 goldfish in there, there is fresh water tanks just behind the allotment. We were going to get rid but kids love it and we have seen frogs around it which as my daughter pointed out great for keeping slugs away

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    my daughter pointed out great for keeping slugs away

    Yeah, a budding gardener in the making :D

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    Ive had an allotment for awhile. I recommend the pond for frogs and toads. Some flowers to attract beneficial insects and if you put a feeder near some cover (bust or tree) for the smaller birds they will come back and take all your nasty insects to feed their young.

    I dont know if yours is in a built up area or not(it looks quite rural) but I have deer, fox, stoats, rats, rabbits, pheasants, rabbits and a flock of residential pigeons among others. I would advise you to look around first and last thing to see what you are up against ! I had food growing in the summer and thought things weren't to bad but come autumn everything got eaten down to the ground even thick brasica stalks and leeks. :whistling: The only thing you can do is fence it all off and stop large birds from being able to land on some crops, they will always go for the easy meals first. But dont let me put you off I love being down there just to see the wildlife ! :unsure:

    I dont know if you are interested in growing italian foods but I have found they all grow well here (Norfolk) although I am just trying watermelon for the first time. Have fun ! Dont forget to put your first earlies in now !

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    Posted
  • Location: Ashford, Kent
  • Weather Preferences: Anything
  • Location: Ashford, Kent

    I am als starting an allotment for the first time this year. I've grown veg in the back garden for a number of years so I'm not a complete novice but I am expanding my efforts now!

    I've got hold of a virgin patch, never been worked. It's been a mess of Brambles for about 3 years now, the council chopped the lot down and the weed killed it. (rather ineffectually as it happens) I'm going to save myself a lot of hassle and Glyphosphate the remaining areas that I haven't dug yet. I managed to dig half the plot before winter but until this weekend it's just been too wet or frozen! The undug parts are a complete mess of weeds!

    Anyway, this weekend I managed to plant Onions, Shallots and Garlic. So, we're off!!

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    Posted
  • Location: Hertford
  • Location: Hertford

    Ive had an allotment for awhile. I recommend the pond for frogs and toads. Some flowers to attract beneficial insects and if you put a feeder near some cover (bust or tree) for the smaller birds they will come back and take all your nasty insects to feed their young.

    I dont know if yours is in a built up area or not(it looks quite rural) but I have deer, fox, stoats, rats, rabbits, pheasants, rabbits and a flock of residential pigeons among others. I would advise you to look around first and last thing to see what you are up against ! I had food growing in the summer and thought things weren't to bad but come autumn everything got eaten down to the ground even thick brasica stalks and leeks. :whistling: The only thing you can do is fence it all off and stop large birds from being able to land on some crops, they will always go for the easy meals first. But dont let me put you off I love being down there just to see the wildlife ! :unsure:

    I dont know if you are interested in growing italian foods but I have found they all grow well here (Norfolk) although I am just trying watermelon for the first time. Have fun ! Dont forget to put your first earlies in now !

    We have seen a couple of frogs around the pond and also this weekend we found a lot of newts, we also put a few bird feeders and a nest box up and around the shed this weekend so nice to hear we are doing things along the right lines.

    We have houses and the main town one side and then an area called the meads which is a huge wetland area but lots and lots of rabbits, which we have been warned about and fenced of the areas where i intend to plant.

    managed to get planted this weekend two rows of potatoes, a row of onions and garlic. all the the rest we are planning on planting are currently growing well in pots all around the house at the moment and will look at transferring them over the coming weeks, still have a lot of rubbish to clear and areas to dig but getting there.

    We have started with the basics but would love to try some things that are not the norm so any hints or ideas would be great

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    Posted
  • Location: Swallownest, Sheffield 83m ASL
  • Location: Swallownest, Sheffield 83m ASL

    Great project there Andy.

    As kids, me and my sister used to help look after a local church allotment along with dad. Was thinking about taking one on but with the problems I now have, its a no go at the moment. Still, the garden is very busy....

    Suggestion for a small raised bed.. Strawberries.. Plant a mix of earlies, mids and lates. Will give a nice diversion for bored kids during the summer while you're working on the allotment (speaking from experience :drinks: ). By raising them, its easier to keep the runners under control but you still get the benefit of a better crop due to ground planting.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    For anyone thinking of taking on an allotment which hasn't been touched for a while, or a virgin plot of weed/bramble covered land, your local farmer is your friend. Ask nicely to borrow a couple of pigs for a few weeks, they're the supreme champions at ground clearance.

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    We have seen a couple of frogs around the pond and also this weekend we found a lot of newts, we also put a few bird feeders and a nest box up and around the shed this weekend so nice to hear we are doing things along the right lines.

    We have houses and the main town one side and then an area called the meads which is a huge wetland area but lots and lots of rabbits, which we have been warned about and fenced of the areas where i intend to plant.

    managed to get planted this weekend two rows of potatoes, a row of onions and garlic. all the the rest we are planning on planting are currently growing well in pots all around the house at the moment and will look at transferring them over the coming weeks, still have a lot of rubbish to clear and areas to dig but getting there.

    We have started with the basics but would love to try some things that are not the norm so any hints or ideas would be great

    Last year I tried Barlotto beans but could only find dwarf, I found climbers this year from suffolk herbs. Good for drying out and putting in soups or just eating.

    Cicoria which can be cooked or eaten raw in salads. Its slightly bitter and gives a nice bit, yummy.

    Globe artichokes, I grew mine from seed as I couldn't find any plants but the second year they were huge and the black fly also loved them !

    Trying Zucca which is a pumkin, I should imagine that will be alright over here.

    My prize crop this year if it works is water melon, sugar baby. It says sow in the greenhouse in 7cm pots at 18 degrees c or later sowings direct in a seed bed and the seeds were purchased from suffolk herbs so I hope they will grow, your children would defiantly love them ! If anyone has grown them I would love to hear how they went !

    I agree with Pottyprof strawberries ! They taste so much better than shop brought ones ! If you find some strawberries that you like you could just use the inedible ones to grow for your plot. Theres a freezable variety which has a nice flavor to it which I cant remember the name of right now but when you take them out of the freezer they are the same consistency as the tinned variety

    "meads which is a huge wetland area " Gulp I hope the midges dont like you ! :lol: You should see some great wildlife there though, hope you get swallows !

    Just in case you still get problems with rabbits I had read they recomend a fence is 1-1.2 metres high and dug into the soil 30 centimeters and turned out away from the plot. I know from experience they will chew through plastic :nonono:

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    Posted
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
  • Weather Preferences: Rain/snow, fog, gales and cold in every season
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts

    For anyone thinking of taking on an allotment which hasn't been touched for a while, or a virgin plot of weed/bramble covered land, your local farmer is your friend. Ask nicely to borrow a couple of pigs for a few weeks, they're the supreme champions at ground clearance.

    Amen to that. Until I had first hand experience I could barely believe that, what appeared to be, soft little pink snouts could inflict such devastation.

    Nettles, Docks, Brambles and even medium sized bushes all succumbed to the tireless foraging of three pigs.

    After a month the ground looked as if it had been ploughed, dug, raked and ploughed again- and it was well fertilised for good measure.

    You do need secure fencing though as a pig in search of food is not deterred by such trifles as posts and chicken wire, or even hedges unless they're particularly thick and of Thorn or Holly.

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    • 1 month later...
    Posted
  • Location: Hertford
  • Location: Hertford

    Will post some pictures up this weekend, we are going great guns lots planted and cleared, so all looking good.

    Question though, with the early potatoes we have planted, we have been earthing over twice a week the mounds are now a foot high with the leafs popping through, I have said to my wife to leave them now but she still wants to earth them over. do we still earth them over or just let them flower now?

    Also having problems with our carrots, lots of weeds growing and we are unsure what is carrots and what are weeds, what should we be looking for?

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    Posted
  • Location: Heswall, Wirral
  • Weather Preferences: Summer: warm, humid, thundery. Winter: mild, stormy, some snow.
  • Location: Heswall, Wirral

    We inherited an allotment in October last year, it was a waste site though so up until now weve been clearing it up, after 5-6 months we haven't got anywhere near to clearing it, but maybe in a year or two it will be ready for growing.

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    Posted
  • Location: SE London
  • Location: SE London

    Will post some pictures up this weekend, we are going great guns lots planted and cleared, so all looking good.

    Question though, with the early potatoes we have planted, we have been earthing over twice a week the mounds are now a foot high with the leafs popping through, I have said to my wife to leave them now but she still wants to earth them over. do we still earth them over or just let them flower now?

    this may help Andy >>>

    http://www.allotment.org.uk/vegetable/potato/

    Also having problems with our carrots, lots of weeds growing and we are unsure what is carrots and what are weeds, what should we be looking for?

    RABBITS!!! :lol: B)
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    Posted
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts
  • Weather Preferences: Rain/snow, fog, gales and cold in every season
  • Location: Derbyshire Peak District 290 mts. Wind speed 340 mts

    Will post some pictures up this weekend, we are going great guns lots planted and cleared, so all looking good.

    Question though, with the early potatoes we have planted, we have been earthing over twice a week the mounds are now a foot high with the leafs popping through, I have said to my wife to leave them now but she still wants to earth them over. do we still earth them over or just let them flower now?

    Also having problems with our carrots, lots of weeds growing and we are unsure what is carrots and what are weeds, what should we be looking for?

    No need to earth up the potatoes any more unless the tops are likely to get scorched by frost in the next couple of days, in which case covering them one last time with soil will protect them.

    Carrot leaves are finely cut and rather feathery, a bit like a cross between flat leafed parsley and a fern leaf.

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    Posted
  • Location: consett co durham
  • Location: consett co durham

    We inherited an allotment in October last year, it was a waste site though so up until now weve been clearing it up, after 5-6 months we haven't got anywhere near to clearing it, but maybe in a year or two it will be ready for growing.

    great thread this,ive got over 30 years in the hoticulture and agriculture industry.

    so if i can offer any advice it would be a pleasure.

    http://www.kitchengarden.co.uk/forum/index.php

    http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/forum13.php

    2 very good and well run forum sites.

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    Posted
  • Location: Heswall, Wirral
  • Weather Preferences: Summer: warm, humid, thundery. Winter: mild, stormy, some snow.
  • Location: Heswall, Wirral

    Thanks Peter I'll have a look at those.

    We got our first crop of early Rhubarb yesterday so a nice crumble is in order tonight!

    Weve pretty much found out the thing about plots of that they can look daunting if they do require alot of clearing, but moving up the plot a bit at a time helps, also getting rid of the weeds helps too.

    Our Potato foliage is showing now, a little late though, we planted them on St Patricks day as advertised in many allotment guides however the guys at the allotment said they usually plant in mid-late February.

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    Posted
  • Location: Ashford, Kent
  • Weather Preferences: Anything
  • Location: Ashford, Kent

    Off down the allotment today, I've not been in the best of health so it's been trickey trying to keep up! However this is what I've managed to do so far:

    Build a greenhouse!

    Install 3 raised beds.

    Planted:

    Onions, Shallots, Garlic, Sweetcorn, Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips.

    In pots and ready to plant out today:

    Tomatoes, sweet pepper, chillis, corgettes, button squash, pumpkin, Purple sprouting broccoli, kale.

    Hopefully get some photos today!

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    Posted
  • Location: Hertford
  • Location: Hertford

    Getting there, planted so far

    early pots

    late pots

    beetroot

    spinach

    carrots

    onions

    garlic

    lettuce

    broccoli

    strawberries

    and loads of herbs

    still to plant out

    tomatoes

    cauliflower

    brussels

    runner beans

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    Now I feel thoroughly ashamed at my slackness so far this year....

    Slow-worms eh, lucky you they gobble up loads of slugs, hope no one puts down any slug pellets they'll kill the Slow-worms too.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    For all those struggling with weed control (especially those facing a large patch to clear) I can heartily recommend one of these:

    http://www.mowdirect.co.uk/acatalog/NEW__FLAME_GUNS.html

    They're expensive but will last for years and if you're renting an allotment, perhaps a few of you could club together, afterall everyone will benefit from weeds not being allowed to seed everywhere.

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