Back in May, when I signed the agreement for the plot, I was worried because I’d missed the start of the growing season (March-April) and it was a bit of a rush to get the ground clear, sort out how I wanted to arrange things and get plants in the ground so we had some produce.
I still think we did really well but I now know that I missed a couple of things. One of those things was succession plantings, all our green beans came in one glorious 4 week burst. The other thing was planning for autumn/winter growing. I completely failed to consider leeks, cabbages, parsnips and all the other vegetables that you start off in May/June and plant in over the summer to get you through autumn and winter.
I did manage to plant perpetual spinach, spring onions, chard, beetroot and winter leaves that will provide something in autumn but that was about it.
I’m not too fussed, it’s our first growing season and I’m still learning. We have big plans for next year and so work on the allotment is strange at the moment. We’ll clearing things down, the tomatoes and most of the courgettes came up this week (I’m leaving the marigolds and two of the courgettes where they are for a little bit longer!) and planting things to overwinter.
This weekend while Ma was fighting the weeds in the raspberries (it’s going to be long battle), I planted onions and garlic. We planted 150 onion sets, I’d like to say that we ordered them because we’d thought about what we wanted and selected something adapted to our needs and the growing conditions on the allotments. However, that would be a lie, we went into Wilkinsons on Saturday and for the princely sum of £8 bought a packet of red onion sets, one of japanese onions sets and one of white onion sets. We also bought a packet of two garlic bulbs (germidor) to add to the ones I’d planted a while ago but haven’t come up yet, I think in part due to a fox deciding to make it’s home on the bed and have a good dig around! The bed at the front of this photo and the two raised beds in the background (covered with green netting) are all planted up with onions and garlic.
Other things that need to be planted are broad beans but that’s for November and they’ll go in one of the old tomato beds.This was were the first courgettes and the french beans were this year and it the bit of the allotment that is next to Joe’s allotment. I was going to dig over and sow green manure but when Ma and I took the sweet peas and metal frame up, we made a new plan. Current thinking is that we are going to cover with weed fabric and at some point before March, hopefully before Christmas this will be home to three raised beds (these ones) that are 155cm by 8ocm. Went we order those, we’ll also order a final square one to go next to the other square ones that are current home to the onions and garlic. I also want to create some smaller beds like the ones I currently have dill and coriander in for borage, parsley and chives. I’d also like to plant some more perennial herbs and lavender at that end as well as re-site the oregano and thyme, which are still alive despite the best efforts of the courgettes and now the sage to kill them!
At the top of the plot, we need to move the rhubarb and the poorly lavender bushes. Once we’ve done that we want to mark out where the patio for the shed will be and cover that with weed suppressing fabric and mark out some areas at the top for re-siting the gooseberry bushes and wildflowers and so on.
I’ve said it before but the list of things that we want to do is never ending. I keep having to remind myself that the plot looks completely different to how it looked six months ago and that in six months time, when we have a shed and a water butt and more raised beds it’ll look completely different again. I’m not sure there is such a thing as ‘done’ when you have an allotment but I’m looking forward to finding out.