Allotment Adventures: 2018

It’s January and I’m desperate for time to hurry up and Spring to spring so I can get back to growing things. However, last year I started sowing too early, so this year I’m holding my nerve and not sowing anything until next month! Instead, I’m planning…

December  was a terrible time for allotment related things, I was sick for most of the month and then working and the weather was off when we could go. But as things stand we planted broad beans to over winter and there are leeks, cavolo nero, black winter radishes and chard to harvest (and my one spring cabbage). My aim is to have all of them (except the cabbage) out by the end of February, when we will start again with the new things.Ma and I decided not to grow garlic this year because it got rust really badly, the leeks got rust to although not quite as badly and although I know that there isn’t much you can do about it, I decided that it wasn’t worth having a bed taken up for a lackluster crop and decided the same for onions which got white rot last year.So time to plan for the new year, the things I loved last year were tomatoes, potatoes, the cucumbers, the squash and getting Ma to love pak choi and cavolo nero!

First plot structure. Things are pretty much staying the same and there are things that I didn’t get to last year, starting with painting the shed! I also need to attend to shortening the raspberries and digging up a gooseberry bush. After some talk we probably aren’t going for a polytunnel this year but will get another greenhouse, this year I’ll take the cover off it before it gets windy! New raised beds! one brand new bed at the bottom of the plot and two to enclose beds we already have. That leaves the largest bed on the plot not enclosed and we may get around to that, but probably not before the growing season starts! We still want to sort out the top of the plot but that might wait until next year because concrete slabs are heavy!

Lists of things we want to grow this season.

Tomatoes, the plan is three beds, one for cherry tomatoes (red cherry probably) and a bed of plum tomatoes (amish paste and san marzano) and another for eating (black russian). They are hard work but so worth it.

We will also grow cucumbers again because they were amazing. This year I want to try to have two waves of them, mine were great but not as strong as I’d like so I’ll sow some in March/April and some a month later. I know that we’ll grown boothbys blondes again but probably a green one this year too!We will grow potatoes in bags again but more potatoes, probably three or four lots and I want to be better and plant a set for Christmas too!

We will grow more beetroot, salad and spinach, we’ll probably grow radishes too but the radish and rocket get devoured by flea beetle so I probably won’t grow rocket although it may pop up by itself.

This year we are not going to grow cosmos or nasturtiums, but we will grow marigolds, stock, afgan poppies, sweet peas and some other flowers, and I hope that the irises, grape hyacinth, anemones freesias and my one day lily come up again. I failed at planting spring bulbs last year and I’d like to get to that this autumn. I know Ma is hoping that we the loves lies bleeding has self seeded and will come up again too!

Talking of self seeding, I will give the borage a hand if it doesn’t come up and will be growing my usual set of herbs, coriander, parsley, dill and basil, some as companions to my cucumbers and tomatoes. I also fancy planting some walking onions and will be hoping that the tarragon survived and that chives and lemon verbena I planted last year come back!We’ll grow carrots in buckets this year as the bath has strawberries in it, this will hopefully ensure that we get some this year! French beans and peas will be grown again because we love them and I want to grow more chard, cavo nero and pak choi because we loved those. I need to sow them earlier this year so we get more of them but we probably won’t bother with broccoli again.

We are, as ever, growing all the squash. Courgettes, patty pans and crookneck and for winter squash butternut, boston and baby blue if the seeds come up and some kind of acorn squash that might actually climb up the arch!We will grow leaks again and black winter radish.

Finally, I want to try my hand at sweetcorn this year, if we have space.

So nothing radical this year, I want to get better at producing what I love but don’t be surprised if somewhere along the year, I buy a blueberry bush or three!


About nicdempsey

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2 Responses to Allotment Adventures: 2018

  1. carolee says:

    Sounds like a productive plan. Remember corn is wind pollinated, so should be grown in a block rather than rows. You can, however, plant vining crops below it as long as they don’t climb high enough to block pollen falling on the white silks. Once the silks turn brown, it’s fine to let them climb. Best of luck.

    • nicdempsey says:

      Hi Carolee, thanks for commenting, I did know that about sweetcorn which is why I didn’t grow it last year, I ran out of space! This year though with an extra bed, I might get around to it!

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