Sunday, 19 July 2009

Allotment thoughts

This is our second allotment year, although I count is as the first 'real' season because we only took the plot over in March of last year, so didn't get much of a run-up to the growing season to clear it. And I've learnt so much this year already, and I already know there are some tings to do differently, or more of, next year.

I will plant more onions and also some garlic next year now that I've got the hang of drying and hanging them for storage. I will make sure the entire plot is properly weeded, cleared, dug and mulched over the winter this year, as well as planting the onions and garlic over the winter. The part that was mulched last year is definitely in much better shape than the rest of the plot.

I will get my compost bays constructed before next spring, and level the heaps of earth I've been left with from digging the pits for the shed and the compost bays. I will make fewer, but wider paths next year and more clearly define their edges somehow - stones? Sticks? Not sure. I would like raised, no-dig beds, but not sure how feasible this is in terms of actually getting it done.

I need to sort out my succession planting so that I have a steady stream of produce rather than gluts. This applies particularly to beetroot, courgettes, carrots - things which can't be stored so easily. I'm only going to stop planting this year when July ends. Once it's August, when I get bare ground after digging stuff up, I'm going to dig it over and prepare it for onion planting in the autumn. I've also got to research other winter plants. I have a small amount of purple-sprouting broccoli planted as an experiment.

There's a lot of work to be done, but I'm really enjoying it now. I've realised I like the growing and digging and weeding, what I don't like is the 'infrastructure' bit of the allotment, like constructing sheds and stuff. But it's great eating my home-grown produce!


Carolyn said...

Well, there's a comment link for this post but I still can't see your side bars!!! Is it just me who is having problems with your blog???!!! All the other blogs I read are just fine!
Yet if I access an older post from my browser history, it is all still there, until i get to your last post. How bizarre.
I'm really enjoying my growing experiences too....I am having many of the same thoughts as you. More onions, try to avoid gluts and what can I grow for the winter? We had leeks last year but I completely forgot to plant any seeds early enough this time around. Doh!

Gina said...

I love allotments, the first vegetables we ver gre were on an allotment almost ten years ago in Cambridge. The planning is haf the fun too isn't it!

dottyspots said...

Gah! Tell me about the beetroots. My husband planted loads before he left, so looks like I'll be making a load of pickled beetroot this year!

My broccolli bolted *sigh* although there are some more heads coming through now.

Everytime I go to go in the garden it starts pouring down with rain and I really need to pick the calendula to make some balm and dry the rest for use throughout the rest of the year.

Liz said...

I'm getting better at the growing stuff but I'm still not too good with the *preserving* aspect. I think I need to learn about pickling beetroot and such like. Maybe next year!

Carolyn said...

Don't pickle beetroot!!! It really destroys its beautiful flavour. I just pick ours and boil in water or you can even roast them I believe. I like to eat them just as they are!!!
Ever made chocolate cake with grate them into the mixture and you don't even knoe they are there!!!

Claire said...

Gluts of beetroot, could you use it as a dye?

It makes my head spin thinking about what goes where, and when, and then what to do with it all when it is ready. But I love it!

Jacqui said...

Beetroot and chocolate cake too. I've just used some beetroot to make a play dough dye. I'm about to strt some winter salad sowing - oriental veg is good sown later on - pack choi etc - they don't do so well when it's hot. Make room for autumn sown garlic too. xx