You’ve Got A Friend in Me : Companion Planting

(Photos all from our allotment plot 18a)

It’s a jungle out there in the world of allotmenteering. The whole world and his slug is after our precious little vegetables. Down 18a it’s our policy to try to be as organic as we possibly can be (before it breaks your heart). We don’t use bug sprays or artificial fertilisers and most importantly no weed killers. It can be tough, harvests small compared to our weedkiller-bottle-trigger-happy plot neighbours. However in our corner one thing has our backs covered, and that’s companion planting. Continue reading “You’ve Got A Friend in Me : Companion Planting”


The Ups and Downs of Being a Throughly Modern Allotmenteer.

Hello. My name is Emma. I live and work in London. Rent a small one bedroom flat with my boyfriend. Like many people our age we do not own our own home and have no outdoor space. And we are allotment holders.

I’m pretty sure were not alone. Allotments have seen a massive boom in past decade. Everyone wants to grow their own. Waiting lists across the UK are fit to burst. Our site alone has a closed waiting list with a predicted wait of at least 5 years. Things are changing fast. Allotment tending is no longer the preserve of the retired gent. With their rows of leeks and tatties. Much to the initial confusion of the ‘old boys’, younger people are taking over the neglected plots. It’s not easy, many drop out. Those that stick at it, like ourselves are head over hills with allotmenteering.

Working fulltime, weekends and snatched post-work summer evenings are all the quality time we get with our plot. Weather, commuting, transport problems and family commitment all get in the way. On an ideal weekend during the lighter months we put in around 12 hours work down 18a a weekend. Continue reading “The Ups and Downs of Being a Throughly Modern Allotmenteer.”

Sunshine & Showers. Well, Sort of.

In typical British Bank Holiday style this May Bank Holiday has been a bit of damp squib weather wise. Saturday and Sunday cool and showery and today, Monday, warmer but a soggy first half! Despite the weather we got lots done, in-between dashes to the shed to dodge passing showers.

Spent most of the drizzly unpleasant early afternoon in my shed potting on some seedlings peacefully listening to the birdsong. Watching our resident robin hopping around right outside the door! Both the pair come down though Mr Robin is more confident with us than Mrs Robin. She’s far more cautious and skittish. He’s getting quite tame, just as long as we don’t get too close he’s happy for us to work on HIS allotment plot! Continue reading “Sunshine & Showers. Well, Sort of.”

Spuds, buds and unexpected sunshine.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, warmer than the weatherman had led us to believe, the annual allotment planting of the spuds began. Having written off the weekend as a bit of dull dud, wearing far too many woollens than necessary we were pleasantly greeted with warm sunshine and gentle breezes. After a chilly disappointing visit to the plot the day before a spot-o-sunshine worked wonders on the allotment morale! Continue reading “Spuds, buds and unexpected sunshine.”

Make me feel like Spring has sprung

Now that the first official day of Spring has been and gone, the temperatures rising, the birds are singing and the dastardly weeds are rearing their heads again. Down the allotment everything is waking up and stretching free of the earth stirred by lengthening days.

After what seems like weeks, no months of overcast cloudy non-weather this weekend was glorious! The sun shone brightly the breeze was gentle and soothing. Perfect if only all allotment days where like this.

The spring bulbs are still blooming away merrily. The crocuses keep popping up here there and everywhere. Surprising me how so many managed to evade those pesky little squirrels who seem to be able to smell a freshly planted crocus bulb at 50 paces. Continue reading “Make me feel like Spring has sprung”

Tree-rrific! The fruit tree’s are in.

Hooray, at last! Finally we’ve gotten the minarette fruit trees in down the plot. Much like the raspberries we’ve been waiting patiently for the right conditions to transplant our lil trees into their  final home. Ordered back in November from Ken Muir, due to the snow and cold the bare-root trees  did not arrive until a little annoyingly, just before christmas. But thankfully we had potted them up and tucked them into a cosy corner of the plot to wait it out until the conditions where right.

There’s something significant to planting trees, a feeling of achieving something momentous. To think that what you’re planting has the potential to outlive the person that planted it, well it calls for a bit of respect. Ok they may just be minarette cordon fruit trees but still they are the first trees I’ve ever planted and I’ve been nervous about getting them in. Do it right do it once as the mantra goes. After researching  and preparing the ground with manure and potash from our News Years day bonfire, getting the kit together (tree stakes and ties) we were ready. So this was to be it the weekend Mr Wilson and I planted our trees! Continue reading “Tree-rrific! The fruit tree’s are in.”

Ra Ra Raspberries!

Hooray! At last the allotment weather gods have been on our side. Today was it, that day we’ve all been waiting for… we finally got the raspberry canes tucked into their beds. Ever since they were purchased back in November the elements and social engagements have conspired against us. Either too wet or frozen solid the allotment gods just weren’t smiling on us. Well today was the big day, a good spell of dry weather, milder temperatures everything perfect. However as ever with these things it came with a catch, it weren’t ‘arf windy!

Battling against 36 kmph winds I tucked straight into the job at hand. Started by digging a trench for the summer raspberries, the variety we went with was Tulameen as we’ve always enjoyed this variety when bought in supermarkets and after a bit of research made our decision. As the earth of our allotment at the best of times isn’t the most hospitable (fairly heavy clay) we decided to back-fill the trenches with an organic peat free garden compost from Homebase. To give them a good start in life we had already manured the bed earlier in winter but to give a kick start I also sprinkled some good ole chicken poop pellets in the bottom of the trenches (not fun in the wind, pee-eww) Continue reading “Ra Ra Raspberries!”