Bountiful. A review of the season (so far…)

Forgive me, I’ve hardly blogged about the plot this summer. Recent weather aside (it’s a wet and windy Saturday afternoon as I write this), it’s a been a glorious summer and to be honest with you, we’ve just been so busy enjoying it down 18a. After a unseasonable cool start to the season full of worry whether we would ever get any kind of crop going, we approach the end of the growing season with a bumper crop of unexpected allotment loveliness. After a rather crappy first 6 months of 2013 for myself personally, the allotment and the abundance of nature there have helped me overcome my blues and banish my little rain clouds. So what’s been going on down 18a? Well let’s see…
Continue reading “Bountiful. A review of the season (so far…)”


Can we start again please? Starting the New Year over


I originally started to draft this post in the new year but I’m ashamed to say I have been neglecting Crafty Garden Hoe of late. In fact 2013 has been pretty busy (started my Masters in Library & Information Studies in September) and crap year for us so far, death in the family, identity fraud and the threat of redundancy over my head means that blog posting has slipped to the wayside. Hopefully by posting this old draft I can get my blogging mojo back? Here goes…
Continue reading “Can we start again please? Starting the New Year over”

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.”

Ladybirds & Fennel

One of my favourite gardeners friends are the Ladybird. I’ve been pleased to see so many already busying themselves on the plot. And for some reason they were REALLY digging the Fennel.

Turns out that Bronze Fennel in particular like pictured is important for our early emerging 3 spot ladybugs. Plants like Bronze Fennel are prime aphid and ladybug attractor which also include dill, coriander, caraway, tansy, yarrow, wild carrot, coreopsis and scented geraniums. Are you doing your bit to look after your Garden Friends?


3 Lady Bugs


Ladybird on bronze Fennel

Tulips from 18a

I’ve always put Tulips in the same category as Camelias, gaudy bedding flowers and pampas grass; a bit naff and biddy-ish! Until now that is. I received a bag of mixed tulips from Sutton seeds with my order of Blueberry bushes that I half-heartedly stuffed into an old trough and forgot all about. Somehow they survived the tulip radar of the Squirrels and emerged this Spring un-munched.  In that lovely way nature rarely clashes it colours randomly they turned out to be a nice mix of red, pink with a lone yellow that looks quite fetching.

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”