Monthly Archives: August 2014

  1. 2014 Competition winners

    Firstly a massive thanks to everyone who entered! We are really glad to see so many people share a passion for allotments and it's been a pleasure to read about what you've all been doing on your plots.

    So here are the winners for the blogger, recipe and allotment competitions. Once again thank you all, and please continue with the great work your doing keeping the allotment spirit alive in the UK!

    Winning Blog

    The winner of our blogging competition is the blog http://vegplotting.blogspot.co.uk/ written by Michelle Chapman

    The blog incorporates stories about Michelle’s garden, her travels, seasonal recipes and ‘plenty of fruit and veg’. Michelle explains that she loves the sense of community she has with her blog, from readers who get involved with her events and schemes. We agree that allotments are a great way to interact with the communit

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  2. 2014 Recipe competition entries

    2014 Recipe competition entries

    Our first entry is a hearty Vegetable Cobbler from Angela

    This is a hearty recipe, although it contains no meat it makes for a filling and satisfying meal. It's also really quite healthy too, the only fat is the small amount within the savoury scones. Serve it in a large casserole dish for the whole family or split it into smaller portions to freeze and enjoy on those days you would rather be spending time in the garden than in the kitchen.

    This recipe was inspired from an old cut out of an unknown magazine. I first baked this recipe following my very first successful tomato harvest - hurrah! Unlike my harvest this year which has been beset with tomato blight - boo! There are plenty of other garden grown vegetables included in this recipe carrots, potatoes, celery and cauliflower. Celery being something I have yet to grow myself and my cauliflowers only ever seem to end up with small hearts - I blame the soil!

    Hope you enjoy it.

    Angel

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  3. 2014 Blogger competition entries

    2014 Blogger competition entries

    Our first Blogger entry is from http://vegplotting.blogspot.co.uk/

    A friend once described my blog as 'like a well stocked department store; there's something for everyone on every floor' and another as 'quirky and fun'

    Veg Plotting isn't just about the veg I grow on my allotment, my allotment is the place where much of the inspiration for my blog's content comes from. There are stories about my garden, my travels, seasonal recipes and of course plenty of fruit and veg. My 52 Week Salad Challenge is now in its third year with its regular Salad Days feature on the fourth Friday of the month. I also love the sense of community I have with my blog, from readers old and new, plus people joining in with all kinds of events and schemes such as my virtual Shows of Hands project for the Chelsea Fringe earlier this year.

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  4. 7 ways to get your kids gardening this summer

    Why you should get your kids into the garden

    Finding things to keep the kids occupied during the summer holidays can be a headache but there’s a great playground right on your doorstep – your garden. Kids love gardening in short bursts and letting them help you, or even develop their own plot, is a great way to get them off the sofa and out of the house. They’ll learn a lot about plants, sharing and working together and you’ll have the chance to spend meaningful family time with them.

    These seven ideas will help you get your kids into the garden:

    1. A caterpillar hunt

    Kids seem to love creepy crawlies, so if you suggest a caterpillar hunt you are sure to attract interest. Give the children a container and send them out into the garden to collect as many caterpillars as they can. This way you’ll be getting rid of a pest while keeping the kids happily occupied. You could al

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  5. How to tame your wild allotment

    When you take over an allotment, it’s quite possible that you will inherit a tangled jungle that you’ll have to clear before you can plant your crops. Here are a few suggestions that will help tame your wild allotment and keep it under control.

    Starting out

    The sight of a tangle of weeds can be daunting, but don’t be tempted to cut them down or use a rotivator. Cutting them down will only encourage re-growth while the use of a rotivator will disturb the soil - bringing dormant seeds to the surface and helping them to germinate. By cutting the roots of weeds into pieces, each of which, particularly in the case of couch, will produce a new weed. It is far better to remove the weeds by hand, a task made easier if the soil is moist.

    With the largest weeds removed, you should lay thick, black plastic sheets or sheets of cardboard over the ground and place weights on top to keep them down; you will need to leave them in place for

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  6. 2014 Allotment competition entries

    Our first entry is from Louise, her three kids, daddy and a lovely Labbie

    Our veg patch is under the guidance of head gardener, mummy, and junior gardeners Harry (8), Tilly (6) and Felicity (3). Our weed control manager, daddy also helps out. Our dog Bentley is chief hole digger!

    We have two vegetable patches (130cms x 410cm) and grow courgettes, dwarf beans, mange tout (Harry's favourite), beetroot (mummy's favourite), runner beans, purple beans, strawberries (Felicity's favourite), salad, herbs, a tomatillo (we're waiting to see what it's going to look like) and to make it pretty we grow zinnias and sweet peas (Tilly's favourite!).

    We started the patch when we moved from London to Devon 2 years ago so that we could grow our own food and flowers (and so mummy could make us eat more vegetables!). If we grow enough vegetables we want to try to sell them for pocket money or Mummy likes making chutney with them but we don't like that as it makes

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  7. A quick guide to making your allotment bee friendly

    As you sit in your shed with a welcome cup of tea after a tough session on the allotment, you might spare a thought for the humble bee. These days, bees are having it pretty tough and their numbers are falling dramatically. What has this got to do with you, you may ask? Well, bees play a crucial role in the natural world and without them it would be a very different place.

    The role of bees

    The importance of bees cannot be underestimated. They are pollinators and, as such, make an important contribution to the natural reproduction of plants and crops; meaning they are a vital link in the food chain. Without bees, about one third of the food we eat would not be available. In fact, about 70 crops in Britain depend on or benefit from the attention of bees.

    Bees also pollinate the flowers of many plants that are used to feed farm animals. It is estimated that the value of bees to commercial crops in Britain is over £200 million a year, with

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  8. A quick guide to managing your allotment all year

    Allotments are a fun and good way to supplement your larder with healthy, fresh food. But they are also hard work so you want to be sure of getting the best results from your efforts. The key is to plan ahead; and a great way to start is to sit down with a cuppa by your allotment shed with a notebook or calendar and prepare a to-do list.

    As you survey your allotment it’s important to remember that you must rotate your crops, preferably on a three-year cycle. Growing the same crop in one place year after year depletes the nutrients absorbed by that produce and encourages the spread of diseases particular to the crop. You should also stagger when you plant each crop to avoid having all of the same produce becoming ready at the same time.

    Here are some ideas on how you should plan your year to get the most out of your allotment:

    January
    Finish cleaning up and digging bare areas. Finish planting fruit trees and bushes. Plant onions.

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  9. Know your history: why Britain loves allotments

    The British have had an on-off love affair with allotments for as long as most people can remember. Particularly over the last hundred years or so the humble allotment with its shed and intensely grown vegetables has been on a roller-coaster ride. Food shortages during the war years and renewed interest in leisure gardening in the 1970s saw allotment numbers to rise, while they declined again during the interwar years and the 50s and 60s, as the end of rationing and mass production of food saw a reduced need for home-grown food and self-sufficiency.

    The story of allotments, however, goes back hundreds of years and, in some ways, is the story of the struggle between the rich and powerful and the ordinary man.

    Historical beginnings

    Like much of medieval Europe, England was an agrarian society that operated an open field system whereby villages were surrounded by fields that were allocated to the residents, with each getting a mix of good and po

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  10. 2014 Allotment, recipe, and blogger competition

    In aid of allotment week we are running three competitions for allotment lovers, chefs and hand picked bloggers to share their love of all things allotment and have a chance of winning £100 in vouchers to use on our site. The competition will run for three weeks and is split into three sections, allotments, recipes and blogs. There will be three winners respectively and the winners will be decided by an independent voting panel. We'll also be posting our own allotment content on the blog so take a look there as well for some great tips and information around this great National holiday. Visit the three sections below to see the entries and submit your own content. Entries will be uploaded from the 4th onward but we'll still be accepting entries after that date. A winner will be announced on the 22nd so any entries submitted up to the 21st will be considered.

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