Grow Your Own
You’ve had your name on the waiting list for months, you get the phone call and – yes! - you are, at last, an allotment holder. Now you need to plan.
The Small Print
The first thing is to check over your assigned allotment to ensure all is good. Ask the council (if council owned) or site representative if any extra services are available. Some will rotavate plots free of charge - but only do this if the plot is weed free. Otherwise you will be propagating mare’s tail, bindweed and couch grass.
Check the local rules and regs. There won't be anything too daunting but they should answer questions regarding bonfires, water use, upkeep and any discounts at local shops.
No longer do gardeners have to spend their weekends and evenings trawling through the age-hardened pages of endless magazines, or struggle with heavy, outdated textbooks just to find the answer to a simple horticultural question. In today’s world, thanks to the wonders of the internet, a quick search yields thousands of results in mere seconds. Atop Google’s results for all things flowers and vegetables? The UK’s premier gardening and allotment blogs, of course.
Is there a better way of discovering the tried and tested tricks of the trade, the old tips, and the new ideas, than spending a quiet moment or two reading the musings of experienced gardeners, conveniently condensed into relatable, entertaining articles? We think not. We’ve done our research and analysed dozens of different blogs to find our favourites; why not take the time
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As the sap rises, we all get the itch to garden. That itch turns to an urge around the end of March and many plunge headlong into the wonderful world of Grow Your Own come April. But to be successful, vegetable plots have to be ready. They have to be prepared to accept our plantings and receive our seed. So, if your plot is overgrown and untidy, get a few things straight before ploughing on.
Who would have thought that a major hit in 2005 by pop-combo Westlife could be attributed to your back garden veg plot? Oh yes, I can exclusively reveal that the song ‘You Raise Me Up’ (you know the one - big ballad type affair perfect at weddings and maybe even funerals?) was inspired by the grow-your-own movement and the use of raised beds. I know it’s hard to believe, and may even shatter many emotional memories, but in these days of fake news, anything goes. And apologies if the song is now in your head or you’ve had to look it up.
And cue piano…
I love gardening and everything to do with greenhouses. However, I have to admit the best day of my greenhouse/ gardening life to date is when the team who put the structure up left and I was face to face, for the first time, with a beautiful wooden greenhouse. My beautiful wooden greenhouse. Completely empty. Walking in, closing the door and being enveloped by the evocative aroma of wood and luxuriating in the vast emptiness of the area is a memory that will never fade. Time to breathe, think and plan. The acres of benching, the glorious expanse of unfettered flooring (concrete slabs) and achingly clear headroom. No plants, no pots, no canes, wires or string. Just a dream.
OK, it lasted a few hours before a couple of pelargoniums found their way in for their winter protection, a dozen bowls of bulbs were soon housed on the immaculate benching, and a back-of-an-envelope plan was scribbled out for five containers of tomatoes, three cucumbers, a couple of aubergines, chillies
The look, smell and sheer beauty of a wooden greenhouse is one of life's greatest pleasures. Superbly practical with inherent good looks - a wooden greenhouse is a structure to cherish.
Wooden Mini Greenhouse: this is a lovely way to get started in greenhouse gardening or if your garden is bijou. It’s ideal for the experienced gardener as well. All the timber in this 1.2m x 0.62m is pressure treated and therefore has a whopping 15 year guarantee against rot. The wide double doors allow easy access to your seedlings and plants while the tongue and groove cladding and slatted shelves add up to a sturdy structure. It is easy to assemble and will last for decades.
Nothing beats the taste and aroma of freshly picked herbs especially when they have travelled food metres and not miles. A herb planter placed in a sunny spot outside your kitchen door will provide handfuls if not armfuls of herbs for many months of the year.
Whichever herb planter you choose, ensure it has plenty of drainage holes and is planted up using well-drained compost. Add extra grit until you hear the crunch when mixing. Drainage and a sunny site is vital to the success of your plants. But first, the planters:
Devon herb planter (SHS248) is a superb planter. Its wooden, made of tongue and groove cladding and is sturdy. The planter has a 15 year guarantee against rot and is easy to put together. A couple of hours tops from receiving the package to getting ready to fill with that quality well drained compost. It is 1.5m wide and 0.5m deep – and that's a great space to grow a lot of herbs.
There is great satisfaction in re-growing veggies (also fruit!) from scraps. Following a few basic guidelines, you too can now watch as your foods regenerate themselves. Apart from the fact that you may save yourself (even small amounts of) money, it’s also fun to watch your effort turn into fine edibles for your table. Most of the following examples are not that hard to grow. So, look at our tips, roll up your sleeves and start farming your own produce, even from your kitchen! Remember to use fresh, not old scraps:
Wonderful when used fresh on baked/boiled potatoes, salads or stirred into scrambled eggs and pastas, garlic sprouts are grown from the garlic clove. All you need is a little water at the bottom of a cup; the windowsill is a perfect spot to leave it in. As easy as that! Place the clove (or whole bulb) in just enough water to touch the bottom of the cloves: soon enough the cloves will grow roots. Change the water every fe
Spring is arriving and that means it is time to begin preparing for the planting of the spring vegetables. The process of growing vegetables can begin early with the sowing of seeds for both the spring and summer food harvests. At the least, the process can be started with thoughts of what may be planted when the soil is finally thawed and ready for sowing. This is the time for planning and for projects; spring is all about new beginnings and new births. To make the best of the birth of new spring vegetables, read the following advice:
Prepare the soil
Springtime is perfect for preparing soil for growing vegetables. This is the time to be adding organic matter such as compost, well-aged manure and worm castings to the soil. It is also a good time to clean up debris left from the winter and to cut away diseased or broken branches. Get the garden shed organised and ready whilst also checking the condition of sprinklers and other tools.