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 the house stink of vinegar! We like it when we pick some of our vegetables and they turn out to be funny/ugly shapes!
Our handy tips are to make daddy get rid of the stinging nettles, to only let the dog dig in it over the winter. Another handy tip is that we use old toilet roll tubes to plant our seeds in when we start things growing, and we use old milk bottles with holes pushed into the plastic lid as watering cans.
In the future we want to grow our own plums (at the moment we bounce on the trampoline to reach over the fence to our neighbours plum tree, yum!)and to grow raspberries. We also want our own shed to use as a clubhouse/junior HQ as mummy and daddy's shed is full of rubbish and big tools!
Here's our patch!
Our second entry is from Anthea from Dorset
We have been working on this plot for over 45 years and you will see broad beans, runner beans, peas, rhubarb, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. Digging in well-rotted horse manure in the autumn (there is a lot of this available in Dorset!) and rotating the crops to different areas each year definitely works well.
My advice about runner beans, particularly, is to pick every one that is ready every day and never to let them grow big and bulging as this means they are going to seed and will stop producing. There are always friends and neighbours who will help out and take them!
Our third entry is from Kay in Ulverston
Ulverston Permaculture Project is a not for profit community group. The plot of land has a clubhouse, poly-tunnel and raised beds. We gather to grow together, explore sustainability and make music and share food.
Our fourth entry is from Hayley
I decided to apply for an allotment as my parents got fed up of me filling their garden with vegetables and thought I should get my own space. After a year of waiting I was offered an allotment just as my university degree was coming to an end. The previous allotment holder had left it in quite a mess so I got myself a second hand shed and spent hard long days getting it into shape. I have now had the allotment for 4 months and have won over some of the other allotment holders who were sceptical about "young" people owning allotments. I have really enjoyed the past few months and have big plans over the winter as I have only used a third of my allotment and want to prepare all the ground ready for next spring.
I have grown carrots; sweetcorn; broccoli; butternut squash; runner beans; pak choi; onions; strawberries; kale; mangetout; spring onions; beetroot; red cabbage; tomatoes and lettuce.
My top tips would be:
- Work an area in manageable sections, you see the results of a small patch which gives you enthusiasm to work on the next area rather than being daunted by a huge space.
- Never underestimate how big a plant can grow!
Number five is from Sam who's got some great tips!
We first took on our plot on July 16th this year having only ever having a patio at home to grow little amounts in pots we decided it was time to expand. I work and my hubby is a stay at home dad and he thought the self sufficient lifestyle would suit us really well and I whole heartily agree. Another goal for the plot was to allow Mike (my husband) and Jack our son time to bond and do something together. Families don't spend enough time together any more and our garden plot was just what we needed to be a distraction from the computer (unless I'm blogging of course)
The plot was incredibly overgrown and it took us quite a few weeks to get it down to a manageable area. We have been researching books and gardening tips, while been given lots of advice from our allotment neighbours who are becoming friends too.
We have yet to get some crops in the ground but I have started some leek seedlings off at home to transfer in a few weeks time, as I'm told they taste better after a frost so will be ok.
My top tips so far would be:
- When clearing an overgrown plot, take your time and don't rush. Its understandable to want to see results but rushing just tires you out and then you lose the will to keep fighting the weeds.
- Talk to your neighbours and be friendly, most will offer you valuable tips and hints which I find stay with you much better then when reading a book.
- Look out for sales on seeds for future planning, but don't buy seeds for things you know you wont eat.
- Stick to crops you can use, don't grow things you cant use.
- Recycle where you can, its better that way