Saturday, 15 January 2011

Allotment Garden Planning for 2011

 In the early days, I religiously recorded where I had planted vegetables, how well they grew and the weight of the produce I got.  I must have done that from 1982 through to 1985.  I realised very early that I could not compete on price with shop bought vegetables, however I consoled myself by saying that I could produce vegetables that were not contaminated by pesticides.  I knew where and how my food was grown and that was enough for me.  Growing was not just a means of producing vegetables for the family.  It was also a means of keeping fit and exercising in the fresh air.  It was a means of keeping stress away and touching the earth.  

So for 29 years this little piece of ground, 25 feet by 124 feet, has been providing my family with vegetables.
This is what the allotment looked like in February 2010.  Wet and muddy.  You can see how I use slabs to hold the soil back. I do not raise beds - I raise allotments. 

What is most surprising is that it is still producing great vegetables and flowers after so many years.  In fact, I think that it is producing more now than it has ever done.  After the first few years, I did no more planning.  The rotation was locked in and I began to get stricter, not allowing myself to break out of the scheme I had developed.  (Last year was a great exception when I had too many seed potatoes). 

This year I am going to break with tradition because I have actually planned the allotment.  Really I did no planning at all because I knew where everything was going to be planted.  However, the software makes spacing and numbers of plants needed very specific.  It is interesting to see how my rough plan was interpreted by the software program and whether plants would fit where I had imagined they would.  

So this is what I envisage the allotment will look like when I have finished planting it this year.   

Allotment plan for  25 (b)

I don’t think that I will stick rigidly to this plan having already decided not to have so many rows of sweet peas.  I might also have the runner beans on the other side of that bed.   I may also put in some other varieties of brassicae having found seed in the shed.  The top pea and bean bed really needs to have some horse muck put on it.

This is the bed in 2007 with peas on it; the last time that it had legumes on it.  I had grown caliente  mustard in it and dug it in in September 2007.  

Allotment plan for 26(a)
I intend to plant Big Max pumpkins to replace the garlic and onions when they go over.  It looks like I will be planting Gardener's Delight in pots on the south side of the shed again this year.  I had some really good tomatoes off bushes planted here last year. 
Allotment plan for 26(b)
Have I planted too many strawberries this year?  We will see.  I did not buy any this year and these are all from runners off the old strawberry plants.  I thought that some of the strawberries would die because of the very cold weather but they all seemed to have survived.  The rhubarb will probably overshadow some of the strawberries.  I will be spraying nematode worms Phasmarhabditis hermaphroditaunder the rhubarb to try and limit the number of slugs and snails in this bed.  I will not even order the nematodes until March/April time though.  I hope that the Xania gooseberry cuttings grow because I will only have one if not.  I need five of the cuttings to take.  Xania is a heavy cropping red gooseberry that is fairly resistant to American mildew.  The other gooseberries have been taken out and buried because they were all very old varieties and they had been growing in the same place for about 20 odd years.  One of the old blokes on the allotment gave me them when I first came onto the allotment site.  I think that I would like to have named varieties so that I can look up and find out how and when they crop. 
Now I have changed the plan so go here if you want to see the final plan - or so I think at the moment.

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