Category Archives: Allotment gardening

Sharing ideas for those that like to potter around, sit and enjoy or grow veggies and wild flowers in your garden.

On the allotment – September

strawberries allotment Beetroot Press blog

Im very excited that for the first time the allotment looks like a proper allotment – things are actually growing everywhere and there are yummy things to pick and eat for dinner.

Growing runnerbeans Beetroot Press blog

I put more work in at Springtime this year, and even before that I started growing seeds at home, whereas last year I got off to a slow start.

It’s been hard getting to the allotment since end of July, August and beginning of September due to recovering from my recent surgery.  But I’m now back on track and excited about getting on the allotment more regularly again.  I feel a lot better when I can get a daily dose!

Borage herb allotment growing Beetroot Press blog Growing borage british allotment Beetroot press blog

Bees are everywhere on the plot, which I am very pleased about.  They love the borage I sowed.  You can eat the flowers and I’m planning on drying some of the leaves to make tea!  Apparently it’s good for internal inflammation, which would be great for my Endometriosis.

allotment produce courgette spring onions potato Beetroot Press blog

We are over-run with courgettes, I kept leaving them and picking them while they were pretty large.  But now, I’m desperately trying to pick them when they are still small, so there is less to eat, plus, they are more tasty when tiny.

I found a courgette cake recipe from My Goodness website which is wheat and dairy free (but includes eggs).  I don’t eat too much sugar these days, so it was sweet enough for me, but my other half wasn’t too keen!  Here’s the recipe if you fancied giving it a go, it’s got a really nice soft texture, and is pretty healthy as far as cakes go, I’ll definitely be making it again this week.

allotment strawberries Beetroot Press blog

I’m still eating the strawberries picked in early summer.  I froze the ones we couldn’t manage to eat, which I’ve used in smoothies with bananas, coconut milk and mint leaves.  Plus, you can freeze the smoothy mixture to make a sugar free sorbet – yum!

allotment shed Beetroot Press blog

We up cycled this wooden palette with netting on the back for squashes to grow up (bit of a strange experiment), and added these recycled bottles to grow salad out of.  It also added a bit of height to a very flat plot earlier on, and a little feature for pots to live on.

Growing autumn raspberries Beetroot Press blog

We have Autumn fruiting raspberries on our plot, my Dad gave me some canes the year before last I think around September.   Last year we had maybe a handful of berries, but this year there’s been loads – enough for us and the birds!

I want to make another section for these raspberries to replant some of the new suckers coming up.  I found this RHS post on when to move the new canes, which is a good guide.

growing sweetcorn clay soil allotment Beetroot Press

I’ve tried growing sweetcorn this year.  I didn’t do well with the seeds, until I was told to soak the seeds first, then sow them.  I only have about 5 plants!

Growing beetroot on allotment Beetroot Press blog

The beetroot has done really well this year, particularly as I almost killed the young plants.  Really they are too big now, but they are lovely roasted (our fav).

broad beans allotment Beetroot Press blog

I was quite disappointed with broad beans, again first time growing them, but they got black fly, and even the younger plants got decimated.  I did spray with a more organic treatment (watery washing up liquid) a couple of times, but they were quite far gone already.

tomatoes Beetroot Press blog

Unfortunately the tomatoes haven’t done well quantity wise, I’ve only had a bout 6 cherry tomatoes and they are only just turning orange.   Last year there was some sort of blight going on.  Fingers crossed for next year!

Pumpkin allotment growing Beetroot Press blog

Pumpkins have done a lot better than last year, and Im quite proud of this one, the biggest in the gang.

Potato growing allotment Beetroot Press blog

I still haven’t dug up all the potatoes yet, Im hoping they will survive not being dug up for a little while longer – all the leaves have rotted down now, so I think I need to dig them up very soon.

onions allotment growing Beetroot Press blog

First time growing onions, and loved the ease of growing from sets.  I will definitely get some to overwinter.

Purple french beans allotment Beetroot Press blog

French purple beans, these haven’t grown as tall this year, but theres still quite a lot to pick.  I like how they magically turn green when you cook them.

Rhubarb british allotment Beetroot Press

This is the first year for the rhubarb so I have tried to not pick much.  I did have some stewed the other day though with a tiny bit of maple syrup and it was divine!

ladybird runnerbeans allotment Beetroot Press blog

Growing runner beans Beetroot Press blog

Runner beans are doing very well – here’s Juls getting stuck in to hunt out all those that are hiding.

Jobs to do now are:  Weed weed weed!  Tidy up the strawberry patches and plant new runner plants in a new patch, build at least one more raised bed, dig a row/patch for new raspberry canes, dig up all the remaining potatoes and harvest the veggies.British allotment sunny Beetroot Press blog

Here’s a shot from earlier on in the Summer on a very beautiful day.

I hope you enjoyed this allotment update, if you have any comments or advice on growing any of these better, please do comment, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks and bye for now, Sarah x

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On the allotment May 2015

I have been working hard on the allotment, along with J giving a hand with securing raised beds, creating bean frames and super fast digging like a machine (he gets through a bed in triple the time I can).  And I’ve been trying to raise lots of plants at home, bathroom is looking a bit overgrown currently.

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With the dry spell we had, the ground quickly went rock hard with mahooosive cracks in it, and so had to wait for a load of rain before I could really think about digging.

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I’m trying to beat the growing season and get the beds all dug and ready for planting before it gets totally over grown like last year (must learn from my mistakes)!  Last year I had been really busy with making new stock for the exhibition and so left the allotment for about 3 weeks….May really is the month where growing gets a real shift on and the grass was up to my waist in height.  I felt like I missed my time for putting seeds in, so this year I have grown more at home, ready to put the plants in, as well as sowing from seed outside this week onwards.  Below is a pick of some runner beans a fellow allotment gave me to chit (never chitted beans before).

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I recently went back to Surrey, my home county and went to visit my Dad’s allotment – of course he has put me to shame by having loads in the ground already in very neat rows.  He delighted in showing me how nice his soil was compared to my heavy clay at my allotment. (Thanks Dad)!  Picture of him below in his greenhouse.

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My Dad is a bit of an expert allotmenteer, being trained at a young age, in the home guard he grew veggies for the camp, owned his own nursery for a while, and quite recently getting a slot on the local radio giving advice to veg growers (very proud daughter).  He gave me some tomato plants and not many of mine came up, and a pepper plant too.

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Here’s a pic of Dads super straight rows of veg coming up (puts my wobbly lines to shame)!

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Last year at this time I was trying to get my hands on a rotivator.  We borrowed one, it didn’t really work, was promised another which fell through, then ended up hiring a man with a rotivator.  Although it did make the digging/beds a lot easier, I have been hoping to dig all the beds as there were so many weeds and dock plants, they just all got chopped up and came up with about a million new ones!  I have waged war on weeds on my plot this year, by trimming them down and using a weed killer on areas away from the growing beds.

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I bought and had delivered 3 and a half tonnes of top soil.  I decided that if I am to continue witht he allotment, I needed to make a bit of an investment in soil because of it being too heavy clay – need something to break it up.

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I won some seeds from watching Countryfile!  I just had to apply online and got them sent in the post so hoping these will look lovely on the plot this summer.

Jobs I’ve done:  Planted seed potatoes in old tyre homemade pots, planted onion sets and covered with netting, tidied up strawberries from weeds, weeded and dug beds ready for planting, kill weeds and keep them cut down,

Still to do:  Dig last 2 beds, add top soil to rest of beds, plant broad bean plants (bit worried I’m too late with this as they are flowering), harden off other seedlings, sow more seeds at home and on the plot (including the wild flower seeds), order more bean poles, created pea frames from twigs, make some sort of netted frame to go over beds (job for J).

That’s it for now on the allotment, more to follow.  Below is a spiders nest which hatched just as I arrived at the allotment, hope they don’t all decide to live in my shed!  Have a good day everyone, bye for now.

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Vegetable growing for small gardens

I’m so happy as I’ve just got myself an allotment space to grow fruit and veggies.  I’ll add some photos once we get started on it.  I have always grown a few veggies in pots on the patio, but really wanted to spread out, so the new allotment should be brilliant!

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Above is an old sink my friend bought for my 30th birthday.  I’m loving the poppy’s in there, but may become a mini herb garden next.

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There’s quite a lot you can grow in pot’s i’ve found, our last three homes we needed to keep everything in pots, but I really wanted to grow vegetables, so I tried and it worked very well.  Above are Purple sprouting beans, they grow a dark purple then when coked turn green.  I’ve grown three plants in one pot, but you’d want more pots and plants for a half decent crop!

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I had some pretty old chilli seeds which hadn’t come up before, so i thought I’d give it one last go and got 2 plants coming up, so I’m hoping to see some chillies forming soon… I have a feeling the little one is a weed….we’ll see.

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I also planted cherry tomatoes, Gardeners delight, which I have grown before, and Galina, which are new to me.  The plants are pretty big right now, I planted 2 in each pot, but think maybe they needed their own pots, I was just short on space.  No harm yet but if they keep growing at this rate they may be a bit squished!

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This is tiddler, he didnt really come up, but he’s trying to spread out

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I love having fresh herbs ready to pick for cooking, so again, I had some old seeds that hadn’t come up previously, sowed them all to see what would and wouldnt work this year.  This is Parsely champion moss, and there’s a bit of dill poking in the shot there too.  There’s some basil too which I need to put in a bigger pot.

Are any of you growing vegetables?  Would love to hear about it, especially if you have any hints or are quite new to it like myself.

Tuinieren dutch gardening magazine

The new Dutch gardening magazine, Tuinieren has included the Beetroot Press linen tea towels in their August 2013 issue 7.  Very exciting!

tuinieren gardening magazines Beetroot Press

Although unfortunately I can’t understand the language, I can see it’s a modern take on gardening, with tips and ideas on how to create a gorgeous garden, right up my street!

tuinieren magazine Beetroot Press

Here’s the Beetroot Press linen tea-towels in the top right-hand corner, all hand-printed with joy!

Garden ideas Beetroot Press blog

This is one of the other pages which I thought a great idea for keeping and displaying herbs, and love the green pots!

Inspiring garden spaces

As today is a boiling hot day in the West Midlands I thought many of you will be enjoying your outside spaces, even if it is a tiny patio like mine!  Gardening is a hobby for me and I love to share inspiring ideas.  Have a look below at some of these amazing roof terraces with great layout ideas.

Garden inspirationI see gardens as an extension of your house, another room.  Somewhere you can make your own, style to your own taste and enjoy.  I have to admit, ours is by no means as swish as these, I would say a…. more home grown style!

Planting inspiration

Planting in different textured/surfaced pots can really bring more interest to your garden, are you able to hang pots on the walls?  It’s a great way to add more planting into a small space!

Are any of you lucky enough to be out in the garden today?  How do you like to decorate your outside spaces?