The New Allotment Expert

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Clay Pipe

I found the haft of a white clay tobacco pipe on the allotment patch yesterday. Dunno if that isn't better suited to my archaeology blog Digging up Saxons?

Monday, May 30, 2005

More Inspirational Gardening

As it was the Bank Holiday we left Windsor and went down to Devon and visited the Garden at Rosemoor near Torrington.

We found a Vegetable and fruit garden in full flower that has to be seen to be believed. This really is gardening at its most professionally exacting. The gooseberry bushes were astounnding.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

First View of the Allotment

Monday, May 23, 2005

Ne'er cast a clout til May is out

The prepared beds are just sitting there now, waiting till all chance of a final frost has gone. Weeds were coming up yesterday so we spent an hour redigging and weeding.

If the weather is good for weeds at is good for planting in my opinion. ... Maybe tonight we will get some more sowing done.

"Ne'er cast a clout til May is out" has a french equivelent. Accroding to Celines excellent Translation blog En avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil!" means "Never cast a thread until April is dead". As Celine points out, the French version refers to April because its a bit hotter over there.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Its a rhetorical question...

Is growing your own organic food in the suburbs a) for sad old people, or b) anyone who doesn't want to die of GM, BSE, Sudan IV, Para Red or any of the other thousand of genotixic carcenogens that big corporations are pumping into our daily diet?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

allotment gardening

There are plenty of websites about allotment gardening but most are UK based, which makes me think this may be a peculiarly british institution (or do they call allotments something else in other countries?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

First weeds

Just days after rotorvating (or is it rotovating?) the site, we have weeds coming up. Spend ten minutes with the hoe yesterday evening before supper, building an appetite.

We made the mistake of getting Mr B to knock up some old broken palettes into a compost container. However he built it on the slope at the back end of our allotment so anything you chuck in it has a chance of rollinbg out of the gaps in the bottom, and down onto the neighbouring allotment. Ooops. I had better fix that so we keep our neighbours happy.

Monday, May 16, 2005

What a difference a day makes

A hot and sunny sunday allowed us to get onions, sweetcorn and herbs into the plot. 3 of the transplanted straberries kicked the bucket, but the iothers have already started putting on new growth.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Free Resources

Tell everyone at work you have an allotment. Fellow enthusiasts have been sidling up to me all week and handing over paper bags full of seeds. The MD has been giving me tips on growing fuscias and now even the marketing department are getting in on the act. I have just received a packet of sunflower seeds which arrived on the Marketing Manager's desk as part of some promotional pack from Waitrose this morning.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tool Bargains

This Season (spring 2005), the local CO-OP minimart (not normally most people's first choice when shopping for garden tools) is selling a terrific little hand trowel. It is ergonomic, solidly constructed and even features a good seration on the side for cutting twine. The cost is an astonishingly low 79 pence.

The Gamble of when to plant

Plant your allotment too early and you get hit by the last frost, too late and you loose valuable growing time. Well sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns, so tonight the first crop will be planted.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A fruitful discovery

In advance of going over the whole plot with the rotovator tomorrow, we dug up some old strawberry plants we found at one end of the plot and moved them to fresh earth in a sunnier spot. We found 18 plants in total but have no idea how old they are. We will, as ever, let you know.


We decided to see how it should be done so we visited Savill Gardens in Windsor Great Park.

Wow. You really must visit the woodland garden if you get the opportunity. I'm not usually a fan of camellias and rhododendrons but they have some stunning specimens. The whole place is absolutely gorgeous.

Friday, May 06, 2005

More local knowledge

A site all about our hometown

Frost alerts from the other side

I had a dream last night that the entire allotment was covered with a crop of potatoes, destroyed by a sharp frost. The ghost of William Shakespeare was flying above the carnage telling anyone who would listen that he had warned me to put some fleece down.

When I woke up, turned on the radio (to hear the general election results) and the BBC weatherman mentioned that we may have frosts this weekend. Quite why Shakespeare's ghost feels the need to give me weather and gardening tips is something that I am sure will haunt me all morning.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Our local allotment society even has its own webite at  where there is a good range of information on events, seed availability pictures and so on.
Gardening is now officially a 21st Century past-time!

Garden tools

You will be holding the handle of that spade for the next 20 years or so. Therefore buy one that feels comfortable in your hands.  If you like the honesty of wood go for the vintage stylings and enjoy your digging.
If you are a gadget lover, go for the latest high tech garden fork with easigrip rubber handles and ergomic curves.
Whichever you choose, choose the one that you will be happy holding for the next few decades.

Great Gardening Websites

And so it begins

We will need to either dig for a week or hire the rotovator for an hour on Sunday morning.
No contest there, and so a tenner is added to the cost of gardening. The subscription to the Royal Horticultural Society that Nicola took out last year will stand us in good stead, as their magazine 'The Garden' is full of useful tips.

The cost of renting an allotment

Just a half mile from the Queen's backgarden at Windsor Castle, Berkshire you can rent a big patch of fertile soil (about 15 by 50 metres) for just £10.00 a year.

Now the patch we just paid for already includes an apple tree, two plum trees and two gooseberry bushes, so we figure even if we do NO WORK we will end up in profit from the fruit harvest alone.

However, we intend to dig, sow and grow a whole range of good vegetables and promise to keep you up to date on our progress.