For years allotments were out of favour. No-one wanted them, and patches of mud with a shed at one end and weeds everywhere else went to waste. Then suddenly gardening became the new rock and roll, and everyone who didn't want to dig up their lawn wanted their own council-run patch of mud. The waiting lists grew faster than the cabbages. Now, after more than three years on a waiting list, Neil Shaw has been given his own patch of green and pleasant land.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


The rain finally came! Great news, it means I get a day off watering duty on the plot.

While the masses may be enjoying a barbecue summer, for growers it just means extra time with the hose to ensure we don't have a harvest-less autumn.

The RHS put out a release today indicating that soil dryness is now at levels normally only seen at the start of August. Read the full details here. They reckon that four inches or rain would be needed to bring levels back to normal.

So the showers we've had in the last 24 hours, while annoying for those trying to get a tan, won't really scratch the surface. The Met Office says at most we had 0.4mm in the latest 'downpour'.

That RHS release also has some greant hints about what needs watering and what can be left, and the most efficient ways of watering.

All that said, the crops continue to look great. Raspberries are red, gooseberries are almost there, onions and garlic starting to yellow up.

According to the Met Office it might rain in the next 16 to 30 days. Then again it might not. Great. Glad we sorted that out.

The one current pest is pigeons, who seem to have developed a method of teaming up which I would have put beyond their bird-brains. Best I can tell a couple of them are sitting on the nets over our brassicas to push it down, then they all nibble on the broccoli before flying off again.

We're going to need a stronger net!!!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Here we grow

The rain is coming down, and the carrots are coming up. Everything is growing nicely on the plot and the hard work of earlier in the year (and last year) seems to be paying off.

While the battle with weeds goes on, among them are things which definitely look like they might be edible some time soon.

As well as carrots there are potatoes (in need of earthing up), broccoli, cabbages, sprouts, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, leeks, garlic, raspberries, gooseberries apples and plums.

There's also rhubarb (though definitely in need of a feed), the mulberry tree looks healthy, the butternut squashes are growing well and even the sunflowers and peas are reaching for the skies.

The 1.5 patches we haven't yet cultivated are under control thanks to heavy maintenance with a petrol strimmer.

All seems to be going well...maybe too well!!!

There ae still things we want to get in the ground - so I guess we better get on with it.