Tag Archives: Allotment

What to do on the allotment in May

So what is there to do on the allotment in May?

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It is the first day of may today and it’s pouring down here in Blackpool, it’s turned really cold too and that glimmer of summer hope has disappeared, the heating is back on and so is a jumper! I am fancying comfort food like rhubarb crumble and custard, but I used the rhubarb in a juice yesterday when the sun was shining.

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March: What to do on the allotment

March is here in all its sunny glory in UK and we are thinking about what to do on the allotment.

I love the March sun because it makes grumpy people smile, the lovely spring flowers grow from their deep sleep of winter and allotment holders everywhere get very excited, because its time to sow seeds – Woo hoo!

Our organic seed delivery happened in January from Kings seeds and I have been waiting for that wonderful moment when I get the compost into pots and start planting.

I have been learning about planting by the moon because different plants grow better when they are planted during different phases of the moon. Each of these phases imparts an influence on the way vegetation grows on the planet through the rising and falling of the moisture in the ground and in the plants. – The gardeners calendar

I tell you what, it has made a difference, my courgettes and french beans I planted at 4.30am (this is because I couldn’t sleep not because you have to get up at idiot O’ clock to plant by the moon) have shot up, they are growing so well. This photo was taken 2 weeks after I planted the seeds, I had to re-pot them into bigger pots!

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From front garden to abundant allotment

All you need is a bit of space (provided you don’t live in a cave, in which case you’d have to settle on button mushrooms). Even if you have a small apartment or a small yard you can still grow quite a bit of food. You can even grow tomatoes in a small studio apartment. For those of you that have a moderate to large sized yard, follow suit on the picture story below. This is how to create REAL health security. It’s time to stop consuming and start producing!

 

This used to be a lawn.

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It started with eight 6’x4′ raised beds with 1″x10″x10′ reclaimed redwood barn siding.

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Encourage hedgehogs to your garden

Why is it a good thing to encourage hedgehogs to your garden or allotment plot?

Well one reason is hedgehogs feast on insects, including pesky caterpillars, slugs and snails, often consuming over 200g of bugs every night, great news for getting rid of slugs. This will balance out your garden’s natural ecosystem, making it much more balanced as you introduce a natural predator rather than putting down poison or slug traps. (which are horrid to empty). Plus hedgehogs are super cute and fun to watch!

Check out these 5 tips from Grow fruit and veg:

main imageHere’s how you can encourage them.

1. Introduce hedging Hedgehogs like to hunt and rest under these plants for protection. Introduce hedges such as beech, holly, hawthorn and yew (pictured below) as barriers around your plot instead of wooden or metal fencing to create easy access to your crops that need a helping hand

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2. Provide food and water A garden pond is a great source of drinking water for these creatures, as long as you provide an easy exit in case they fall in. Hedgehog food is available to buy which can be left out in the evenings – alternatively, try using meat-based pet food.

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3. Create shelter Compost heaps and piles of logs in a quiet space on your plot make perfect resting places for hedgehogs. They provide protection from predators and a way of escaping higher temperatures during the day.

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4. Leave a part of your plot to grow wild It may seem counterproductive to many tidy gardeners, but leaving just a small corner of your growing space unattended will encourage more food for hedgehogs such as various beetles that won’t be of any harm to your crops. This makes it more likely for them to stay close by.

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5. Keep pets away Larger animals such as cats and dogs may frighten hedgehogs that appear in your garden overnight. To help them feel safe in this environment, make sure your pets are kept away from secluded areas where these creatures are likely to be hunting in the evening. It’s also important to protect any food left out from being eaten by your furry companions.

Further great advice from The wildlife gardener:

How we can help hedgehogs

In order to help hedgehogs, gardeners should avoid using slug pellets because, as well as hedgehogs helping you get rid of a slug problem naturally, the pellets can also kill hedgehogs and even if they don’t eat the pellets directly, if the slugs they eat have been poisoned, this will also be absorbed into the hedgehogs’ body tissue too. You can supplement a hedgehog’s natural diet especially in autumn when they need to accumulate fat before they go into hibernation for the winter.

What to feed hedgehogs

Tinned cat or dog food and even dry dog food is a useful addition to a hedgehog’s diet. They’ll also eat things like bacon rind. You should also ensure that you put out fresh water with any food you leave but you shouldn’t feed a hedgehog milk or bread in large amounts as they can cause diarrhoea.

Do you have hedgehogs in your garden?

Low impact living in a town – what can be done?

We live in Blackpool which is a seaside resort in the Northwest of UK, population of roughly 142,000, so we are a large town. Contrary to popular belief from my photos, we live in a terrace house surrounded by neighbours and the normal trappings of large town life. So until we get our dream home in the countryside what do we do to have a lesser impact on the environment and to live a ‘back to nature’ way of life. A simple guide to our low impact living.

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An abundance of fruit and weeds!

We spent another Sunday afternoon at the allotment today, after upgrading from a half plot to full size it’s been hard work, there is so much prep to do, the soil is very heavy clay and every time it rains it ends up flooded. Weeds appear overnight and the seeds don’t grow!

One thing that is doing well are the fruit trees, if nothing else we will have an abundance of fruit to eat!

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Allotment time, books and foraging

I spent a lovely afternoon in the sunshine today at our plot, did some weeding and dug over a bed ready for planting, planted some seed potatoes that were on offer (I normally just sprout my own in a dark cupboard), built up the next layer of compost with grass cuttings, veg peelings, coffee dregs and horse poo and then sat on a bench we made from bricks and a scaffolding plank and closed my eyes and listened to the birds and the sounds of nature all around me. It was amazing, I remembered when we first got the phone call to say we could have an allotment I said to Tom (my partner) which plot I thought it was, we had visited plenty of times on open day so knew the plots quite well, it was a middle plot with fruit trees on, when we visited to view our new plot it wasn’t that one, it was right at the far end with no trees, it was only today I realised when we moved from the half plot to this double plot just over a month ago I was sitting next to the original plot I dreamed about and our new plot has loads of fruit trees on it too!

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Allotment and chickens in winter catch up

It has been pretty frosty here in Blackpool, UK for the past few nights and a little flurry of snow fell but by morning it had disappeared, we go up to the allotment about once a week at the moment to collect veg and clear up the dead leaves, have a general tidy up and get the beds ready for spring. This is the first winter having the plot and we started quite late planting as we got our allotment 31st May 2014.

We still have sprouts, kale, curly kale and cabbages growing and are ready for eating, the garlic we planted is growing nicely and should be ready for early spring.

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Tomato chutney recipe River Cottage

I have a massive amount of tomatoes that hadn’t turned red last week on the allotment and a fellow plot holder advised I pick them all in case the frost came and they would be ruined, I ended up with 7 & 1/2 pounds of tomatoes altogether, I used the red ones for breakfast and pop the others in a large bowl with some bananas in the hope they would turn ripe.

A week later and not much progress, some had started to go bad so I got my trusty River Cottage year cookery book and found a great recipe for ‘glutney’

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Got an allotment? a beginners guide

I often get asked how do you know where to start when you are given an allotment, sometimes it can be overwhelming, especially if the plot is large and overgrown.

There are 3 different types of allotment growing styles from my perspective,

1.The uniform, weed free, everything measured and in lines allotment.

2. The raised beds, kind of tidy but with extra plants type

3. The free range, eco, grow everything mixed in type.

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