May has been an exciting and busy time on the Quest for Veg plot. As you can see in our video diary, we have more than just potatoes in the ground now! But it has been hard work and there is so much to do we are in danger of not keeping up with it all.
On the face of it, the allotment looks pretty similar to how it looked at the end of March. This is partly because much of the obvious activity has happened in the greenhouse, and partly because the things that we’ve planted – mainly potatoes – have yet to show much growth.
But we have come a long way. It’s good to look back to remind ourselves of the progress we’re making.
April started with the exciting news that our blog was featured in Grow Your Own magazine.
It’s the middle of April and we have a full house – the greenhouse is bursting at the seams! We’re aiming to bring on a succession of seedlings over a range of plants and we’re not quite ready to start hardening things off.
Not only that, Andrew won some zinnia seeds from Mr Fothergill and couldn’t resist sowing them. We have no idea where we’re going to plant them but their rosy purple flowers should look amazing.
You may get the impression from this video tour that Sandra is not a huge fan of marrows. Can you convert her? If you have any recipe suggestions, please let us know!
And here are a couple of pictures:
We’ve got a lot further in our Quest for Veg than we had dared to hope.
When we started, I think we anticipated that our first year would probably be spent getting the allotment into shape. And yet here we are, just entering April, and we are looking forward to sowing our first seeds on the plot.
Not only that but during March, Richard very kindly gave us the use of his greenhouse. This enabled Sandra to sow her first seeds.
We decided to try to create some woodchip paths to help define the plot and give us some relatively mud free areas to work on. By chance, Andrew came across a Garden Inspirations of Cheam who were working on a tree across the road from where we live. They enthusiastically agreed to deliver the woodchip straight to the plot. We found a little garden cart by Draper which we could attach to Andrew’s mobility scooter. It’s perfect for transporting tools and equipment to and from the allotment. Andrew made a liner so that we could also use it for moving the woodchip from the gate to our plot.
Richard also came up with some compost that was surplus to requirements. He brought it to the site, and he and Elisa moved it to the plot. We used it to add to the raised bed we made using builder’s bags.
We bought some weed suppressing membrane and covered most of the plot to, er, suppress the weeds.
And we’re chitting some potatoes which are now ready for planting out.We should be planting out our potatoes very soon. We’ll also be direct sowing some seeds and transplanting some seedlings that have been started in the greenhouse.
Hopefully, we’ll also be putting a water tank on the site soon and deciding on what shed we want. Roll on April!
We held another weeding party to help us clear the second half of the plot. You can see how we got on here:
We are very grateful to:
- Richard Anderson, Anderson Landscapes
- Keith Boxall
- Elisa Contreras and Rodney Williams, The Secret Garden
- Duncan Hendry, Hendry’s Horticulture
The generous contribution of their time has meant that we have accomplished in a few short weeks, something that would have taken the two of us months and months. They were also able to step in when Andrew was tempted to overdo it so that he didn’t end up hurting himself.
From here, we were planning to let the remaining weeds grow a bit and spray them with a glyphosate based herbicide. But we are now thinking that we will skip this step and simply cover the ground with a geotextile. This is because we don’t want to wait for the weeds to grow, we want to get on with it!
Here is a tour of the plot showing where we’ve got to at this point:
I thought we’d have to wait years for an allotment. In fact, it was only a couple of months.
We asked to be put on the waiting list for three sites at the end of September 2016. In the week running up to Christmas, we got a letter back letting us know that there were two potential plots at our the nearest allotment site.
Here’s our chosen plot. It was more overgrown but had the advantage that it was on the edge of the site which we felt gave us a little bit more space.
Here’s a tour:
We measured the plot and we’ll draw out a map so that you can see what we’ve got.
We then spent a happy hour or so hacking away at them stems of the choisia and bramble, with the aim of cutting them into short, manageable pieces. It seemed a pity to be so brutal but we need to get the site cleared so that we can grow what we want.