New Season New Challenges On the Allotment

Mother Nature

challenges on the allotment
Our Destroyed Polytunnel

After Christmas returning to the allotment always feels like starting all over again. Unfortunately for us this rung very true. Mother nature loved throwing new challenges on the allotment our way. The Polytunnel that we erected and had a great growing season, was destroyed. I believe storm Elanor was the culprit. The fence we built in case of such emergency did its job and kept the cover from the train tracks. The veracity of the wind threw one of the decking boards holding down the skirt into a nearby tree.

Not exactly a great start to the season. Not much was done that day and plenty of coffee was drunk. But it didn’t stop us from planning ahead for the season. Marking out beds in our mind while working out how we can improve on the next polytunnel. 

“We can rebuild it, We have the technology.” 

In the meantime, we moved the frame back into position. Dismantled the beds. Gathered all of the soil into the middle of the frame and covered with the old cover. This will stop all the goodness getting washed from the soil. It will also allow us access to repair and thoroughly secure it to the ground. We’re still not sure the best method yet. How have you secured and protected your polytunnels from the wind?challenges on the allotmentchallenges on the allotment

Lumos

Having recently moved house I no longer have the luxury of a large south facing window. I now only have a north-west facing windowsill which is far from ideal. To combat this we have invested in some LED grow lights. These light use minimal electricity while providing the right conditions for healthy growth. Over time we are working out the best way to utilize these lights.

challenges on the allotment
New Grow Lights

Backlog

challenges on the allotment
So much to do.

Everything we had planned to do over the Christmas period didn’t happen. The weather was atrocious. The ground, unworkable. In fact, often dangerous and a few times we both nearly binned it. Add this to the time to repair the polytunnel and our schedule is already blown. So its catch up now. But no mad rush. Take it in our strides. We always get there in there eventually and end up playing a blinder. Plus if it wasn’t for new challenges on the allotment it wouldn’t be fun. Plus when the sun makes an appearance productivity thrives.

Alliums

We are going shopping for our onion and garlic bulbs this weekend. The shops should be soon stocking seed potatoes too. Anything we cant source locally we will try to source online. Heres how we will be starting our sets. 

http://growblogs.com/alliums-garlic-onions-and-shallots/

What onion and garlic varietys are you trying this year. Leave us a comment below.

Allotment Planning – Essential for any serious grower !

Allotment Planning

Well its a new year and the boys at Growblogs are as busy as ever allotment planning. Thats why, January is going to be nice and cosy as we reach for the note pads, seed catalogues and laptops for a good read of everyone else’s plans, before settling on our own. With the days still being short, and the weather hampering all of the work we had planned over the Christmas holidays, were slightly behind with the restructuring of the plot. We had hoped to have had the rest of the raised beds in place, and had the whole plot dug over ready for the frost to get in and kill all the weeds. But with the rain and storms we have had recently, I have barely spent more than one afternoon digging. Weekends in January are going to be scarce because of weekend work commitments, so that’s why were going to make a realistic plan of everything we want to achieve, so that we can make the most of the time we get up to the plot.

When it comes to allotment planning, I always whizz up a simple diagram of the plot that I am working with containing measurements of the raised beds, so that I can plan where and what I want to plant in them. The visual diagrams will help with our allotment planning and assist us to successfully monitor crop rotation aswell as helping us to take advantage of companion planting. We will also be able to work out what is the maximum number of plants that we can happily fit into each bed without over crowding, while achieving maximum yield.

 

allotment planning
Plot map

 

I’ve been deciding what variety of seeds to sow this year, pretty much since the end of the last growing season, and have been purchasing them throughout the winter, when I see them discounted or on offer. Allotment planning and the purchasing of seed it an exciting time of year and it can be easy to get carried away, especially when you don’t have too large of a growing space. My seed box is starting to get a bit full and I know that some of the seeds will be past their best by next growing season so I need to plan what I need to keep for this season, and next. The rest of the seed I normally share among my friends (who are starting to turn green fingered themselves) or other people at the allotment. Its a great conversation starter to people you don’t know and always handy when you hear someones else kettle whistling and you’ve forgotten your flask.

 

 

allotment planning
Our seed box

 

A few weeks back Conor and myself decided to take a walk round the whole allotment site, just really because we have never seen it all and its a great way to pick up tips and ideas. We got chatting to one of the allotment holders and he then introduced us to two other plot holders. After the usual talking about the weather and what they were growing and complaining about the council, one of the gents let slip that he was the current holder of plot of the year. He then explained that the last time they held the competition was 8 years ago and that they used to have events and fundraisers quite often, but that it had all just fizzled out. This is something that I feel the young(ish) blood of Growblogs could rectify. We will be discussing this in great detail and our next directors meeting, which is scheduled for 1st January 2016, Pub yet to be confirmed.

We would both like to wish you all a Very Happy New Year.

“Live Long and prosper” Spock .