A New year, a new allotment adventure

It’s January. The start of a new year, and this brings with it a whole host of resolutions. This year I’ve decided to keep it simple. My goal is to grow vegetables. An abundance of lovely, healthy, colourful, delicious vegetables. Ok, it sounds simple but after doing my research it seems as if I could be going into battle, mainly against snails and slugs and other creatures who would dare to eat my carefully nurtured seedlings. Well, that’s not going to happen, not on my plot! For the past few months I’ve been steadily collecting an array of plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes to use as my first line of  defence against the brigade of slimy creatures. There, let’s see the slimy ones get over those.

A snail, ready to launch a stealth attack

A snail, ready to launch a stealth attack

My mission now is to stockpile brassica collars to deter the dreaded cabbage root fly.  Apparently carpet underlay is best, but I may have to make do with cardboard. Netting seems to be a “must have” allotment holder staple when protecting crops, so this month I’ll be checking out which netting is best for Brassicas so I can make sure the butterflies and birds can’t get to the cabbages before I do.

Over Christmas I planned my plot for the next 12 months and have decided on a 4 year crop rotation system. I was really lucky when I took over the allotment in that it was already set up for 4 plots so this seemed to be the logical route to take. This year, Plot One will be for beans, peas and corn. Plot Two will be the brassica bed; spring cabbages, cauliflower, purple spouting broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Plot Three is for carrots, parsnips and members of the onion family and last but not least, Plot Four – Potatoes.

The blank canvas plot

The blank canvas plot

This is the first year I’ve been really serious about developing the plot, and have to say that I’ve enjoyed the process of planning the beds and deciding exactly which vegetable varieties to grow. I’ve tried my best not to be too excited about growing lots of different vegetables and feel totally justified in growing 4 varieties of potatoes in my first serious year (couldn’t curb my enthusiasm for mountains of new baby potatoes) and was so pleased to receive delivery of all four varieties of seed potatoes this week. I have decided to grow the Lady Christl variety as my first earlies, followed by the ever popular Charlotte potato as my second earlies. For the main crop I decided to play it safe and went for Maris Pipers and King Edwards. All things being well and good this year, I will probably opt for a more unusual variety next year – perhaps pink fir. If anyone has grown any of the varieties mentioned here, please feel free to comment, I’ll gladly take on any words of wisdom.

Pond making, before shot

Pond making

IMG_4393

Pond making, the finished product

So, jobs on the allotment this month will be to keep the plot tidy, keep the leaves out of the nature pond my son and I made last autumn and to prune the apple trees. I have to admit I’m quite nervous about the pruning, what if I damage the trees, or worse? The trees I have are oblique cordons and they have become a little larger than I think they should be. Think I’ll have to bite the bullet and just get in there, details of this I’m sure will follow in the next few weeks.

7 thoughts on “A New year, a new allotment adventure

  1. Hello Girl, good luck in your lotty this year – it looks very smart with the paved path 🙂

    I had a fair harvest from Charlotte last year, but found them difficult to cook from super-fresh (outside fell apart before inside tender). It seemed a bit better after storage for a few days. I’ll be interested to hear how you get on.

    What about growing one floury maincrop (for roast and baked) and one waxy (eg Desiree, for mashed and saute)? We had a lovely Desiree harvest last year, despite me leavimg them in the ground a bit too long (so some got eaten).

    Like

    • Thanks very much! I was a bit overwhelmed with the choice of potatoes that are available, so in the end just went for the ones I’d usually buy in the shops. I’ll definitely be posting about how the potatoes cope with cooking, and I’ll try cooking from fresh and after a few days of storage to see which way gives the best results. Thanks for the heads up!

      Next year I’ll try and choose the varieties according to texture and not get too carried away day dreaming about the copious amount of new potatoes I could grow on the lottie!

      Ps. bet the creatures enjoyed the potatoes just as much as you did, fingers crossed they don’t get any ideas about chomping through them this year!

      Like

      • It’s all a big experiment isnt it – see what suits you and works in your soil. My approach also was to grow what I knew (i.e in the shops) and then my neughbour said “I never grow varieties that I could buy in the shops” and that got me thinking!

        With earlies this year I want to achieve the delicious mineral-rich sweetness that my parents always achieved with theirs. They grew old varieties and have suggested Arran Pilot, so I’m going to give that a go.

        Like

  2. Good luck with the spuds! I’ve tried lots of different varieties over the years, and have now settled on 3 that are my favourites both for growing and eating: Belle de Fontenay (new potatoes, delicious!), Charlotte (lovely waxy potato, keeps really well, roasts and books well), and Desiree (tasty, keeps well, relatively blight resistant). I plant a small amount of B de F, and then more and equal quantities of the other two.

    Glad to have found another growing blog to follow! Have recently made a start on mine too, which is more of a mix of stuff. All the best!

    Like

    • Ah, another recommendation for Desiree, think I’ll have to give those a try next year. I’m hoping to keep some of the Charlottes back and try planting them in August for Christmas dinner, not sure how they’ll keep though over the summer but if I don’t try it I’ll never know! Good luck with your veg, I’m loving discovering other similar blogs too! It’s like a big gardening community right at your fingertips, just brilliant!

      Like

      • I wouldn’t bother holding them back if I were you, Charlotte keep really really well. We’re still using some I planted last spring. So long as you don’t eat them all up before Christmas of course! They are really good still.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s