Saturday, 24 February 2018

80 Minute Allotment Update for February

I get an average of under two hours a week to grow my own fruit and veg. Here's an update on the state of The 80 Minute Allotment right now, before things start getting really busy this spring:


If you're short of time and trying to grow your own, make sure you check for regular updates on how I'm using my limited time to produce fruit and vegetables all year round. 

You can see what other people have got going on in their gardens at the moment by visiting The Propagator. The theme is "Six on Saturday", so here are six things from my allotment:

Grow your own in under two hours a week

Garlic

Garlic 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
Garlic growing well so far
I planted garlic bulbs in autumn, and they're doing well. It's so easy to grow. I remove weeds every now and then by hand but they don't need feeding or watering at all. They were protected from birds while young over winter. I've removed the netting now and moved it across to protect the onions...

Onions

DIY plant labels  80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
DIY plant labels
I planted the first couple of rows of onions sets a couple of weeks ago. There's still no sign of them poking above the surface so here are my labels instead. They're inspired by ones I saw in the kitchen garden at Avebury Manor in Wiltshire, and are made from sawn logs. I rather like them, they give just the right rustic air to my very unfussy and relaxed allotment!

Related: Planting Onions: The 80 Minute Allotment


Raspberries 


Rasberries planted 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
Newly planted raspberries
Last week I planted six raspberry plants. I've never grown them before. I've got three summer fruiting and three autumn varieties. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do, as they should be ideally suited to my slightly shady, moist, but fairly sheltered plot. I've been warned on facebook that they will send shoots all over the place and become a problem. Anyone had that trouble? What did you do?  

Related: Grow Your Own Raspberries: The Green Fingered Blog

Brassicas

Brassica bed 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
The brassica bed


The brassica bed is the fullest at the moment. A lot of them were severely damaged by cabbage white caterpillars and slugs when they were young plants, so growth was setback quite a bit. But I've been able to harvest curly kale regularly throughout the winter (see title picture), and the purple sprouting broccoli looks like it will start producing some lovely edible stems soon. I'm not sure we will get much more than a few leaves out of the cabbages. I will be trying to protect them a lot better from pests this year.

Strawberries 

Strawberry bed 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
Strawberry bed

Strawberries take care of themselves for most of the year, but I've recently tidied them up and weeded the area. I removed as much of last years straw as I could be bothered to, and removed some of the runners that had rooted since last summer, to make sure the patch wasn't over congested. 

It also helps to keep them in reasonably organised rows, to be able to move between them, and to identify which ones need to be replaced after fruiting this year. 

Contrary to what Lennon & McCartney said (sort of), strawberries don't yield forever, and I'm planning to plant new plants in a new area for next year, and remove the oldest ones from the area shown above. Most of the older ones are on the right of the picture and are at least 4 years old.   

Pea and bean supports


I'm already prepared for the peas and beans, which won't be ready to be planted out for many weeks yet. But cold sunny spring days are a good time to saw wood and make structures for them to grow on. I'm growing my peas and climbing beans on pyramids this year, all plastic free and costing nothing, from trees that were felled nearby. 

I don't know if it will be more productive, but I am expecting it to be less fiddly than using the conventional pea netting between posts which I used (and got tangled in) last year. These were certainly easier to erect, so up to now my plan is working.  

That's the state of my 80 Minute Allotment right now. Do let me know what you're growing, and any tips you have for making the most of limited time to grow fruit and veg. I'll be posting more updates soon.



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12 comments:

  1. I love the vitality of a brassica bed! It's nice to have found your blog via The Propagator - 'Six on Saturday' is such a great resource!

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  2. Welcome! I see a lot of plots empty for most of the winter, but there's really no need when you can grow kale and purple sprouting broccoli. It's so useful to have things you can grow through winter, and it's nice to have something green in the ground in the coldest months too.

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  3. I do like your DIY plant labels in your garden. My onions are still in the packs. I'm waiting for the end of the cold wave coming ... For raspberries, you plant 10 now you'll have 20 next year. But they can be controlled easily. I have a bunch here and I need to remove a lot each year to renew the plants. good luck !

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    1. Thanks Fred. I only put some onions early to try and give them longer to get to a bigger size. Time will tell if it makes a difference. Most of them will be planted in March, after the next cold spell is over. I've got shallots to go in too. I was going to pant them this week, but will wait until after the cold snap I think.

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    2. I just have bought my shallots today... It will be a french variety ' Cuisse de Poulet" if you know it.( I will post a day in a SixonSaturday about it)

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    3. Mine are "Red Gourmet". Haven't grown that variety before. I love the ones with a pink tinge to the flesh, and these are supposedly sweeter - already looking forward to them!

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  4. Your garlic is looking good. I was very late planting some Solent Wight last week in our new mini front garden allotment.
    Am also a fan of your homemade plant labels. Your raspberries look very well cared for - we inherited some in a corner of the garden and they have to make their own way in life. Maybe I should stake them this year.

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    1. Hi! Yes the labels are a great idea. When i saw them at Avebury I liked that they are so easy to make even someone like me who can barely hold a saw the right way round, can make them. And it's good that they are just from bits of timber lying around. My raspberries are only just planted. Have you cut down the old canes on yours?

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  5. Love the plant labels & bean supports. So much good food in so little time. Fantastic.

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    1. Thanks Lora, sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day - every shortcut helps!

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  6. Your strawberries are looking a lot neater than mine! I haven't tidied up the dead leaves from last year yet (oops).

    I definitely agree that raspberries can take over if you allow them. My allotment has semi-wild raspberries growing (someone planted them and since then, they've crossed 5 or 6 different plots!), but I try to cut off any shoots that appear in the wrong beds. Mine are autumn fruiting, so at least that means I don't have to put supports up for them (just cut them down to ground level after they've fruited, and you're ready for next year) :)

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    1. Don't worry Paddy, there's plenty of time to sort lout the strawberries yet. I'm fairly confident I can keep the raspberries under control. I'm sure if totally neglected they could roam far and wide, but I'll be keeping an eye on them, and wanting all their effort to go into canes I can get fruit from!

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