Monday, 29 September 2008

Allotment Tips for the Time Poor (that's everyone, right) # 1

Really, I feel a bit presumptuous giving others tips. I mean, have you seen my allotment lately? Well, no you haven't, because it's too awful to photograph, and neither have I, for which there is no excuse.

It is rather a case of feast or famine where the allotment is concerned; I'm either up there all the time or not at all. So it was with some trepidation that I dragged the whole family up there yesterday. Yes, there were a few howls of protest but as far as I can see unless 12-year-old boys are eating, on the Playstation or riding their bikes there are always howls, so I ignored them.

While pulling at the weeds and ordering others about I did think "oh, I must remember this for next year" but as my memory is appalling I'm writing it here.

  • Tip 1: Plant nasturtiums between rows to suppress weeds. These plants are so easy to grow, look pretty and (best of all) seem to thrive on neglect, which is just as well.

  • Tip 2: Butternut squash (and I'm assuming pumpkins) are also easy to grow, are tasty and make a lovely alternative to courgettes, which are also great and prolific but sometimes a bit too prolific.

  • Tip 3: Paving slabs are wonderful laid onto bare earth between beds as they don't rot and suppress the weeds wonderfully. I've tried all sorts of paths - bark chippings (messy and expensive) and carpet (great hidey holes for slugs, rots and doesn't suppress weeds) and slabs have been the best. I recycled mine which were no longer needed from our garden but if you had to buy I guess this would be the most expensive option.

  • Tip 4: Raised beds are ideal for allotments, allowing you to work your plot in bite sized chunks, reduce digging, and easily improve the soil but (yes, there is a but) they also make superb homes for slugs and snails. The wood also eventually rots and then you have to start again which can make it a bit expensive. I loved my beds but have removed the rotting wood and just kept them as beds, edged with my paving paths. This, I think, is the perfect solution. Well, I hope.
Now I have a bit more free time and I've broken my allotment visiting drought, I plan to spend more time at the plot. At least I'll be getting fresh air and not spending money so it's all good. I just have to dig out the flask as I can't be too far away from coffee (even if it is decaf, sigh).


  1. I don't have an allotment but grow my fruit and veg in my own veggie garden. It's easier when you don't have the time or inclination to do all that toeing and froeing between your home and the allotment.

    I agree about nasturtiums being great in the veggie garden, I let them seed all over the place. And paving slabs don't have to be expensive, just search the internet for free paving slabs, that's how I found most of mine.

    I like your blog :-) and found you via Garden Monkey.

  2. Yolanda, thanks for visiting (I must email Monkey and thank him/her for the nice comments...!).

    I'm always thinking of having a veggie garden at home but as I'm hopeless at garden design I didn't want to get it wrong! The back garden's very shady thanks to trees so maybe I could have a front garden potager.....decisions, decisions.

  3. I like your new banner - very seasonal. At least now you have tackled the allotment you can go there with an easy conscience and maybe you will feel inclined to go more rather than putting it off. Welldone

  4. what a gorgeous blog.
    And I agree re.woodchips - the malevolent kitten who lives beneath us considers it his life work to churck them around the veg patch whenever I lay a path!