It’s been a little while since our last update, so I thought I’d share some of our allotment progress with you today.
To start with, some brutal honesty. Progress on our allotment has been a little slow lately. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but we actually changed sites in the New Year. This is because a new allotment came up much much closer to home. The other one was 5 miles away – which is quite a lot when you don’t have a car. This means we’re starting from scratch again. We still have the very ambitious aim of getting most of our vegetables from the allotment come summer and autumn – wish us luck!!
Greenhouses aren’t allowed on our allotment, so we recently purchased a polytunnel. We’ve only got a few things growing in there at the moment – tomatoes, chillies, and lettuce. However, we’ve planted some seeds indoors again to get a good start on the growing season. We’re trying out cucamelons again (we tried them last year but they didn’t come to anything so hopefully being in the polytunnel will help). We’re also trying out some heirloom potato varieties (my partner got quite geeky and went to a local seed potato swap! Who is this man I thought I knew?!). And we’ve also got herbs and squashes seeds, with plans to sow directly into the ground later in the growing season.
As we got the allotment in January we didn’t really know what was already growing on the allotment. Rather excitingly quite a few fruit canes have since sprung up. As have rhubarb and hazelnuts. I’m sure there will be a few more surprises as the growing season goes on!
It’s been really handy having the allotment so close to our house. We can just pop over whenever we want instead of having to cycle 5 miles there and 5 miles back.
And it means we can keep a better eye on our produce. We watered our plants on late Saturday afternoon. When we popped over on Sunday morning to see how things were going (when we took these photos) the heat in the polytunnel from the morning sun was so great that our tomatoes and lettuces had completely wilted (see the above photo!). Thankfully we got to them just in time and managed to revive them with a good water. And learned the important lesson to open up all the polytunnel vents in warmer weather!
The Water Situation
Speaking of water, something we’ve been sorting out too is the water situation. Our allotment doesn’t have a water supply on it. So something that’s important for us to set up are water butts. With everything that our new house needs (it hasn’t been touched in years), we don’t have the funds to buy an allotment shed. Therefore we were initially wondering how we might set up a water butt without a shed to attach guttering and a downpipe to. After a bit of internet searching, it turns out you can add guttering to polytunnels. So this is what we’re planning on doing.
Homebase kindly sent us a few water butts, that we are planning on using in conjunction with the polytunnel and some guttering. While Homebase sells quite a few water butt accessories, sadly they don’t sell the polytunnel pipe kit. However, we’ve ordered a kit from the internet. I’ll be sure to share my progress with this as soon as we get it all set up!
While we don’t have them set up just yet, the water butts themselves (these ones) have a great capacity (210 litres). They also seem pretty sturdy and look like they’re going to do just the job. We’ve actually got three water butts for the allotment that should fulfil all our water requirements!
What are you growing this year? I’d love to know!
PS: some of my favourite allotment books
Homebase sent us some water butts to help us out with our allotment, but all words and opinions are my own.