Garden, Home and Garden

Allotment Progress!

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!!

Our Polytunnel

allotment gardening

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.

The Produce

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!

allotment blog

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.

water butt

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.

Garden, Good Reads, Home and Garden, Life & Style

Our Favourite Allotment Books

books for allotments

Looking for some great allotment books?  Right this way!

You know sometimes when it’s really wet and windy outside, maybe sleeting a bit, and the last thing you want to do is go outside, but you feel a bit guilty that you’re not working on your allotment/garden?  Well, on those days, we curl up on the sofa with a nice cup of tea (or hot chocolate if we’re feeling a bit decadent) and get stuck into our favourite allotment books and magazines.

Our Favourite Allotment Books

We have quite a few allotment books and magazines that we’re drawing inspiration from for our allotment and I thought it might be useful if I share some of our favourites:

Homegrown Revolution by James Wong

james wong homegrown revolutions

James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution*

My partner is obsessed (obsessed!) with this book.  He bought it two years ago and it’s rarely far from his side!  James Wong provides advice on plants that you can eat that you might not have known were edible such as hostas, dahlias and daylilies, and more.  It’s essentially permaculture, although James doesn’t refer to it as permaculture in the book, and the aim is for you to have a pretty and productive kitchen garden.  Consequently, we’re planning on planting a load of hostas (apparently great in a stir fry!).

allotment books

Permaculture Magazine

permaculture magazine

Permaculture Magazine

My partner subscribes to Permaculture Magazine, and he says it’s an incredibly useful resource.  The design isn’t the greatest, and sometimes they veer a bit too far into the hippie side of thing for his liking, but he gets excited every month when the postman pops it through our letterbox and has garnered a load of ideas and inspiration from it.  By the time he’s finished reading it, it’s always very well-thumbed, with pages marked for future reference!

permaculture resources

Organic Gardening The No-Dig Way by Charles Dowding

Charles Dowding’s Organic Gardening The No-Dig Way*

Another dog-eared long-standing favourite, Charles Dowding explains the concept and ideas behind no-dig gardening and its practical applications.  My partner is a convert to this method of gardening – once you start reading the book you realise that it makes good sense not to dig the soil and let nature take its course.  We’ve accidentally misplaced this one, for now, so no photos am afraid, but it is pretty good!  So good he even gets in Permaculture Magazine (see the front cover of the above photo!!).

Any other favourite allotment books?  Do share!

PS: check out these inspiring allotment ideas, if you are looking for more inspiration.