The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Allotment update

I've not done a post on my allotment for a while and my last post was a bit depressing with all the rain and slug damage at my plot so I need to do a more positive update. This is difficult with the rain still hammering down outside and no end in sight of this rainy summer. But I guess it is saving us having to water our plots plus I hear that the hosepipe bans have been removed (not that they affected us here in soggy West Yorkshire).
I'm still trying hard to keep on top of the weeds which has been difficult in the last few weeks as I've been down to London for a few days to watch Wimbledon (saw the amazing match where Nadal got knocked out!) and the weather has conspired to be awful on any of my free days. But its definitely better than last year when annual Euphorbia was taking over my plot. I'm trying to keep them cut down early this year to stop them flowering and seeding. Wimbledon time also means strawberries but I've been having a battle not only with those slug beasties but with the birds for my fruit this year. I assume that its the birds as there are random strawberries left on the strawberry patch, picked off but then only half eaten, how frustrating. Another area which will need netting next year!
Whilst I have been wise to the pigeons (and I think magpies are a problem too) destroying my brassicas this year, these have been netted right from the start and now seem to be growing and many have survived the inital slug attack.
But I've had to abandon my spring sown broad beans which never got going and I realised that they were being attacked by the birds, so they ended up on the compost heap. Soon everything is going to be netted on the plot! My autumn sown ones did ok though and I had a reasonable crop from them so I will sow some again this autumn.
I have had some success though, been harvesting my peas.
My autumn planted onions have been great, some are huge. They were 'Electric Red' and I'll be buying more of those sets when I go to the Southport Flower Show later in the year.
The garlic looks nearly ready for harvesting and the onions and shallots are coming on well.
The sweetcorn is coming on, just need some warmth and some sun, in short supply so far but I live in hope.
My second planting of courgettes and squashes are finally getting going and I'm hoping for some crops soon.
I'm also hoping my potatoes are surviving all this wet weather, plan to dig some of those up soon.
The paths that I have put in have really made a difference and I think I may put some more in next year to divide it up a bit more.

The crops that I've really failed with this year are the root crops, I've tried sowing radish (supposedly one of the easiest of all crops), carrots, beetroot, parsnips and all have either not germinated or eaten by slugs. I've also tried direct sowing of spring onions and salad leaves and again no success. I think I'm just going to have to leave these to growing at home in the garden where I can be more vigilant about watering and slugs.
But to end on a positive note I've harvested by first gooseberries and redcurrants this year which is very exciting.
I was very chuffed to hear a few weeks ago that my plot had been chosen along with 4 others from our site to go into the "Best Plot" competition as part of the Huddersfield Allotment and Gardens federation, judging was on Wednesday 4th July. Apparently 4 judges from the federation went round all nominated plots, across all allotment sites in Huddersfield on that day but I'm not sure what the criteria for marking is. There are some amazing plots just on my site so I was pleased to be even nominated as this is only my second year and there is still so much to do. But it was just nice that people recognised that I've worked hard on my plot this year. The winner was a chap on our site which was brilliant, he has any amazing plot. Our site was given an award for the most improved site across Huddersfield, which is great. We have established a committee this year and we have been working to try and improve facilities and communication between plot holders so we were chuffed with that.


  1. It's all looking very tidy. Well done for being shortlisted in the competition. Hopefully the warm weather's on it's way soon!

  2. Does chuffed mean happy? That's a new word to me! Congrats on being nominated for an award. It's wonderful when people notice how hard we work. A common slug deterrent in the US is to use beer traps. Fortunately, slugs are very cheap drunks. Just fill a small dish with cheap beer and sink it into the ground so that the rim is at soil level. The beer attracts the slugs and they fall in and drown. I use them every spring with the cheapest beer I can find.

  3. Yes chuffed does mean happy, its one of those odd english slang words I guess!
    Yes I think I'm going to have a go at the beer traps, and a good idea to use early on when planting out. I think I'm over the worst bit now most things have gone past the slug eating stage. What a way for the slugs to go!

  4. Congratulations for the nomination for 'Best Plot'. Your plot looks great. I have similar paths and it makes such a difference, especially when the weather has been so wet - no standing and compacting the soil and being able to harvest without getting covered in mud. I've struggled with radish too which is depressing when it's meant to be one of the easiest things to grow. No great loss though, radishes aren't a favourite in the Welly household.I fear beer traps wouldn't have worked in this rain. The traps just get full of water, diluting the beer and making it ineffective. You need quite a strong stomach to dispose of the disgusting gooey contents. I've heard recently several people say you need to start using slug pellets really early in the year, in February, when the first slugs are emerging and get them before they start to breed. So I'm going to give this a try next year.

  5. Its been a difficult year on the plot, I'm glad I didn't start out this year. Yes disposing of the beer was always something that put me off! Think the slugs took me by surprise this year as they really weren't a problem last year but I guess the dry spring would have made the difference. You soon realise that every year will be different with different challenges.

  6. First off well done, and no wonder that you're chuffed!
    As you appreciate we've all have the same problems this year which is the worst one that gardeners can remember. It must be heartbreaking for newcomers if it's their first year.
    Your plot is looking good, much better than mine which has been waterlogged and bedraggled for weeks.
    Onions are one vegetable that seems to be doing well, even mine. Flighty xx

  7. Your plot is looking good Annie at least you are beginning to get some harvests. Congrats. on your nomination - keep up the good work.