Call me Barbara!

Our allotment plot has come a long way from its overgrown state three weeks ago. It doesn’t feel like the same space. The area covered in straw on the right is our fruit patch; filled with strawberries, rhubarb and a blackcurrant bush. The previous owners left some strawberry plants behind and we rescued the others from an abandoned plot further up. Its been a great help because we’ve managed to fill a quarter of our plot without spending any money.

Allotment patch in progress

Our allotment plot

Rusty wheelbarrow full of strawberry plants

Rescuing the strawberry plants

We lucked out with the straw. I was having trouble finding anything other than pet straw online so I asked someone for a recommendation and they told me there was a bag of it by the compost pile. It contained enough to cover the majority of the fruit patch. Very jammy!

Strawberry flowers in straw

Strawberry flowers

The rhubarb was another freebie. It needed a new home so we gladly accepted. The knobbly bit that looks like a brussel sprout is a new leaf growing.

Young rhubarb leaves

Rhubarb

Young green blackcurrant leaves

Blackcurrant bush

One of the biggest improvements we’ve made over the last week is a path. It divides our plot in to four clear areas; roots, beans, fruit and potatoes.

Red brick steps

Scott is the only person I know who can spend a whole morning digging in a plain white t-shirt and not get a smudge of dirt on him.

Scott digging soil

I on the other hand must have been a pig in my past life because I go home with soil all over the my clothes and skin. In these photos we are digging over the last patch of soil too tough for the rotavator – it was like getting a fork in concrete!

Me digging soil

Dandelion and forget-me-not

Forget-me-nots

I started some broad beans off in the garden at home and they’ve finally grown large enough to plant out at the allotment.

Young broad bean plants

Broad beans

The French beans aren’t far behind. This growth happened literally overnight after heavy rain.

Bean seedling opening up

French bean seedlings

These loo rolls contain sweetcorn seeds. Apparently it’s a good way to grow them because it minimises root disruption when planting out (you just put the loo roll in the soil). No idea if it will work out but worth a try.

Toilet rolls as seed trays

We’ve been plodding on, doing a bit here and there and I hadn’t realised how much progress we’d made until I looked back at the first photos. Tom and Barbara from The Good Life would be proud! But we haven’t done it entirely by ourselves. People at the allotment have been really kind, offering advice when we need it and helping us get started in any way they can. Gardeners are good folk.

26 Comments

  1. You’ve got so much done! It’s looking good. I have found gardeners to be keen to swap advice, cuttings, seeds and the like. It is a friendly little world 🙂

    • It is indeed! The allotment has been a great way to get to know a few new faces where we live…

  2. I am so envious of your allotment plot! I’ve heard a lot of people use loo rolls when planting out, you can buy the cardboard seed trays and this is an economical alternative.
    I’m like you and get dirt everywhere when gardening but I think that’s part of the fun 😉 #hdygg

    • I’m glad to hear you’ve heard of other people doing it too – we’ve been saving up loo rolls for a while, haha! Three cheers for mucky pups like us 🙂

  3. Yo Babs!

    You have been busy bees and it’s good to hear that the allotment community there is supportive. I’m planning on heading down to our local allotment when I get back off holiday to ask if I can take some photos and see if anyone wants to show me around. I pass the allotments every day but have never really paid them any attention which is rather sad I feel.

    That rhubarb leaf does look rather sprouty doesn’t it?
    Rhubarb and sprout is a combo worthy of Heston , I challenge you to find me a tasty cake recipe containing the two of them!

    Keep up the good work you two !

    And of course thank you for joining in again – and hosting next week!

    • I’m sure someone will be happy to show you around – I hope they do and then I can have a nose at what they’re doing (I’m a bit nosey)! Challenge accepted! I’m thinking perhaps some kind of caramelised rhubarb and sprout concoction with a dollop of mascarpone? Nom…

  4. Good work there – love your comment about being a pig in a previous life, I too somehow get mud everywhere… The allotment’s looking great, and fellow allotmenteers are a very generous bunch, I suspect they enjoy to see the crops they don’t have room for flourishing somewhere else 🙂 #hdygg

    • Thanks Stephanie! It seems a shame for seedlings and plants to go to waste after all that hard work, so I think you’re right.

  5. sounds to me that you like to get down and dirty and Scott doesn’t. awesome work and improvement!

  6. I think the dirt is a girl thing, I only have to step out of the door and I am covered in mud along with my gardening tools. Well done both of you looking forward to sampling some of your produce. Intrigued to see if a recipe of sprout and rhubarb can be created 😜

    • Thanks 🙂 I’m sure we’ll be sending some fruit and veg your way in a couple of months time.

  7. Excellent work, I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the coming weeks and months. Bet you can’t wait to enjoy some of the food from the allotment.

    • It looks a bit bare at the moment but things are starting to poke their heads out of the soil at last. We’re both really looking forward to eating our homegrown veg again, especially the beans.

  8. Well Barbara haven’t you done well. Looks like you and Tom are in for a good life on your allotment! Look forward to watching the beans grow.

    • Oooh lovely! I made a crumble with the rhubarb we were given, it was so much sweeter for being picked fresh.

  9. It really is going to be like the Good Life! I’m also hugely curious about the sweetcorn seeds. My husband always goes on about the best sweetcorn to eat is when it’s been freshly picked so I now suddenly have visions of planting some…but have absolutely no idea what to do!

    • I heard that too. Apparently it’s best to have the water boiling ready for when you pick it. Would you like me to send you some of my sweetcorn seeds? I have way too many and don’t know how well they’ll keep.

  10. It’s looking fabulous! I only hope that, a la Tom and Barbara, you will be getting a pig to keep somewhere on it soon, and brewing your own dandelion wine by the end of the summer. xx

    • Well I could be the pig as I eat a lot and get dirty. Strawberry wine is one our list of things to make this Summer 🙂

  11. You’ve done so much in such a short space of time – such a sense of achievement I bet. My allotment neighbours were so kind when we first got going, lots of offers of spare seedlings and bits of this and that, it felt like being welcomed into the gang – you’re right, allotment folk are lovely.

    I had a similar straw hunt last year for our strawberry patch, I didn’t get as lucky as you though! I finally found some in gardening section at The Range in case anyone’s looking at the moment 🙂

  12. Gardeners are good folk. It sounds like you have found a nice plot with a good community. A long time ago, I had a little patch on my mother-in-laws plot. I was just learning and that really bothered a couple of the “full timers” on site. I tried, but it wasn’t a very welcoming situation for my mil or myself and it put us off and we’re no longer there. Sometimes I dream about an allotment to grow flowers for cutting and especially sweetcorn, pumpkins and courgettes, but that will have to wait for now. I love the sweetcorn toilet roll planters. I hope it works!

  13. it’s all so exciting! i hear you about the getting dirty. my brother and i were like that. we’d go out to play and he would come home clean and i would be a filthy mess. i have to think that he would play with the dirt and i would play in it.

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