Allotment Plans 2018

I started keeping an allotment journal after reading Richard Chivers’ post on the subject last year and it’s been an invaluable tool, so this year I’ve gone a step further and also made an allotment plan and spreadsheet. The plan and spreadsheet’s main purpose is to keep me on top of planting and sowing times, and to keep the feeling of being overwhelmed by the allotment at bay. There’s security in feeling organised.

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The spreadsheet lists the vegetables, herbs and flowers we want to plant. Rob hasn’t decided which tomato and pepper varieties he’d like to grow so I’ve noted all that we have so he can choose at a later date. He’s also persuaded me to lighten up on the squash front. I may have been getting a little obsessed with them.

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If we keep to the spreadsheet we’ll know when to sow/plant, when to harden off, and when to harvest. I’ve also included a note section for little reminders and pointers to help us along the way.

Last year’s plot plan was very ad hoc, and we made it up as we went along – generally recording beds after they had been dug.

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This year we have clearer goals of what we’d like to achieve and we’re trying to be a little more organised. There’s still chance for it all to go to pot, and we’ve learned with allotment gardening that things don’t always go to plan, especially when your site is overrun with rabbits.

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The red dotted lines are beds we have yet to build (Bed 7 and 8). Bed 7 is where the old plastic greenhouse once stood and judging by the state of the soil it hasn’t ever been dug before. I’m currently trying to weed out the nettles and bindweed so we can build an asparagus bed there. We have Mondeo and Ariane on pre-order from Thompson & Morgan. In Bed 8 I’d like to experiment with the Three Sisters method of planting. I’ve earmarked Earlibird F1 sweetcorn, Borlotti beans Lingua de Fuoco 2, and two varieties of squash: Delikates and Uchiki Kuri. This bed, however, may have to wait until next year depending on the condition we can get the soil to. If it’s anything like Bed 7 then I’ll be digging through heavy, compacted clay.

Bed 1 was last year’s potato bed. A friend gave us her currant and raspberry bushes at the end of the summer so we rushed to get them into the ground and this was the only available bed. We don’t know what varieties they are but we may have to move them if they don’t do well as this is the wettest part of the plot and first to fall into shade.

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This year we intend to grow all our potatoes in sacks along the west boundary of the plot. We have second early Maris Peer and main crop Maris Piper chitting ready to be planted next month.

Bed 2 had courgette and Jerusalem artichokes in it last year, but we weren’t keen on the artichokes so have decided against growing them again. We still need to dig the bed to remove any stray tubers. This year we’ll use the bed as a nursery bed, and overspill bed – and I think Rob would like to grow some mangelwurzels so this could be where they end up.

Bed 3 already has onions in it, but I didn’t make a note in my journal of which variety after writing the planting label. I’ll try and remember to look next time I’m at the plot. I also suspect mice have taken up residence in this bed after eating last year’s Brussel sprouts. We’ve netted the onions as they’ve been nibbled by rabbits and deer (and possibly the mice), but we’re not really sure what will become of them.

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We hope to use this bed to grow courgette Black Beauty and beetroot Subeto F1 should we persuade the mice to move out.

Bed 4 and 5 have been commandeered for my squash and pumpkin habit.  I originally had plans for five squash beds but Rob has talked me down so I’ll save some varieties for next year. This year I want to grow Turk’s Turban, Vegetable Spaghetti and Honey Bear F1 alongside pumpkin Polar Bear F1.

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Bed 6 will be our brassica bed with broccoli Raab ’60 Days’Swiss chard Bright Lightskale Nero di Toscana, and Pak Choi White Hybrid F1. I’d also like to squeeze in a couple of sunflowers Helianthus Red on the end.

If all goes well and according to plan we hope to have a planter with sweet peas Best of British growing up the east side of the shed, and two hanging baskets on the south facing side with tomato Balconi Red, and pepper Sweet Sunshine F1. We also hope to grow some tomato and peppers in the greenhouse alongside a Black Beauty aubergine. This depends on the state of the greenhouse. It’s on the list of jobs to do as it currently lacks panes and the door doesn’t open!

We hope to convert what is left of the sinkhole into a wildlife pond or bog garden, but we’ve pencilled that in for next year. Writing this post has made me realise just how much work lies ahead of us. Ultimately, we want to keep allotment gardening fun and as stress free as possible so whatever doesn’t get dug or built this year will get done next year instead.


15 thoughts on “Allotment Plans 2018

  1. I’m coming up on the end of my second year of having a plot and I think at least 60% of the work has been building beds, sheds etc and I’m still not entirely done. I was saying the other day, that I might be done by about 2020 and then my name will come up for another half plot and I’ll start all over again! But it looks like a good plan, I’m trying hard not to develop a squash habit but they were so good to grow last year, so we’re going for butternut, uchiki kuri and the left over seeds from last years boston squash and baby blue hubbard. It’s hard not to want to grow all the plants…

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    1. Do you think you would find it difficult to give up your plot for a new one? We were discussing it the other day as we have one of the worst plots on the site and even though it’s really bad I think we’d struggle to let it go.
      I look forward to reading about how you get on with the squashes. There’s just something so satisfying about growing them – and they look so beautiful.

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      1. I would find it really hard, I have lots of raised beds and I wouldn’t want to leave them but moving them would be a nightmare. Our allotment committee gives out half plots, so I can go on the list and once I’m at the top of the list (in a few years time) I can sit there until a half plot nearby comes up! My neighbour on the site jokes that he’ll wait until I’m at the top before he thinks about retiring (he’s in his 80’s and I got my plot when he gave it up because a full plot was a bit too much for him!).
        Hopefully this year they won’t be attacked by aphids!

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      2. Wouldn’t that be ideal, to have the plot next door! Sounds like you have a great neighbour. When we took on our plot our neighbour turned out to be the sister of a friend – and she’s been so lovely and welcoming to us. It really does feel like team work on the plot with everyone helping each other out. Hope the aphids keep away for you this year too! We were lucky in that respect last year, but we did have a lot of caterpillars to contend with.

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  2. You’re very ambitious. I just hope everything goes to plan and that the hard work put in building your fences higher keeps the rabbits and deer at bay, leaving you to reap the bounty you’ve grown instead of sharing with those hungry critters.xx

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  3. Wow I think you should think about writing a book for beginner plotters…..It does sound like a lot of work yet to come, but with the love and support of each other, it will be a piece of cake!! Your plot is really coming together nicely. I am with you, I love squash and that would be my go to plant….LOL great job…love the journal….xxkat

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    1. Ha, can you imagine it? It’d be a Book of Errors! Lol!
      I can’t believe that it’s been nearly a year already. My not-so-secret goal is to try as many squash varieties as I can. I just love how ramshackle they look as they’re growing – perfect for our plot! Xx

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    1. It seems a little less overwhelming when it’s on paper, although it does highlight just how much needs to be done.
      I haven’t put jobs on the spreadsheet as I tend to list them separately in my journal, but it’s a really good idea and makes more sense. I’ll give it a go!

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