Real Men Sow

Adding Organic Matter to Your Allotment and the Importance of Soil Fertility


Recent posts on Real Men Sow have featured a theme of end-of-season reflection. I’ve looked at the good and bad of 2018, whether my massive squash plants were actually a hindrance and even pondering the reason for growing my own vegetables.

There’s something else that has also got me reflecting too. I’ve not had to think that hard to work this one out, but it has been a very welcome reminder: soil is king, and it’s health and fertility is vital for good crops.

The squashes went mad because the soil has been amazingly fertile. The other crops that did fight their way  through the mess have also been brilliant. The mangetout, beets, sweetcorn and carrots that were in that bed were the best I’ve ever grown.

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Trying to Make Some Sense of It All: Lewis, Rory and Carrots.


I’m not very good at song lyrics. I don’t tend to hear them properly. I think I know a line, but in fact I’m normally singing it incorrectly. What’s more, I sing it over and over for the rest of the day. ‘One line Jono’, my wife calls me.

I had one of those incorrect lines going around my head as I pulled my squash plants up recently.

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Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #15 – Blackberry and Apple Flapjack


With school still out for the summer, Lewis and I took ourselves foraging for blackberries on our bikes. This is Lewis’ first six weeks off as a school kiddie, and on a lazy Monday afternoon, this felt like a lovely school holiday kind of thing to do. I’m definitely going to make this a staple of summer school holidays to come.

We did go foraging for blackberries last year after Lewis declared he wanted to make a blackberry and chocolate cake, but given massive amounts of chocolate in the recipe I used, I wanted to steer him towards something at least a little bit more wholesome this time around.

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #15 – Blackberry and Apple Flapjack
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #14 – Courgette, Lime and Coconut Cake
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #13 – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Muffins
  • An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #12 – Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #11 – Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #10 – Fresh Ginger and Apple Cake
  • Good Food Magazine Marrow and Pecan Cake
  • A Rhubarbey Roundup, and Whatever Happened to Allotment Cakes for the Weekend?

Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


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