Real Men Sow

Summer Solstice Veg Patch Update


There’s an opening line in one of the original River Cottage episodes, where the camera pans across the garden and house, and HFW says ‘It’s high summer at River Cottage’.

When I watch this episode back, it always sends a little whoosh of excitement through my body. It is such a magical time of year, when everything is blooming and harvests are aplenty.

With this in mind, and being the longest day of the year, I thought I’d blog about what’s happening in my own garden right now, because I’m currently experiencing more excitement there – finally, after Winter and Spring of empty beds, they’re beginning to look like a proper veg patch again.

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Refining My Allotment Habits and Growing Differently


‘You’re losing interest, aren’t you?’

I was in my shed, tinkering with a bike when my mum said that to me yesterday morning. Bikes are my other passion after veg growing, and I was giving the road bike a much needed Spring overhaul.

‘I’m not losing interest, mum. Things are just different now.’ I thought for a moment. ‘I grow differently these days.’

When I first took on an allotment and started Real Men Sow, life was pretty easy. It was just me and Ailsa, with plenty of time on our hands to bimble around as we wished. But now I’ve got Lewis and Rory as well, finding the time to fully commit to an allotment is tricky.

And so I reiterated my point to mum. I’m definitely not losing interest. I don’t spend as much time on my plot as I did, but in fact, this has heightened my interest – but the focus has altered. Without realising until now, I’m on a mission to refine my growing habits and techniques to get the very most enjoyment and reward from as little time as I can.

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Harvesting Perpetual Spinach All Year Round

Posted on by in winter veg with 1 Comment


‘There’s a spinach jungle in the garden!’ Lewis shouted at the weekend.

Three year olds can be remarkable accurate in their summaries at times. There is indeed a spinach jungle in one of my raised beds. The perpetual spinach has gone to seed and is a good 5 to 6 feet high. So I took the plunge, made a final harvest and yanked up the plants ready for composting down.

Whilst doing this, I uncovered the plant label I had stuck into the ground, next to my spinach row. On the tab, I’d written ’6/7′, the day I sowed the seeds. Ten months ago!

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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, three years on, 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 #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?
  • (Not) An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #7 Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream

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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