Real Men Sow

A Change of Plan – Starting From the Back Door

Posted on by in somerset with 1 Comment

‘Start from your back door,’ Alys Fowler wrote in the first chapter of her lovely book, The Thrifty Gardener. Nearly four months in to our new lives in Somerset, I’m taking her advice.

Initially, I had planned to clear the back of the garden in our new house to create a new veg patch, ready for our first summer as Somerset residents. This was going to be the first garden job, and I began clearing over Christmas. Recently, however, I’ve had a change of plan.

The intention is still to clear the back of the garden for a veg patch, but there’s more work there than I anticipated, and if I don’t have a rejig, I’ll never get a seed in the ground this summer. So, I’m going to use this space around the patio instead to begin with, as well as this space outside the back door.


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The Annual Seed Audit – 5 Things to Do With Your Seeds

Posted on by in spring with 2 Comments


One of the most exciting pre-season tasks is the good old annual seed audit. For me, this will normally coincide with the seed ranges hitting the shops, and allows me to work out what I need to buy and replace in time for spring.

Rifling through your seed packets is best done on one of those lovely February days that feels like Spring is just around the corner. We’re starting to get a few of those down here in Somerset, which is making me fret about getting my new patch up and running!

Anyhow, if you’re thinking about undertaking your own audit, here are 5 things to do with your seeds.

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6 Tips for Growing Broad Beans


If you haven’t overwintered your broad beans, the chances are you are thinking about sowing some seeds pretty soon. The days are gradually getting longer, and broad beans are one of the earliest seeds that can be sown on the allotment.

A sowing now will yield harvests from May, which will be very welcome during the sparse hungry gap period.

Here are 6 top tips I’ve picked up for growing successful broad bean crops.

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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

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  • 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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