This whole new half allotment, half garden idea is very exciting for me, and I’ve got loads of thoughts zipping around my head. The time comes of course, when these thoughts are better off down on paper. Or in this case, blog.
To help me plan, I’ve first of all decided it would be useful to jot down some of the fruit and veg that I’m looking to grow in the garden and those that will live at the allotment. They’re split across the two sites on the basis of their different growing and harvesting requirements.
The crops at the end of the garden will be ones that need my attention regularly, whether it is to ward off pests, provide plenty of water or need daily harvests.
French Beans, Peas, Mangetout and Runner Beans
These crops need regularly harvesting to keep the flow of pods coming. As daft as it sounds, I’m not that great at harvesting, so when I grew these at the allotment, I often got there too late and ended up with stringy, tough crops.
Another crop that falls into the regular harvest category. They can turn from perfect size to marrows in a couple of days, so I’ll need to be on top of them. Courgettes also need plenty of watering in dry periods.
One of my favourite crops, especially when you can pick them there and then. That way, you guarantee the most flavoursome strawb possible.
Salad and Lettuces
For me, these are a grab and use crop. They’re often a veg that you suddenly think’ ‘oh yes, I need some salad with my dinner,’ so it’s very convenient to just pop out and get them. Having them close by also means I can be around for slug duty…
Like courgettes, tomatoes need a lot of water, and like strawbs, being there to harvest bang on time is the key to the best tasting tom.
Curly Kale, Chard and Cavolo Nero
These winter hardies will be most welcome when frankly it’s far too cold and wet for me to want to walk down to the allotment. A quick dash to the end of the garden is much more appealing!
I can also be flexible when getting ready to fight off the inevitable cabbage white attack.
The Allotment will be the place for low maintenance crops that take up a lot of space. I’m aiming to spend about an hour on the allotment a week, which might sound ambitious but my former plot neighbour Merv manages this. The key will be to grow crops that don’t need me on hand every day of the week.
I grew a very small row of pink fir apples this year. They were very productive and really tasty, but as my wife said, they’re a one trick pony. I want to supplement these with other versatile potatoes, which I don’t have room to grow in the garden.
I love a big squash crop as they store so well and we can be eating them all through winter. I don’t have enough room in the garden for many plants, so they’ll be going down the allotment. They do need watering quite a lot, but using mulching techniques and my mum’s planting method, I can work around this.
Onions and Garlic
Another crop I had to forego this year due to space. All they ask for is to be kept fairly weed free.
Rhubarb is perhaps the ultimate low maintenance crop. The crowns benefit from a split every few years and a good helping of manure in Autumn, but apart from this are incredibly unfussy. They don’t even mind the shade.
Like rhubarb, fruit bushes are pretty easy to manage. I’m going to plant gooseberry, blackcurrant and blackberry at the new allotment.
You can never have enough leeks and having the plot gives me the space to grow plenty. I’ve found them reliable, uncomplicated and easy to grow. They keep well in the ground and don’t require much water either, so I don’t have to worry about them very much at all.