-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Sunday, January 23, 2005

allotment update and some links

As part of practising for living at Amherst, where we'll be reliant on growing a lot of our own vegetables, we've got an allotment here in London. We got it mid-2004 and so far we have been just focused on clearing it since it was full of weeds! We also built a lovely shed and spent almost all weekends in Oct/Nov digging and spreading barrow-loads of manure onto beds, to let them rot down over winter. We are still only about 1/3 of the way through but we have enough to start with for our 1st year.

Today was the first day we went to the allotment for working in 2005. The previous owners had made a kind of seed/planting out bed thing out of wood with old windows for a cover. It was full of weeds and the glass all covered in algae. I cleared out all the weeds from it today, then Dave put bunny paper (=old newspaper from the bunnies toilets! v. smelly but v.good for compost) on top. Then he wheelbarrowed several loads of leaf mould compost and a load of sand to make a nice fine mix. He was told to do that by one of the old gardeners up there he met last year. It's so nice that the council provides all these materials for free, means I don't feel as annoyed at paying all that council tax as I used to!

We'd lifted off the windows while working on the soil in the bed, so while Dave wheelbarrowed, I got to work with the Windex. Took 3/4 bottle plus a full roll of paper towels but I managed to get off about 98% of it. We haven't planted anything in it yet but are thinking of starting in the next few weeks. I'm looking online now to find some advice about what to plant first and good seed suppliers. I've found a couple of really good sites that thought I'd note down here for future reference:

Growing vegetables on a Leeds allotment This is a diary of some experienced allotment gardeners and has lots of good advice and links

HDRA what to do now This is organic gardening association site that has lots of factsheets, including a monthly guide of what to do in your vegetable garden

Organic catalogue This is linked to HDRA and where we have bought all our seeds from this year

Get Digging This is a UK supplier of unusual gardening tools, in particular the Azada which Dave had been searching for for ages (he had one in Australia but they don't sell them here)

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