Gardeners’ Notes

Plotholder tips, views and interviews

  • 2021 – A bad year for blight
    The extended periods of rain and cool weather we had in June and part of July have helped blight spread quickly throughout the allotments this year, badly affecting both potatoes and tomatoes.
  • No two years the same – managing the unpredictable
    As gardeners, we often think we can avoid the mistakes and replicate the successes we had in the previous year, but is it just me or does nature seems to rarely play ball by such logical reasoning?  Every year seems to bring new challenges, new sights, new joys and also a few new disappointments.
  • The secret to a good compost heap
    There are lots of ways of making a compost heap. Some gardeners have a sort of wire netting barrel, others have wooden ‘boxes’ and there are of course the Dalek type plastic bins with a little door at the bottom. You can, of course, just make a heap in the corner of the allotment and leave nature to deal with it eventually. They all seem to work. A lot depends on on how much room you have, what materials you have lying around and how quick you need it to rot down.
  • Plotholder focus: Hattie and Jenny
    Mother and daughter, Jenny and Hattie both have plots on Craven Vale – Jenny for 11 years and Hattie for six. They also collaborate on a third plot, which they were able to take on four years ago. All three plots have needed intensive work, including clearing brambles, removing glass, getting rid of rubbish, building raised beds and preparing the ground.
  • Wind turbines, goat herds and other bird scaring experiments
    Short of netting much of my allotment plot – which would be prohibitively expensive – I’ve recently been experimenting with different ways of deterring birds (mainly pigeons, I suspect) from nibbling, and occasionally completely destroying some of my crops.
  • Plotholder focus: Mary
    Mary, or ‘Mary Muck’ as she’s affectionately known, has had a plot on Craven Vale since March 2019, after a long, five years on the waiting list. Living in a flat without a garden, she couldn’t wait to get her own outdoor space and get stuck in to growing organic, fresh and flavoursome food, as well as cutting down on wasteful ‘food miles’.
  • Before you reach for the hosepipe..think about water conservation on your plot
    Now that the sites’ taps have been turned back on, it’s tempting to connect up the hosepipe and spray every inch of our plots. Yet, there are things we can all do as plot holders to reduce our water usage and to use water more wisely.
  • Plotholder focus: Arthur
    Arthur took on his first Whitehawk Hill allotment seven years ago and was chuffed to get a shed as his Christmas present that year! Four years on, he was fortunate enough to be able to expand on to the neighbouring plot after it became vacant, so he now has two small, but very productive plots.
  • Plotholder focus: Andrew & Max
    Andrew and Max have been gardening their Craven Vale plot for the last nine years, growing a range of fruit and vegetables, together with a fair number of ornamentals and flowers too.
  • Establishing a vineyard – Tips for successful grape growing
    If you’ve ever thought of ‘growing your own wine’, then now is a good time to start thinking about ordering your vines and laying out the structure of your new vineyard.
  • Ten years on from planting an edible hedgerow
    When I first took on my plot 11 years ago, I was worried about how exposed the site was, so my first priority was a to plant a windbreak around my boundaries to protect my growing crops. Rather than just planting the usual mix of native hedgerow plants, I thought – why not get something edible out of it too?
  • Tomato Tales
    Two interesting recently developed tomato varieties. An impulse buy this spring of tomato seeds, called Oh Happy Day F1, has led to a large crop. I think the packet cost three pounds for eight seeds. The packet said the tomatoes were blight resistant, and as I write this in late August, they have lived up to the claim, despite my potatoes having succumbed to blight weeks ago.

Please note: Posts are written by different plotholders from Craven Vale and Whitehawk Hill Allotments and reflect individual points of view. They should not be considered as necessarily representing the views of Craven Vale and Whitehawk Hill Allotments Society (CVWHAS).

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