Articles

Plan

The plan changes as the allotment evolves.  Below is the current one as at September 2021 but it is by no means the final plan.  As the months pass it will change and next year I will need to rotate the crops so as not to grow plants in the same place.

Compost

Good compost is essential

Compost Bins

These are my bins.  The far right bin was made from an old leaky water butt.  I simply cut a large hole in the bottom to allow for liquid drainage (it wasn't that leaky) and then a square in the front so that I can get a spade in.

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My Open Compost Heap

This was made from an old rotary washing line, chicken wire and a disused aggregate delivery bag

Covers

Using an old palette to keep the compost from blowing away.  It gets very windy up on the allotment.

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Netting

Shed

Provides shelter from the rain

(if nothing else)

Greenhouse

The greenhouse was purchased in autumn 2020 as an overflow for my existing garden greenhouse.  Initially, I was going to site it on the allotment but I changed my mind after the Christmas storm, which did a lot of damage up there. It has to be said that most of that damage was to the aluminium greenhouses, leaving the plastic ones intact.  That was probably because people had secured the plastic ones better due to their fly-away nature.  

 

Instead, I decided to erect it in the garden where I could keep an eye on it.  It was very easy to construct and I completed the build in under two hours.  It is secured in place using heavy duty metal pegs and two spikes that are hammered into the ground.  They are tied to the Frame using plastic cable ties. To finish it off, I used decorative bark on the inside.  The shelving came with the greenhouse.

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Vegetable/Salad Box

I made the Vegetable/Salad Box using wood from an old bunkbed.  The wood isn't tanalised and won't stand up to the British weather for long but it should last a few years before rotting.

I cut the lengths of wood using a circular saw and then screwed the side panels together.  I used an old bedhead for corner support struts and cut them slightly longer so that they could be legs as well.  This will keep the bottom of the box off the ground.  I needed to protect the bottom of the leg supports to stop standing water from soaking into the wood so I used some aluminium flashing.

A runner was screwed to the bottom of both the longer side panels so the slats, that formed the base of the box, had something to sit on.  The whole box was then painted with Cuprinol Garden Shades paint.  

 

I used weed suppressant membrane as an inner lining in order to stop the compost from falling out of the box.  The weed suppressant membrane needs to be attached the to the box and for this, I used panel pins.  However,  staples would have been a better option.

Finally, I added some garden compost from my bins in order to cover the bottom of the finished box and then filled the rest of it with a150 litres of commercial compost.  I was then ready to sow my seeds.

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I've tried three types:

The first, a close net in white which I used to protect my cabbages against the cabbage white butterfly.  I had a reasonable success with this and grew some lovely cabbages - better than the person who actually donated the plants to me.  This was by his own admission by-the-way.

 

The second was an expensive green netting with its own carbon fibre supporting rods.  This was used to protect against both birds and butterflies.  Very good and very secure but very expensive.

The third, was a cheaper more courser black netting with wire supports.  It stops the birds and butterflies.

All three were purchased during the first of the 2020 lockdowns.  I needed them quick because the plants were being devoured.  I had to get them from a large American online market place company, I would rather have supported a UK Garden Centre but, at the time, they were deemed non-essential and were closed.  Needs must I'm afraid.

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A shed is a must but it's not a good idea to leave anything valuable in it.  I ordered mine from Argos in July 2020 and it arrived from the supplier

3 months later.  Luckily for me the allotment is not far away because we had to carry it a section at a time from my garden to the allotment via my neighbour's garden.  They have a private entrance to the allotment and it saved me going up the road with it. However, before I could put it all together, I had to put a base down for it.  That very same neighbour had a lot of old flag stones to get get rid of so I used about 12 of them for the base.

 

In order to stop the shed from blowing away in a storm I bought a metal fence post spike and fence post.  I drove the spike into the ground just behind the shed and then inserted the post into the spike.  I duly screwed post and shed together.  However, when the storm that arrived on Boxing Day 2020 was announced, I tied the shed to another spike using washing line - just for added security.  All night as the wind howled I had visions of it blowing away or ending up smashed to pieces.  However, when I checked next morning, it was still in situ.