Experimenting with new diets – turning Japanese

Recently I have been diagnosed with IBS after having a particularly bad few weeks. I have been told in the past that I might have it, and I worked out for myself that I was probably lactose intolerant, but after this particularly bad flare up I decided we really needed to do something about what we eat. Our meals aren’t ‘bad’, but not great either, and the snacks on top don’t help. Continue reading


Jobs for December on the Allotment

The cold, dark nights are ace for a glass or two of something warming and a few seed catalogues, but surely we need a little more excitement than that, don’t we?

So, what can we actually do on the plot in this weather?  When it’s not waterlogged, here’s what I’m working through.

Continue reading

Paper pots, toilet rolls and parsnip germination

To start with, I used 3″ round plastic pots.

That’s what you do when you get an allotment or start gardening, isn’t it? After all, you can buy them in B&Q, Poundland, Homebase — anywhere!

Well, I’ve been trying out a better way… Continue reading

Our top-secret plant food trials… Sssshh!

This year, tipped off on Twitter, I carried out a bit of an experiment with a new plant food; one that is completely free and in plentiful supply.  No, not my much-loved comfrey tea — something far easier to acquire that that. Continue reading

Too Many Tomatoes

Our tomato plants are looking a little sad. Thanks to the self watering pots, they produced loads of fruit, but they’re just not ripening. We’ve left them as long as we could, but they need a little helping hand. Continue reading

I have spuds that just won’t quit

Really! They just don’t know when to stop.

After pulling my potatoes for an early harvest (we have a busy September coming up) I chucked the haulms, along with my peas, into a heap on some cleared ground. I would deal with it later, honest.

Well, now is later, and moving the rubbish heap to the compost bins I found that several of the almost-intact potato plants were happily forming new, tiny spudlets.

I’ve never know that to happen – they were in the sun, drying out, and they’re producing a little harvest of new potatoes.

Now that’s productive!

Dry as a bone but new potatoes forming

Thanks, Morrison’s

One of the most (over-) used things on my plot in the last year has been a freebie: banana boxes from Morrisons.

They’re just the right width to lay down as weed-suppressing allotment paths, and make a good, cheap ground cover for the hard to weed spaces.

One of those problem areas, of course, is anywhere that you net to protect against pests. Removing and re-fixing the net can be tiresome and can tear the net over time.

The spring cabbages, inspected one-by-one for caterpillars and eggs as they went in, are now happily planted through a layer of banana boxes and netted with scaffold net.

Here’s to a good harvest after the winter.

Debris netting and banana boxes. A good labour saving combination.

Start ’em young – Family gardening fun

There’s no real direction to this post, just a few photos of our lovely daughter Amelia enjoying her favourite thing in the world – getting outside and getting muddy! Continue reading

What if an onion had a potato’s babies?

You would get “Potato Onions,” which is what I grew for the first time this year. Apparently they’re also called “Multiplier Onions,” but that name doesn’t evoke any of the wonderful Frankensteinian images of a half-spud-half-onion hybrid.

For what it’s worth they were pretty decent, though they may not overtake my beloved shallots in the ‘What to Grow’ league table.

They take up the same amount of space as the shallots, and work in the same way – that is, for every set you plant, you get several small onions when you harvest. Continue reading

…and they’re off! The first harvest of 2013

After a few weeks of on-and-off rain made getting anything done on the allotment difficult I finally got over there this weekend.  The biggest job was, of course, weeding.  The little blighters pop up with alarming speed and I’m sure they make every gardener wonder the same thing:  “Why can’t the crops grow that well?

The ground was damp which didn’t help but I absolutely had to kick these weeds into touch – using my long-reach Draper, a cheap onion hoe and bare hands (whenever I switched to hand-pulling I seemed to happen across a patch of young nettles). Continue reading