My Back Garden And My Allotment Too

I have finally taken some time this week to do some weeding in our back garden.  Unfortunately, I don’t spend as much time as I should in our back garden as i’m always at my allotment.  So the garden really has to look after itself.

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We are very lucky as our house isn’t overlooked and there is a lovely view from my daughters bedroom window:

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You can see from the photo above that the lilac tree is in full flower.  I love lilac trees, they remind me of the first house I owned, as it had one in the back garden too.

If you look closely at the photo below, you can see my ‘clematis montana’ climbing through the photinia ‘red robin’.  I planted the clematis about five years ago and I had forgotten all about it until I spotted it this week.

What a lovely surprise:

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This week at my allotment I have been earthing up my potatoes.  I have twelve rows to do altogether and as I find it such hard work I earth up one row a day:

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I planted some spring onions that I have grown in modules.  I always had a problem getting spring onion seed to germinate in my heavy clay soil, so now I grow them in modules filled with compost.  I put a small pinch of seed into each module and I don’t bother to thin the seedlings out, as the spring onions grow in a bunch.

When the spring onions are large enough, I transplant them:

Spring onions transplanted next to my garlic

Spring onions transplanted next to my garlic

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This week I have planted my runner beans.  I sowed the seed at the beginning of May and I have been hardening the plants off.  As it is still quite cold for this time of year, I have put old panes of glass around them to give a bit of protection.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will remember I dug trenches in the autumn and filled them with all my old peelings, etc until they were full and then I covered them over with soil again.  My runnerbeans were planted exactly where the trenches were, so this soil will now hold the moisture and runner beans like to grow in moist soil.

The runnerbeans I planted this week

The runner beans I planted this week

A runnerbean trench

My runner beans trench in autumn

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As my comfrey was coming into flower, I cut it all down and added it to my compost bins.

Comfrey is a fantastic compost activator and anything that speeds up compost making, is good to me.  What is even better is, it is free!  You can read about growing comfrey and making ‘comfrey tea’ here.  (Comfrey tea is a fabulous organic feed that is high in potash, which means it is good for fruits and flowers e.g. tomatoes)

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I also chopped some of my chives down this week.  My daughter used to love chives so I dedicated a whole bed to them….yes you have guessed it…she doesn’t like them now, a typical teenager!

I haven’t dug them up as we still use loads of them and the flowers are so pretty and the bees love them.

I have three rows altogether and I find if I chop them down after they have flowered, then they start to re-grow again.

As my three rows were about to flower, I decided to chop two rows down and leave the middle row for the bees.  I will chop this after the flowers have gone over, so I can stagger the crop.

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Just before I did this, I managed to take a photo of the female blackbird that has been following me around for the last couple of months at my allotment.  She must have a nest nearby.  She comes so close to me sometimes that she makes me jump.  She doesn’t seem scared of me at all, which is unusual for a blackbird.

My blackbird friend

My blackbird friend

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I repotted my mint a few weeks ago and I finally planted the pot back into the ground.  I find it is better to keep mint in a pot as it helps to stop the plant from taking over, as it does spread rather a lot.

I have two mints, a normal mint and an apple mint.  I also planted an oregano plant that my local garden centre was giving away free a few weeks ago:

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I have given my strawberry patch a good weed this week.  These strawberries are three years old now, so I I have planted some new ones in a different place.  Strawberries usually only last three to four years, as their yields become less after this time due to a build up of pests and diseases.

My daughter loves strawberry jam, so I grow loads.

They are flowering well now.  I will shortly buy a bale of straw and put it all around the fruit.  The straw acts as a mulch, so the fruit isn’t sitting on cold wet soil and it also helps to keep the weeds down.  I will then net the plants so the birds don’t eat all the lovely fruit.

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One of the last jobs I have done this week, is to refill a plum moth trap on my big old plum tree.  The picture below shows the sticky paper that trapped all the plum moths last year.  As you can see there is obviously a problem on this tree:

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To finish off I thought I would show you a few pictures of my woodland area.  This area was part of my fourth plot that I took over in January 2012 and it was covered in overgrown couch grass.  I covered the area in weed suppressant straight away to kill the couch grass and by autumn it had worked well.  From then on, I planted loads of bulbs and transplanted different flowers that I had.  Afterwards, I covered the whole area in leaves to suppress any weed seeds from growing.

This is how it looks today:

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The bulbs have nearly all finished flowering now, but there are still a few around.  I have noticed it’s now the turn of the aquilegia’s, together with my wallflowers and the English bluebells (that I bought in the autumn with my birthday money).  I’m very pleased with my woodland area so far, but it still has a long way to go:

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Thank you for reading blog today.

I will be back on Monday.

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19 thoughts on “My Back Garden And My Allotment Too

  1. I may have to try the module method for growing spring onions.
    WE have now made time for our garden as we too used to spend all our time at the plot and neglect our garden so now we spread ourselves more evenly.

  2. I absolutely love pictures of your allotment, they really inspire me. I have a veggie patch in my garden and would love it to be a productive as your allotment, I am learning as I go.

    • Hi Lorna, thanks for joining us over here. I’m glad my photo’s inspire you. I love looking at garden/allotment photo’s too, as I find I get so many ideas or tips from them. Good luck with your veggies.

  3. Your garden looks lovely, i have just caught up with all my weeding of the gardens, this cold weather is certainly putting us behind. Do you leave your oregano out all year, i have two and kept them in the greenhouse over the winter and was able to keep picking.
    Sue

  4. Nice to see your garden as well as the allotment. I’m not surprised the garden has to look after itself when you have four allotments to tend to.

  5. Lovely pictures and very interesting as always. We have 10 drills of potatoes and the earlies have just started coming up. I might use your one drill a day method since I find the going pretty tough too.

      • True. I was listening to James Wong on GQT awhile ago and he was saying that there was another similar vegetable we should grow instead which doesn’t suffer from blight. If only I could remember its name…

      • I’ve got a feeling it was sweet potatoes. My old allotment neighbour tried these but they didn’t work very well as we just didn’t have a long or warm enough summer, which was a shame as they are expensive to buy.

  6. Hello I have just taken over an overgrown allotment plot so was very pleased to find your blog and read your experience as well. I have just bought some weed supressing material so know that I am on the right track now having seen yours. Thank you!

    • Hi Linda and thank you for reading my blog. Have you seen this post: https://notjustgreenfingers.wordpress.com/category/gardening-taming-an-overgrown-allotment/
      Weed suppressant is brill for killing weeds (except bindweed as it travels under it until it finds light). If you leave it down long enough it will kill even that hardiest of weeds e.g dandilions, docks, nettles etc and then they can be dug into the soil to add nutrients ready for the following year. I grew pumpkins and butternuts in ‘slits’ in the weed suppressant as well during the summer, so you can still use the area.

      Pls let me know how you are getting on with your allotment an if you need to ask anything I would be pleased to help

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