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A bit of publicity on the Beeb



(though having grown up in Essex, and knowing what the soil is like, I don't believe the Chairman of the Association when he says it is easy!)

i too read this article, and yes having an allotment is for many an absolute joy and a release. the interest in allotments here has become very large. people seem to wander about and say i would like an allotment like this, you know the plots that are flourishing , where all the veg is healthy and the general appearance is one that Beatrix would have illustrated in her books. Nobody seems to think about the amount of hard work or time goes into this. those of ust who have a more relaxed view on vegrowing and im one get told off . i love to let annual seeds grow around the edges of my beds , thinking of it as a haven for the bees. my old articoke plants(un havestable) are infested with black fly, apparently i should spray,but my runner beans, just emegring are so far clean, i just reply i'm wating for the ladybirds to arrive. Can you eat a foxglove? only once. i planted 10 lettuce plants and amazingly got to eat 7 of them. i shared with the slugs and snails. Borage grows amongs my potatoes , some of it is disturbed when i earth up. appaently this looks messy, but like the bees people seem to be drawn to my plot possibly because it is visually stitulating. Newbies arrive full of expectation but dont realise you need to be on the plot for more thatn 1 hour every week and so have difficult starts and in the last threee years we have had quite a few arrivals and departures who never have achieved much because the reality of tending an allotment is not easy. the other issue i have is our site secretary buys in all thier veg seedlings , four yearly deliveries af healthy seedlings plants all their beds up with it and away they go. Costs an arm and a leg.  i think is all a little bit like cheating and will stick to growing most things from seed except of course chilli plants. i wish journalists woulds really tell it like it is!


--- Quote from: Nora42 on June 17, 2021, 10:52:46 ---I shared with the slugs and snails. 

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One of the greatest joys is that (within reason) you can do it however you choose.

Now I detest sharing my crops with pests, and I try to keep my crops as weed free as possible. It's not easy growing healthy tasty stuff and I don't see why my plants should have to compete with weeds for moisture, sunlight and nutrients or struggle against slugs snails and pigeons. If I did nothing I would probably have no crops at all.  Last year I had a period of very poor health, and was unable to do much work on my plots. As a result, the pigeons stripped every cherry, every gooseberry, every strawberry, every lettuce and they destroyed my peas. I was not able to put up the usual barrier to carrot fly and most of that crop was inedible. Not that I am an advocate for using pesticides and herbicides, but I do use a lot of nets and barrier methods to protect my crops. I weed and hoe when necessary and if I spray it is always with soap mix.

My deal with nature is to have put aside a couple of areas that are undisturbed and permanently under wild flowers and meadow flowers, and as and when other crops get lifted to sow green manures that I often leave to flower. I never harm the mole that burrows through my plots, nor the mice that sometimes eat my peas seeds nor the pigeons, visiting rabbits and badgers but I stop short of rolling out the red carpet.

Make of it what you will.  It's my preferred approach, but it is certainly not for me to say to others "you should do it this way" be they people with an informal approach like yours, nor people who buy in veg seedlings on a regular basis.  Your plot, your call has a lot going for it.

Within the rules of your association, of course, Beersmith!

I learnt how to garden the old-fashioned way with bare earth and that's what I do, but I use the minimum of artificial fertilisers, pesticides etc (I do selectively nuke the hedge bindweed that came in from a nearby derelict plot, but together with hoeing and digging I am getting back on top - at the moment. Evil stuff...) I keep my edges from getting too long to stop the grass from seeding, but I keep them unkempt enough, and deep enough, that the toads and efts have cover, and I have nearly always got some black sheet down somewhere for things to hide under - plus a couple of sheets of corrugated iron for the slow worms.

I get reasonable yields, drought allowing as I simply don't have the time to water everything every day, and I think I have a reasonable balance between nature and gardener - especially as, thanks to a little Austrian with big ideas, the plots are in the middle of an SSSI and by no means represent the appropriate climax species for a SE England water meadow!

But it ain't easy - rewarding, absolutely, but easy? no!


--- Quote from: gray1720 on June 17, 2021, 15:59:39 ---But it ain't easy - rewarding, absolutely, but easy? no!

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I think we can all agree on that one.


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