Allotment update: April

Half of our plot is ready to go, we're waiting to sort the rest in the autumn

After waiting four long years to get our hands on an allotment, Matthew was VERY keen to get going when we finally got the keys to a plot last year. He spent hours toiling to clear the overgrown jungle and carve out some fresh soil to nurture our very own produce.

So when he ruptured his Achilles Tendon in March he was absolutely devastated at the thought of not being able to tend his patch of land at such a crucial time in the growing calendar.

Having spent many a happy hour at my dad’s allotment as a little girl, I was more than happy to step into the fold and volunteer my services. Was I biting off more than I could chew? Quite probably, but I’m having a go with much guidance from my parents I hasten to add.

Me against the weeds

At times I feel all at sea with it all, especially when all the retired blokes with immaculate plots are in residence sizing up me and my little rows of emerging produce.

I’m fine when it’s quiet and there’s no one watching, but I seem to get an attack of Katie the clumso when I’m being scrutinised. I got in a right mess this week trying to put some netting over the broccoli while engaging in conversation with the gentleman on the neighbouring plot who were quizzing me about the varieties of veg I’m growing.

Before I knew what was happening I was trapped in the netting, stumbling around and trampling all over my little seedlings – great! They must have been having a right laugh at me when my back was turned. I felt like such an idiot.

Anyway, I am in fact incredibly proud of what i’ve achieved so far and determined to give it a real go. This is what we’re growing:

  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Beetroot
  • Parsnips
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

And at home I’m cultivating sweetcorn and leeks!

Tomato plant in the greenhouse

If anyone out there has any advice or tips on allotment gardening I’d really appreciate your feedback. This year feels like a bit of a test run to see what works and learn lessons.

I’m ridiculously over-excited every time a seed germinates – god knows what I’ll be like when I get to cook with vegetables I’ve actually grown myself.

Let’s hope I can show all those retired allotment purists that I can actually produce something…

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About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog www.feedingboys.co.uk is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea! She lives in West London with her two young boys and yes, her firefighter husband.
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12 Responses to Allotment update: April

  1. I have an allotment. It took three years to kick into shape, and whilst I hammered the posts in for the fence, tangled myself up in wire, mucked at the wrong time of year the old boys would lean no their shovels, sucking the air in between their teeth, stroking their chins an starting heir sentences with ” dew know what iy’d do? ”

    There is such a sense of community. My children love it. Just last week a new couple took over the allotment two over from us. I looked over as I spotted my husband chatting. He was leaning on his shovel saying .. “Dew know what …. “

    • Katie Bryson says:

      Hahaha brilliant Vanessa!! Good to hear you enjoy your allotment three years in. My eldest loves it, but our toddler mainly tramples on other people’s plots so is temporarily banned from attending…

  2. Aveen says:

    We are *hopefully* getting an allotment this week! I am so excited. I’ll be watching your blog for updates of how you’re getting on because I have never really grown anything and am completely clueless! Looks like you’ve got yours into shape nicely though!

    BTW I finally managed to take some fridge photos this morning so will hopefully post them after work this evening 🙂

  3. You’re doing really well pet! It’s very bad timing with Matthew but things are growing and that’s the main thing. When other people are around take a deep breath and carry on, before you know it, you’ll be the one that new people will be looking at as a seasoned grower!

  4. Andrew Hamilton says:

    Hi Katie, try razor wire, it will protect your brocolli from birds of ALL sizes! Happy digging.

  5. Rosemary Hamilton says:

    Wow! that looks great, very different from when I saw it last November! You must have worked very hard and I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labours.It must be very frustrating for Matthew having to take a back seat but he should be recovered by the time digging comes round again!

  6. well done Katie, thats a great achievement. we were fortunate the garden we have as an allotment wasn’t to overgrown, the downside is its not an allotment where I can learn from the other people.
    we have 2 or 3 potatoes coming through and so far don’t look like we will lose too much stuff as I thought we might.
    it will all be worth it come autumn when you eat what you have grown

    • Katie Bryson says:

      Thanks Elaine. You are lucky having that kind of space at home. You’re right about the expertise available at the allotment though… The old boys are brimming with it!

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