Looking back on 2017…
2017 was a really successful year for me on the plot, noting of huge importance to the gardening world happened, but for the first time in a long time i felt i used the site to its potential. We had a bumble bee nest, hopefully thanks to all the wild flowers, the plot looked lovely and colourful for most of the year with everything from poppies to sunflowers and a wealth of cosmos illuminating the beds.
I had good success with veg too, Greens and beans did very well as did cucumber, tomatoes and chilli. my butternut squash were huge and had a good number of pumkins as well as the always reliable courgette, radish, salad leaves and beet root.
i faired ok with root crops, grew some really good sized parsnips and beetroot but although my carrots tasted good there wasn’t more than a few meals. Potatoes were poor, but they always seem to be poor on my site as the sheer number of small slugs just love to make them their edible home. So in 2018 I will be moving all my potato growing into pots with fresh sterilised compost from the garden centre plus i think i will use a nematode on the soil late spring to help reduce slug numbers. the site is on a natural wet spot and so its perfect slug habitat.
One crop that was wonderful was my onions I didn’t use the winter (Japanese) variety this year as i find they tend to bolt to often and always lose half or more. but using centurion set planted in spring i had a great crop of cricket ball sized tasty onion. so this year I will be planting more sets and also growing a few more english onions as seeds.
Plans for 2018…
As well as trying to achieve similar if not better results as last year, well to be honest i want a lot better results. now my site is “set up” in a way in which I like it id like to be more self sufficient if possible. i don’t intend to be full self sufficient as to be honest it its practical on the size of land i have and with my condition. some things are just to easy and to cheap to buy from others.
Example, I live in Shropshire its a big potato growing county, farms around me supply all the major crisp and chip firms in the UK. so all the grade A spuds get sent to Walkers and all the others too big and too small are bagged up and sold by farmers, farm shops etc
I can buy a 25kg (55lb) bag of potatoes for £5. ($7) and there is nothing wrong with them other than they don’t fit the processing machines for the big factories.
So why bother with main crop id have to put aside a quater of my plot all my time and effort and buy the seed potatoes for less than £5 ($7)?
I grow a few new and mid season potatoes as these taste fantastic and are a real treat fresh from the earth but for now i’ll leave main crop to my local farmers.
As for YouTube…
Well, obviously you have probably seen I YouTube more than I blog. (see previous posts)
The plan is to continue with this and progress over the coming season, but maybe expand on what is just my weekly ramblings to be a bit more informative.
I have said all along that there are better gardeners, youtubers and “how to” experts than me, but what I have noticed is there isn’t many, or even any that show how to garden with a disability. Maybe i have a bot of a niche? I’m sure we will see!
I also plan on looking into the cost of running and keeping an allotment on a budget.
I’m a huge recycle/freecycle and upcycle nerd, we (humans in the west) waste far to much through lazyness (me included, i’m not being preachy, we can all do more) and i was thinking about just how much I have spent. over the last few years.
My Shed was £40 ($55) Greenhouse was free £0 (from ebay) search under “free to collect” many people buy houses with them already in the garden and just want to get rid, it cost £80 for a skip so its better for them to give it away. granted it takes a few hours, its a two person job, and you will break the odd bit of glass but its free.
I have some good tools but they come home with me so not to be pinched if we get a break in on site, so i wanted a spare set to keep on site, i got a rake, spade, digging fork, hay fork and a mattock from ebay for £25 ($33) total the mattock alone is £30 new, so there are bargin’s to be had. then i picked up some smaller items trowel, fork and hoe for £5 ($7) from facebook.
Everything else was free. Compost bins x 4 freecycle. 2 huge raised beds in decking free from freecycle. scrap wood to make more raised beds also from freecycle and ive even an old chicken house i’ve turned into a cold frame plus hundereds of plant pots all from facebook, freecycle and ebay for free.
Now I know this isn’t everything you need for an allotment but the rest are what id consider “disposables” and all hobbies will have these things, the trick is to keep the cost low and try alternatives until you fine one that works. £1 for 100 plastic plant lables or make your own from sticks just shave a flat space and a pointy end with a knife and bobs your uncle.
Compost, to start with you may need a few bags from the garden centre, but if you mix this with well rotted manure, which you will find most horse owners are only too happy for you to take, a little goes a long way and you can suddenly turn a 50lt bag into 100lts
Bird netting is expensive, but go to a building site and they will give you offcuts of scaffold netting for free and in my opinion, although its green its better, its a finer weave and you wont find a butterfly that can get through it!
So I wont give to much away now, other wise you wont watch the videos, but hopefull over the next year i’m hoping the channel will develop into a nice little recourse for people to drop in and out of on their own journey in gardening.
Until next time, Speak soon.