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2023 on the plot

I wasn’t able to work on the plot as much as I’d hoped in 2022, so I’m determined to start off 2023 with plenty of allotmenteering!

Ignoring the long grass, the blackberry looks a lot smaller than it should be at this point – I’m guessing it wasn’t cut back properly the year before last (they fruit on last year’s growth), so I’m not sure how much fruit we’ll be likely to get. The plant itself looks nice and healthy though, so it should be fine for next year.

Moving on to the broad beans, and these are currently surrounded with fleece just as some protection against late frosts & cold Northerly winds. The plot is on a North-facing slope, so I can’t risk planting things out too soon, no matter how tempting that may be.

We have three Blackcurrant bushes on the plot. The larger of the two tend to fruit one after the other, which means we avoid a glut when it comes to harvesting them.

This is the second large Blackcurrant and as you can see, it’s a long way behind the previous one in terms of leaves. It should catch up though.

Heading up to the flower patch, and the fennel seems to have spread from where it was previously (it self-seeds, so every now and then we find fennel growing in unusual places). This patch still needs some more tidying, but this bit is mostly able to just be left alone for the flowers to grow. I did have a penstemon in there and some wildflowers, but I’m not too sure what is still there until the flowers form!

This gooseberry was a freebie from a fellow plotholder, and probably could do with some more attention than just weeding around it! But given the way it gets neglected, it produces a lot of fruit each year.

Next to the compost bins, we have Herb Jungle – named mainly because the herbs have taken over the entire patch, and decided how they want to spread out.
In this patch we have Rosemary, a couple of Lavenders, Sage, and at one point there was also Lemon Balm but I’m not sure if that’s still there or not – I need to tidy it up a little just to check that.

Down to the strawberries and raised beds now – this is the very creatively named “raised bed one”. Not all the strawberries survived the last couple of winters, but there’s still plenty in there along with some healthy-looking chives…. and some grass I still need to dig out. The soil level isn’t anywhere near the top of the raised bed – that’s a job for later in the year (or maybe another year) when I can move the plants without risking disturbing any flowers.

Raised bed two (I told you they were creatively named!) had the soil redone a year or two ago, as all the strawberries had died. As you can see, the strawberries are looking particularly good, so I’m hoping for a decent crop this year.

Raised bed three (you could’ve guessed that name, couldn’t you?) holds my fancy strawberries, including Snow White (assuming they survived the winter – they don’t seem all that hardy on my plot), Just Add Cream, and a F1 variety that I was sent instead of the Just Add Cream plants I’d actually ordered.

And this is the aptly named “half raised bed” – because it’s a metre long but only half a metre wide. This was originally planned to be the chive bed, but most of that is grass growing through the chives. The sage was planted to help fill the space, but I’m not sure it’s the best place for it – we’ll see what happens when it grows a bit more.

Down to the Jungle now, with the raspberries. I cleared as much of the grass as I could (I ran out of energy to complete it), and there’s two bags of manure put around the raspberry plants to try and give them some much-needed feed. I do need to get back to finish the grass removal though – or at least keep it cut down so the raspberry plants have a chance to grow.

The rhubarb is another free plant, left by the previous plotholders. I’ve hardly done anything to it other than picking the rhubarb, so it amazes me how well it grows each year. I just need to get on cut the flowers off!

Not the flower section, but I think these two might be Teasels – certainly they collect the water in their leaves in the same way.

And finally, a rogue Ash tree sapling that decided to grow in the middle of Rhubarb Row! This one’s been dug up (I’m not allowed to grow trees on the plot) in the hope of being moved to a more suitable location.

Back to the plot

Strictly speaking the fennel shouldn’t be in the flower section, but seems quite happy there! We don’t actually use the fennel for anything, but it is nice to brush against it to get the aroma before opening the compost bin!

No flowers yet on the nasturtiums, but they’re looking nice and health.

Next year’s fruiting growth on the blackberry is looking particularly good. Hopefully that’ll lead to plenty of fruit!

I’m still not too sure what this odd growth is on the gooseberry, or if I should cut back the affected branch or not….

The rest of the gooseberry is looking healthy though, so maybe it’s not anything to be concerned about?

Up to shaded herb corner, which is looking a lot better since I cleared a lot of the weeds and grass from the base of the plants. It’s almost impossible to clear all of it though.

Originally I had three mint plants in this area (you can just make out the rim of one of the pots I’d used to try and contain the mint roots). I guess it’s a waiting game now to see if any mint plants actually remain, having cleared the weeds & overgrown grass from this section.

An atmospheric shot of the raspberries, just for something different.

I planted the rosemary and didn’t do anything with it at all…. but it hasn’t minded, and it particularly tall now!

The top raised bed is a little more under control, although I do want to concentrate on getting more runners saved from these, so I can add to my strawberries for next year.

Looking Better

The second raised bed, now I’ve planted some replacement strawberry plants in there. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to grow some runners from these, so the raised bed should fill up nicely.

Up to the first raised bed, and as you can tell, there’s not been much worked on in here yet. This one should have various different strawberry varieties plus chives.

Wild flower corner still looks like it needs a little taming, but I can’t work on it while the bees are buzzing around.

Not too sure what this is on my gooseberry – I couldn’t find it in any reference books….

“Half raised bed” is looking good, despite the grass encroaching from the pathway to the back.

My shaded herb patch clearly needs some bindweed removing, but other than that, it doesn’t look too terrible.

I should thin out some of those stinging nettles around the compost bin as well – not much help if you can’t get close enough to add to the bin!

Bindweed is trying to take over raspberry jungle as well. The raspberries can be challenging to weed around, as these aren’t a thornless variety!

Part way through weeding the rhubarb, and its surprising how tall that grass is!

This year we’ve grown two varieties of runner bean, one with white flowers, the other with red flowers. Both seem to be growing equally well.

I do think we should’ve planted those runner beans a little further apart though – it’s not easy to get between the rows!

A Little Less Wild

Of course even the best laid plans don’t work out, and once again it’s been quite a while since I’ve been on the allotment.

The second raised bed was a total failure. I had one solitary strawberry plant surviving (from around 36 originally), so I took all the soil out, lined the base with cardboard (a good use for all those boxes from courier deliveries!) and replaced it with fresh compost, some grit sand, and home-made compost.

I do still need to replace the net though!

Looking at my ever so well-named “3rd raised bed”, ‘Just Add Cream’ is in flower. These plants don’t grow as large as my other strawberry plants, but the strawberries have a fantastic flavour. I have had a bit of a problem with some of them not liking cold winters.

Heading down to the runner beans, and we have flower!

Not the world’s best photo but the Blackberry is currently supported on some wires which aren’t attached to the posts any more, so it kind of ends up dropping over the path. I need to get on and get some new wires to keep it off the ground.

The Blackberry in front of the runner beans (the netting around the beans is just to protect them from Roe Deer)

I’ve got three blackcurrant bushes, and this is the healthiest looking of the lot (I know it needs weeding!). The other large blackcurrant doesn’t seem to have as many leaves and fruit as this one, so I’m not sure if it needs feeding, or if it’s just a different variety.

Cabbages! Ok, I admit it – these were grown to “fill a space” and be a form of green manure, But it looks like they’ve kept the slugs & snails occupied, which hopefully keeps them away from the fruit!

My creatively-named “half raised bed” (it’s only half the depth of a regular 1m square raised bed), with the rest of the chives, and a newly-planted herb.


There’s a strange space at the end of one my my planting areas, so that was just the right shape to plant some lavender. My aim is to keep this one cut back as necessary, so it doesn’t end up with woody growth.

Up into “wild flower corner” and you can make out the Penstemon through the long grass.

This seems to be a pink nettle (doesn’t appear to sting), but the bees seem to prefer this to a lot of the flowers I’ve planted!

Down to Raspberry Jungle, and it’s starting to live up to its name! These are wild-growing Autumn Raspberries, so apart from cutting them down to the ground in the winter, and making a pathway through the section each year, they’re pretty much left to their own devices each year.

The rhubarb came with the plot, and apart from splitting a plant several years ago, it’s very much just left to fend for itself!

As you can see, the bindweed is starting to take over again – this will be quite a bit of work to untangle everything, as there’s also some stinging nettles growing under the rhubarb that I don’t want to catch my arms on!

And the inevitable slug – I try to move any slugs and snails over to the rhubarb section, as they can munch on those leaves as much as they like!

Reclaiming the Wilderness

A combination of ill health and pandemic lockdowns (with signage on the allotment gates telling us to “stay home” at one point) meant that my allotment didn’t get much attention over the last year. As a result, there was a lot of wilderness to reclaim in order to get the allotment back up to the standard expected by the council, and (of course) to enable us to get growing again!

While the raised beds are generally “no dig” (with the exception of removing & replacing the soil next time), the rest of the plot gets dug over on a regular basis.

Somewhere amongst the grass, are two raised beds. The one on the left holds my fancy strawberries, and the one on the right used to have about 30 strawberry plants growing in there, but last year I think there were only one or two remaining. The plan is to remove and replace the soil from that raised bed later this year, then plant some fresh strawberry plants and hope they are more succcessful!

The blackberry looks quite happy, even though its ‘feet’ are surrounded by grass. The stems that bore the fruit last year have been cut off, and last year’s new growth will be where this year’s fruit appears. I do still need to get my “gripple hooks” attached to the supports, as the wires and vine eyes I’m using at the moment are pretty loose and impossible to tighten enough.

These are the most established of my three Blackcurrant bushes. I think they could do with some compost, manure or just a good watered feed this year though, as they haven’t had any special attention for a while.

Believe it or not, this is my flower bed. I’ve usually got a wild Teasel growing on the edge of the section, but it looks like it might not have self seeded last year.

The gooseberry was a freebie from a fellow allotment plot holder. I had no idea how to grow a gooseberry plant, so I just put it in the ground and hoped for the best! A little research later (apparently they also don’t like their “feet” surrounded by weeds or grass) and as long as we’re quick enough at picking them before the wildlife get the idea, there’s plenty of tasty gooseberries from this bush.

Behind the chair (which I admit is just a dumping ground for spare pieces of netting / twine – it’s never been sat on!), I’d planted three different types of mint. I’m not sure how many are still there, but there’s a distinctly minty smell around here. so there must be at least one!

It’s never helpful when the grass is as tall as the raspberries. These raspberries were cut to ground level in March (normally we’d cut them back to ground level in October after they’ve finished fruiting), so it’ll be interesting to see how well they fruit this year.

This is my other strawberry raised bed, obviously after we’d had a thorough attempt at weeding. I’m pleasantly surprised how healthy these strawberries are looking, especially when you consider how much grass there was trying to take over.

Nothing much at the moment, but I’m hoping this will be my sprout patch this year.

And just a few Rosemary flowers to finish – I hadn’t realised Rosemary had such pretty looking flowers.

How can it be February 2021 already?

I have no idea how it can be the second month of 2021 already – the last year and a bit seems to just have flown by!

Anyhow, last year was a little strange to say the least, so I will admit I wasn’t able to get any allotmenteering done at all. We kept up the growing of runner beans in the summer along with the fruit and herbs that are permanent allotment residents, but that was about it.

So 2021 is going to be a year of “resetting” – gradually getting things under control, taming the things that should be cut back, feeding the things that are looking a little sad and generally getting the plot back up to speed so that 2022 can be a productive growing year!


The fruit will all be in need of attention, from cutting back the strawberries (that can only really happen after fruiting, so that’s a job for this autumn), cutting the raspberries down to ground level (possibly that can still happen up to April, although it depends on what growth there is on each cane), and tying in the blackberry bush (I’ve got a new “Gripple” kit to try out for that, in the hope it will be more successful than vine eyes that didn’t screw completely into the wooden supports!).

The rhubarb however seems to need very little extra attention, and just happily thrives on semi-neglect!


The herbs tend to be left alone most of the time, but the fennel probably needs last year’s growth cut down to ground level. I should think the mint has taken over the flower section of the plot by now, seeing as that had already escaped from its pot a few years ago!


I will admit my flower patch tends to not get too much attention other than cutting back the dead stalks after flowering. The flowers work well to attract pollinating insects, and also help to conceal the compost bin!

The main thing that remains to be seen though, is how much of this can actually be achieved this year, and what the plot will look like in 11 months’ time…

Not quite on the allotment

Looking back at my last post (November last year), it seems ridiculous what I’d planned for this year:

Maybe next year I will actually be able to get on and work on those things I had planned for this year!

Of course I wasn’t to know that this year would start with health problems meaning I haven’t set foot outside the house since early December. Of course then in late March we had lockdown because of “the virus” as well – we were still allowed to go to the allotment, but even if I was going out, I really wasn’t keen to be around people!

So as last year, all the work on the allotment so far this year has been done by my “allotment helper”. He’s a novice when it comes to the raised beds (that’s usually my domain), but this week we had our first ripe strawberry, so things can’t be too terrible!

A not so filled year of gardening

I set out with great intentions for the allotment this year:

  • work on the allotment once each week
  • get the second raised bed sorted (dug out, soil replaced, replanted)
  • try growing different things this year

…and I actually managed none of that. Various things kept cropping up which has meant I’ve not been able to get the allotment more than a handful of times all year. We did manage to grow runner beans, potatoes and the usual fruit & herbs, but the bulk of the work was done by my ‘garden helper’.

Maybe next year I will actually be able to get on and work on those things I had planned for this year!

Snowy start to February

My original plan was to get to the allotment over the weekend. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas, with snow falling from 19:30 on Thursday, through to about eleven Friday morning.

Still, if I couldn’t get to the allotment, at least I could take some photos of the snow in the garden – from indoors of course! Welcome to my Six Snowy Scenes on Saturday!

First up, the snow looks like it’s climbing up the leg of the chair (please excuse the bar across the centre of that photo as that’s a reflection of something indoors):

As usual, the Berberis looks great with a covering of snow. It still seems strange to see flowers on something that has a snowy ‘hat’ though:

The rabbit ornament looks surprisingly happy with his snowy blanket:

I don’t think any birds will want to use the bird bath though – or if they did, there’s a lot of snow to get through first!

With the way the snow was blowing, it stuck to the fence, making a very strange sight:

And finally, I wanted to try and get a photo (or ten) of the snow that was stuck in the spider’s web on the window. Once it stopped waving about in the wind, I finally got the photo I was after:

They’re forecasting warmer weather for Sunday night and all the coming week, so hopefully that means I’ll be able to check up on the allotment (and redo the fleece over the cabbages, as no doubt that will be in pieces after the wind & snow).

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday  and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!