The Allotment

Following the lock down, l have come across more articles, ideas and suggestions on what to grow in gardens and allotments than l have read over the previous year. So l have decided to add my own thoughts to the already voluminous pile.

Although I have only recently restarted working an allotment, many of the gardening skills translate across the gardening spectrum.

As many of you will know, we have come to the main time of year for planting seeds and, in some cases, young plants for a hoped-for, productive harvest later in the year. I have just put in carrot, parsnip and beetroot seeds on the poor soil section of the site. These root crops do not want any feed and thrive on neglected soil. The main problem is the carrot fly which comes along later in the year and flies low to the ground so, if possible, try to put up a low barrier or plant other more pungent plants near by, such as onions, to disguise the carrot smell. It is important to have plenty of patience when waiting for parsnip seeds to germinate, otherwise you may decide they are not going to appear even when they are still at the germination stage.

Another crop to get started are leeks. These will need to be moved on later once they have got to a suitable size for transplanting later in the season. These will need to grow-on over the winter and are a useful winter crop when there is little else available to harvest. Also another delicious crop is fresh peas which can be planted as soon as possible in drills two or three seeds wide to help support one another when they grow up.

Another quick and easy crop to grow are lettuce and radishes. You do not want to put too many seeds each time you plant them. And a small number of successive  sowings, at say two weeks apart, are far more useful for a good summer cropping.

For a number of crops it is still too early to put seeds into the ground with the threat of frosts possible until the end of May. These are the more tender crops such as sweet corn, runner and French beans. However there is no harm in putting a small number indoors for an early crop, hardening them off later and taking a chance to get an early crop from these plants.

If you have not done this before it is a good chance to try grow vegetables on a small scale, with time to experiment and watch them grow. Then the taste of truly fresh vegetables with a flavour  not matched before, will make you want to continue to taste again.

Happy and productive gardening