Bristol Seed Swap and Getting Started on the Allotment


Bristol Seed Swap and Getting Started on the Allotment

Went to the Bristol Seed Swap at Feed Bristol which is a 3 or 4 acre plot on the edge of Bristol. They have a couple of polytunnels and some teaching facilities. One polytunnel I went into was very hot, much hotter than my greenhouse, and everything inside was growing nicely. Amongst the standard British annual veg there were a few more interesting (though not necessarily tastier) food crops including a mallow.

I had a discussion about perennial kales, they had ‘daubentons’ and ‘taunton deane’, so I will be bringing some cuttings from my little collection down there. I was impressed with the organisation of the place. At first glance it looks like a festival site, but at closer inspection there was a lot of quite sophisticated propagation and a huge level of diversity in the plants.

I profoundly disagree with the biochar presentation, biochar probably reduces your yield. Better, I think, to chip and compost your hedges or regularly trim the green stalks from the hedges and compost them without chipping. I think that biochar has been conflated with terra preta in a way that is quite frankly unproven.

Been down the allotment today for the first time in ages. The back garden has been taking up all my attention and I just haven’t fancied going down to face the mare’s tail, the couch grass, the bind weed and the winter stream that runs down the hill through my plot when it rains very heavily. The couch grass and bind weed are not really bad, on a scale of 1-10 they are a 2, but each spadeful (practically) leaves me pulling out mares tail roots.  On a scale of 1-10 they used to be 10 but they are now down to an 8. Either I am winning or I am deluding myself.

All of which is not so bad because the soil is just so nice. It is a loam on top of clay, what more could you want?

The horse manure man has been again and I just can’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I promise I will wean myself of it, but it is just such good stuff and free!

A few pot leeks are left and one in particular is nice and fat which I will allow to go to seed (well to bulbils anyway). I planted nine potato onions, a perennial shallot like onion that looks suspiciously like the shallot ‘golden gourmet’. Only time will tell.


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