This is my first allotment update of the year. Please don’t judge it by its looks as it’s early days. My overwintering food – perennial kales, leeks and perennial leeks – are providing me with lots of food and though I want to preserve the perennial kales (in place) the leeks I want to lift so I can grow new things in the space, most probably peas or broad beans. Some of the leeks I am going to leave where they are even though they will go to seed in, probably, May. I want to save seed and also collect the “king pods” which form at the base of bolting leeks. Read More
I had a thoroughly good time today. It felt like spring *touch wood* but to be realistic I need to hold back my enthusiasm until the real spring which is normally the last week of March. Or am I being pessimistic?. I heard that the Bristol Permaculture Group was meeting to do a spot of allotment work on the Royate Hill allotment site. It was about time I introduced myself because I have been mouthing off about permaculture for some time. It was nice to meet other permaculturists. Read More
I just thought I would share with you some of the things I have learnt recently about some of the plants I grow. Because I grow in a perennial fashion (either the plants are perennial or I extend their lifespan in ways such as taking cuttings or preventing them from flowering) I get to see the plants full behaviour over a longer period. Many conventional vegetable gardeners grow annuals from seed and then eat them, freeing the land up often very quickly for a new crop. This succession of plants is intensive and grows a lot of food, but my style of vegetable gardening is less intensive, less hard work, slower and more forgiving to the environment. The slowness allows me to see such things as the full lifespan of such things as the biennial leek. Read More
I have realised that I am quite conventional in my outlook even though my artistic side longs for shrub height forest gardening. I have realised that I am just basically an organic gardener. I grew rows of shallots and elephant garlic and though I was propagating in a perennial manner I revelled in my yield in exactly the same manner as any other allotmenteer.
After a failed start sowing skirret from seed in the spring some have come up anyway in the summer and are now established plants. Skirret is an old fashioned perennial root crop which used to be everywhere but is now dying out. I have six plants in total and I am into looking at their pretty little white flowers. Read More
I have to be adaptable, slugs ensure this by setting my plants back, so I roll with the punches and change plans for the garden quickly and decisively. The good weather is making any old pot plant leap into action the moment I plant it. It’s not just the slugs and snails either, it is the caterpillars that are really doing my head in, and they are now well and truly in season. I have three types of non-flowering perennial kale (Daubenton, Taunton Dean and Ewiger Kohl), four types of flowering perennial brassica (Kailaan, Wild Cabbage, Nine Star Perennial Broccoli and “9 ans Portugese Couve”) and 2 types of traditional biennial brassica (a nice hispi type cabbage and a bog standard purple sprouting broccoli) which I am attempting to reproduce vegetatively. All of these brassicas are getting slaughtered by the cabbage butterflies, but I won’t have a net in the back garden (I use nets on the allotment) for aesthetic reasons. If the damage gets worse I may change my mind. Read More