Top allotment tips

I’ve been thinking about allotment tips, as you do at this time of year, and in part because I’ve been working through the copy edits of the book and realising how many things I do because I’ve found, over years of allotment life, that they work better for me than what everybody else does. Which might make me seem a bit cross-grained I suppose, but I prefer to think of it as being experimental about what we do and why we do it. Outward leaning bean poles, for example. They don’t produce a better crop than wigwams, but they do cut the picking time by anything up to 90% - is that important? Not really, but having conducted the experiment, I rather relish the extra time I have to weed and water after I’ve filled my trug while my allotment neighbours are still harvesting their runner bean gluts.

So in the spirit of Christmas giving, my top tip to you for a cheap but effective allotment investment is … tights!

Oh yes. Ladies hosiery is the allotment-holder’s friend and here are just 5 reasons why

1. You can cut up laddered tights and use them to tie up beans and peas. Not only are old tights cheaper than anything else (being essentially recycled rubbish) but if you do drop any scraps, instead of ripping your hands to bits later in the year, or fouling your strimmer or mower, they tend to get picked up by birds and woven into nests so the next generation of insect predator will benefit. Also, because they are stretchy, they don’t damage plants that are swaying in strong winds or outgrow their ties without you noticing.

2. Store small plastic pots in an old pair of tights with the toes cut off. This makes them easy to stack and avoids the bother of knocking them over as you take other equipment out of the shed.

3. Use the gusset part of old tights to cover water butts and other water storage devices. Keeps insects and leaves out, lets air circulate so it doesn’t smell rank so quickly.

4. Old clean tight legs can be used to strain small amounts of fruit for making wines or jellies.

5. Thick tights, cut off around mid calf, make excellent ‘thermal underwear’ and are invisible under allotment trousers, so even chaps can benefit from an extra layer!

Any more ideas?

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, December 24, 2010


Anonymous Anonymous said...


December 24, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

Applaud the spirit - but nylon sets my teeth on edge. Can't even read about it without mental snagging! Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2010 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Z said...

I store onions in tights. And put the pips in a tights leg for making marmalade, and put quince or blackberries in for making quince or bramble jelly - not in small quantities, they stretch, so you can get pounds in, if you put a hook in the ceiling to hang it from.

December 26, 2010 at 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use old tights to store onions...tie a knot between each one, then cut off as needed. Allows air to circulate, and easy to hang up too.

December 27, 2010 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Mal, I'm sorry to hear that.
Z, that's a good one, thank you!
Anonymous, good idea - hadn't thought of the knot tying bit - very practical!

December 29, 2010 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

My Granddad taught me to store onions in old tights.

Where can I see a pic or read more about outward leaning bean canes?


February 16, 2011 at 1:14 PM  

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