Allotment Learning Curve – what we won’t do next year

Every year I try to find a few hours to explore our mistakes. While high summer seems like the most insane time to do this, it’s worth the effort as it usually allows for an instant appraisal of what’s worked, what hasn’t and where we’ve wasted our time.

On plot 103, as on the former plot we were managing: 201, bindweed has been a monster problem – it comes up everywhere! I’m going to try and persuade OH to try the blowtorch approach this year, as nothing else seems to work and if you try to pull it out in hot weather it only snaps and produces twice as many new twining shoots.

What we’ll grow less of next year:

• Maincrop peas – I have a freezer full of early peas and the maincrops just aren’t as tasty – next year we just won’t bother with them
• Broad beans – plot 103 seems to produce a great broad bean harvest and I reckon we could have got away with three rows this year, instead of five. So next year we’ll split the difference and grow four …
• Lettuce – we just don’t eat that much of it. More rocket and oriental leaves, less green salad for us next year!

What we’ll grow more of:

• Potatoes – more varieties, less quantity. I would like to grow a salad potato, a jacket potato and a good floury potato next year, plus a really fast first early. As our allotment shop will let you buy very small quantities of stocked varieties, we’re going to experiment and find out what grows well in containers. We probably won’t bother with potatoes in the ground for another two years, as we have found that many neglected plots harbour wireworms and eelworms that destroy potato harvests and we’ll take time to turn the soil and dispose of such monsters before investing in a large-scale potato crop.
• Raspberries – bit of a no brainer this one, as we’ve already put in four canes of autumn cropping golden raspberries but we do really love this fruit and never get enough of it.
• Flowers – I already have Echinacea and woad to go into the wildlife garden next year, and I would like to have a much greater variety of wildflowers, pollinators and herbs growing in this still un-cleared part of the plot, along with medicinal and cosmetic plants.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Anonymous Damo said...

Agree on lettuce there are times when we're overrun with them. Having a tasty very early spud would be great too.

July 13, 2011 at 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Mark Hubbard said...

Your bindweed sounds like what we call twitch.

I suspect you don't use sprays?

July 13, 2011 at 1:44 PM  
Anonymous EdibleLandscapeDesign said...

Do you have a photo of your bindweed? There are several plants called bindweed and some are edible. I figure if you can't beat 'em, eating 'em is a good alternative.

July 13, 2011 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Paul and Melanie said...

I think thats one of the best things about this allotment lark, learning each year from the last and then finding out even more things you'd like to change the year after. It's a never ending learning curve and we all love it.... :)

July 15, 2011 at 3:48 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Damo - Christmas spuds (harvested on Christmas Eve) are one of the greatest delights of allotment life!

July 18, 2011 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Mark - we don't use sprays if we can avoid them, but we do use a blowtorch - bindweed hates it and it's organically acceptable

July 18, 2011 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

ELD - I don't have photos but we have the both kinds: the one with big white trumpet flowers and the one with tiny pink and white flowers. Edible? Hmm ....

July 18, 2011 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Paul and Melanie - totally agree: although we never learn some lessons, like the one of overplanting glut crops!

July 18, 2011 at 12:17 AM  

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