All in a line now!

I was interested to read the Patient Gardener’s post on Allotment Style recently and thought I’d show you my shared plot I tend in the next village. When we grow our veg there are a few approaches we all fit into, be it the regimented straight rows, raised beds or a more cottage garden style. Well the shared plot is definitely old school, long rows, sowed and planted using a straight-line string. Plenty of cabbages, brussel sprouts etc……you get the picture! The plot is actually the garden of an 84 year-old friend of mine and has been done this way for around 80 years, by his father at first and then, over the last 60-70 years, he has taken over. You don’t argue with that sort of experience so straight lines it is then. There’s no raised beds, no soil brought in, we’re growing on stony chalky ground and doing very well. When I first started I was raking all the stones away, some quite large lumps of flint, as I would do at home, only to be told I was wasting my time and would just end up with a pile of stones to shift with more appearing at the surface on a daily basis. So I stopped worrying about it and got on with sowing and planting. Two things I learnt is you can grow veg with loads of stones in the ground and veg will also grow even if it’s a bit weedy. This plot doesn’t get the daily attention I give my raised beds at home which are pretty much stone and weed free. The veg has to fend for itself a bit more but returns are still good. Below is a photo of most of the plot, 2/3rds is on a slope with the other 1/3 to the left of the path on the flat. There’s brassicas, beans, spuds, onions and shallots mainly and I’m using the extra space for squash and sweetcorn.

Quite different from my own beds at home.

Whatever approach you take there are pros and cons but whatever you do at this time of year there will be plenty of veg to eat. Have a great weekend everyone!


22 responses to “All in a line now!

  1. I think we can all try to have everything a little too perfect sometimes, but it shows that plants will thrive in conditions which we’re not too keen on ourselves. There’s always more than one way to skin a rabbit where gardening is concerned.

  2. Allotments are a very different style of gardening to house gardens aren’t they. As for which style of plot we have it’s a mixture. Some straight rows, some mixed beds. Beds of various sizes with paths between but no raised beds.

    • They are Sue, I must admit the plot at home needs to look good as it’s a few feet from the house so I try to keep it tidy with a few flowers dotted around for a splash of colour.

  3. You know, sometimes I think we garden for other people. Like – if anyone saw all these weeds they would think I’m a c**p gardener, I’d better get rid of them. Unless you’re at it 24/7 it will never be perfect. Life is all about balance isn’t it. If anyone comes to see my garden, I’m practically apologising before they get through the gate. When you are running a home, a large garden and an allotment – something’s got to give.

    • I would normally have a tidy-up if we had visitors coming over Elaine so I guess you’re right it’s more for what other people might think rather than ourselves. I’m pretty laid back so don’t get too worried with a few weeds about the place.

  4. It’s always the untended things that grow best in our garden 🙂

  5. I think that lessions can be learned from such ‘old-timers’ that we often tend to ignore or overlook.
    One of my plot neighbours is like that and most years he does as well as, if not better, than the rest of us with his straightforward approach to vegetable growing

  6. Nice to see a glimpse of your allotment. Interesting that you have the chance to try two different approaches – and I’m with you on the stones. Since our garden is barely a foot of soil on top of pin-rock, we have a lot of bits of rock and stones, and though we hoik out the biggest ones whenever we are digging, we’d have no hope of removing them all! Our veg doesn’t seem to mind them too much either.

    • The stones in my shared plot are a nightmare, I have to fight every urge to sieve the soil free of them! All that would give me would be a huge amount of work, an aching body and a very large pile of stones so I’m learning to live with them!

  7. What a great demonstration of how very different methods can still both yield good results. I must admit I was very encouraged to see how well lots of my own crops grew despite the weeds during the period I was unable to tend the allotment and before TNG came to the rescue. Yet another reason I would love to be able to grow veg in my own back garden, I’d care less about it being weedy and would only care that it was still productive! Though I must admit I do love your neat raised beds. Almost as much as I love the pragmatism of your elderly friend!

    • Thanks very much Janet and I have learnt a lot from my friend’s pragmatism, in some ways it’s very similar to my gardening philosophy – two chances – everything has a chance to grow or die and once you accept that the death part of gardening (a relatively frequent occurence) it’s much easier to deal with. He tends to plant way more than he needs, some will perish along the way and the rest will be eaten or given away to friends. Everyone is happy!

  8. They both look a little ‘too’ tidy. I’ve developed a crap-look at present.

    Interestingly, last year I grew stuff in rows, because that was the way the Father beat into me as a child. This year I tried drift sowing, mainly because that Alys Fowler reckoned in was better. The veg is a lot smaller using the drift malarky, and it was only as I started to thin it out that some of the plants took off.

    By the by, post a comment with your email (I won’t publish it) so I can send you those graphics..

    • Sorry IG I am a little too tidy on my own plot. There needs to be many more areas under development/construction, those piles of rubble/rubbish are great wildlife havens after all! We all need to follow your lead and do more for the environment.

  9. It’s quite good knowing that the simple approach works quite well – I often think my soils is terrible but actually this seems to contradict a lot of the info that we get now. It’s also a very chilled out approach

  10. Just found your blog. It must be so good to have a shared plot and get all the inside info, a short cut to success. I grow most of my veg in my small back garden, my biggest problem is composting, I am not good at it, so find refreshing the veg beds with compost quite difficult!

    • Welcome Libby I’ve done a couple of posts on composting which you might find useful. It’s not the easiest thing to do but certainly the most beneficial for the garden if you can devote a bit of space to it.

  11. Pingback: Review of 2011 « Two Chances Veg Plot Blog

  12. Pingback: 2012 Projects « Two Chances Veg Plot Blog

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