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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
The new “Dig for victory” We at The Allotment Gardener have decided enough is enough. No longer can gardeners ignore the terrible situation we find ourselves in. When Phyl and I decided to launch The Allotment Gardener it was to give a bit back to other gardeners, to share what we could, including the wealth of experience across the country, to help other people get started/resolve problems and make the great hobby we have available to others. Since shortly after starting our website we have supported Save Farm Terrace Allotments in their fight against the “Health Campus/Watford Council” to save their allotments from the developers. This fight is now spreading up and down the country as council after council, decide that a car park is more important than an allotment. Well as stated above ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We have decided that we will open our site to be the campaign HQ...
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  Before I start talking about the gardens, I have to start with a moan. In August we attended the same venue and thoroughly enjoyed the Chilli Festival, so much so that we agreed to return next year and also to attend the GROW! COOK! EAT! Show in October. The miserable weather and being out of the holiday season, might have explained the low turnout, but this as I found out was not the case. The Chilli Festival had been heaving, great musical acts, plenty of catering outlets, loads to buy and see and worthy of a return visit. As yesterday’s event combined three of my hobbies, I was expecting three different audiences and much more to see and do. This was not the case, the queues waiting at the multiple entrance sheds of August, were replaced by two sheds without a queue in sight. If you didn’t want a lamb...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
We set off from South London, deciding the satnav knew better than the AA and were soon hurtling down the A3. Crikey there are some bad drivers about today. A Police rolling Road block soon had us crawling along and we wondered if there would be anything left to see by the time we got there. As the traffic cleared we found out if you don't update your satnav, it doesn't know about the Hindhead tunnel and tells you you are offroading. Closed roads and diversions meant we eventually arrived considerably later than planned. Not having been before we were wondering if we were going to be the only people at the show. We needn't have worried as a man with a sombrero and a set of maracas guided us in to a parking space some distance from the entrance. As soon as we got out of the car a staff...
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When  I got on the early train to London and a day at the High court I really didn't know what to expect. After a quick trip on the circle line, I arrived at Temple. A few early protesters had arrived and were setting up banners on the railings outside the court. After a few minutes a voice blasted out from my left. " I told you not to come dressed as a scarecrow Jerry" the unmistakable voice of the Farm Terrace Allotments spokesperson, Sara Jane Trebar, dressed in her battle fatigues for the day had arrived. I was immediately tasked with attaching things to the railings with a "come on Jerry make yourself useful" call. Boy does she know how to organise a party. Still think she should have got the kids to make the posters All too quickly we were dashing for court, but due to numbers the public...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
Hello. Well this is my first post so I thought I would share with you the progression of my allotment. I went for raised beds because of the waterlogged state this area can have. As you can see I have matting for the paths witch I am in the progress of digging out for the top soil. I managed to have a good load of manure delivered and I distributed this in my five raised beds. In one of the beds I put manure in then placed cardboard over then put manaure on the cardboard and then top soil from the paths. hoping this would depress the weeds. still plenty to do.........
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Have you ever looked at the protective cloches that you can buy and thought, "That's not large enough, sturdy enough and far too expensive"? No? Well I have. I hate buying something that I know I could make myself. It's far more practical and you can make something to exactly the specifications that you want. Making a cloche is not that difficult and I'll go through how I make mine. The initial outlay can be a bit pricey if you don't have the right tools but over time it will be well worth the cost. You can also scrounge materials and borrow the tools if you know the right people.  Tools for the job Cordless drill/driver bits + plus the bit to make the 25mm hole slots for the pipe Staple gun + staples Handsaw Tape measure Scissors or blade Materials 3 x 2.4m CLS lengths of timber from B&Q...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
My 79 year old dad has rented his allotment for the last 53 years.   His plot is the one that is set back from the road, central to all the allotments and at the side of a farmer's field, large trees and a wide beck.   This year he had visitors that came, not once, but twice in the hours of darkness. They bashed his gate which had a padlock attached, snapped it off to gain access then trampled over the plot to a shed he built himself, smashed the window then climbed in to help themselves to the contents of the locked shed; rotavator, lawnmower, and tools.  Now I can imagine you thinking why did he store these valuable items in here?  He is getting into his elder years and more frail as each year passes. The tools he had were old, or the less expensive makes, but were needed and valuable to his needs to help him tend his plot.  He finds it much easier...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
There is something relaxing about reading a gardening book or magazine but last week I managed to get hold of a 1921 version of the 'Allotment Gardening' by William Good F.R.H.S. I don't think many women would have read what seemed to be the man only book as the opening chapter refers to the thousands of men busy for several hours producing food for to save money and provide for the ever-increasing population.  Women were only referred to in a section about costs and how the housewife can save when shopping and cooking the produce in the kitchen. A book of this size covering everything from soil cultivation, greenhouses and planting, to pest control and fertilization must have been popular for the few people that could actually read. I can imagine anyone that could not read would only learn the ropes by word of mouth and trial and error. One section that was well covered was the costs of the seeds/plants and how much...
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War on Waste: An update Today is world water day, so probably a reasonable time for me to update my War on Waste blog, that started in December/January. I guess I should start with my water saving. Apart from turning the tap off whilst cleaning my teeth, I have added a water butt to my greenhouse and placed the guttering down through one of the panes of plastic and into the butt inside the greenhouse. This is obviously saving water, that I don’t need to get from the tap but also keeps the greenhouse warmer, hopefully saving some of my seedlings from getting killed off by the bad weather we are having. I have not convinced her indoors to share a bath with me, but I’ll keep working on it. I have saved a fair bit of petrol, by doing a lot of my shopping locally. Not sure if I’m saving...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
I have lost count the number of times people have said to me "Children are not allowed in my allotment". I always have to ask WHY?                                          My father got his allotment before I was born and, to this day, he still has what he calls his 'bit of heaven'.  I can honestly say I can never ever remember him refusing to take me for what he called a 'potter' when I asked to go.  My early memories weren't of playing in the allotment; I helped pick the produce with a little basket and ate what seemed like extra large raspberries. It was never a problem lifting buckets and pushing wheelbarrows full (or maybe less full than I remember) to the compost bin. I always found it fascinating that Dad's cabbages and potatoes would grow like soldiers in a straight row after I had been the dibber-on-a-string mover. It was even more exciting to see how he would empty them plants in pots so easily, holding the plant gentle, whilst he showed me all the little roots and what looked...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
Here we go, 4 large onions, 50p for size comparison My santoku blade makes short change of the onions and garlic Fry until see through, then caramalize, stirring regularly to prevent sticking and burning Yum Yum Meanwhile prepare your stock, this one is a bit meaty, so darker than average Add the Thyme and sherry to the stock Ladle in the onions Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer for thirty minutes Lets get the cheese on toast ready Voila! ...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
So I decided to enter a couple of competitions. One to see who could grow the biggest leek and a separate one to grow the first chilli of the year. Both competitions were to start on the first of January. Being the kind of guy I am I decided to give my fellow competitors a head start, Well what actually happened is my propagaors hadn't arrived.  My mammoth leek seeds had along with the rest of my order and the usual frebies thrown in. Thank you @seedparade Then my chillies arrived, I didn't want to get carried away, so only ordered a few from Thompson and Morgan Then my propagators arrived Down to the courier I imagine, as it wasn't that obvious that the items might have been fragile. A quick e-mail to the suppliers  Garland Products and thank you very much they were in the post arriving the next...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
Well here we go then. I've decided on my new year’s resolution and I'm not sure if you are meant to tell anyone, but I'm going to tell everyone. I've decided to have a personal war on waste. I think this is a brilliant, idea for so many reasons. I don't have to give up beer, don't have to go down the gym, it won't cost me any money and it's beneficial for the environment. I haven't told my family yet, but they should be used to it all ready. My house sounds like a tribute to Hodges out of Dad's Army, day and night as I shout "put that light out" I've decided that I shall walk to the shops more, rather than take the car, will recycle and reuse more than I already do and will encourage my family more than ever, to avoid waste. Maybe I'll also...
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