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Recent blog posts
 When Michael was looking for an allotment, the council offered him the rubbish tip as a plot.  The other allotment holders said it was to far gone. The council wanted cut the plot up in to 10 very small plots but when people came and looked at the amount of work involved no one was daft enough to do all that work  Looks a bit barren   Get weeding, we've all had to start somewhere  The pallets and a little helper arrive  Looks like Michael has put a little seat in the middle of the plot to sit on and plan his beds   Better save these, they might be useful for something   Looks like there's still some way to go Hmm, is this South facing?  Has he actually started yet? What a mess, but at least we can see the church now after all that chopping He got 1 years free rent...
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Hi this is a variation on a theme that a guy on our plot has used for about ten years. I’m sure even most novice allotmenteers are aware that you can make a compost heap out of four pallets, stood upright tied together with cable ties or string. Well I think this idea is even better Machine engineers have their machines moved around on pallets but they also have pallet sides surrounding their products, to assist when shipping. These can be found on industrial sites, in the same way that normal pallets can.  Please ensure you ask if you can have some before helping yourself. The ones in the picture are euro-pallet size (800mm x 1200mm), and are a sensible size, being smaller than a standard UK pallet.(1200mm x 1000mm). This makes the euro-pallet much easier to move as will become apparent as the blog progresses. What you may not be...
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As promised last week, I am going to show you some pictures of an alternative to buying biodegradable flower pots.  First I want to explain my headline. Since I got my allotment, my recycling has gone through the roof.  I compost as much as I can and try to think of a use for anything before I throw it away. I’m not a hoarder, but I’ve learnt that before you throw anything away, take it apart and keep all the screws, bolts washers etc, they’ll come in handy one day and don’t exactly take up a lot of space in an old coffee jar in the garage. When I say Recycling, Recycling, what I am on about is using stuff that would normally go in the recycling bin. Better to use it yourself. You can cut the base off of large plastic drinks bottles and use as mini greenhouses to start...
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Now that my blogs aren't all about saving cash, I guess they should really be called tips and ideas, rather than money saving tips and ideas. Don’t worry if I can think of a way to save cash I will blog it, but some of these blogs might entail spending a bit! This blog is probably a bit more for the novice to fairly new allotment holder, rather than the seasoned pros, but we can all learn something so let’s see what I've got. I started my allotment one April and as I dug a bed I planted stuff in it. People offered me spare plants, I bought some cheap seeds and I popped them all in the ground. There was no science. I invested a couple of quid in the current gardening mags and they suggested, what should be sown at the time, so I bought more seeds and a few plants and filled...
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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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Our allotment is in Bute Road Wallington, Surrey. Unfortunately it has a fenced off public footpath running right down the middle of it. This has over the years meant that the site has been considered as two separate allotments. When I first decided to get a plot, you could not even see one half of the plot due to some uncultivated overgrown plots being completely covered by brambles. Fortunately these plots have been taken on by some very keen gardeners and now the plots are visible from the path. The downside of this is thieves are also now aware of the site and there have been some break-ins and minor damage. Two years ago a committee was formed with members from both sides of the fence, this has led to joint working parties, clearing communal paths and creating an area for deliveries and barbecues. There is a thriving shop, staffed by...
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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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Well here I am again, the tight one at The Allotment Gardener. Only a short blog this week, but there’s money to be saved again. How often do you go to the garden centre only looking for one specific thing and come away with a basket full of gadgets and knickknacks? I don’t! As a lad I took up fishing and relatives would buy me brightly coloured bits and bobs they had found in catalogues or from Woolworth’s. Totally useless for my needs, but I thanked them all the same. Then I took up golf and received more ball cleaners than golf balls. Now I garden and it’s so much easier. Suttons, Dobies, Thompson-Morgan, Marshalls and all other major seeds catalogue companies sell gift vouchers that are a great present, as you get what you want from a reputable supplier and your friends and relatives know that what they have got...
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Many new gardeners recognize a nettle, buttercup or dandelion but so often I hear someone say "I wouldn't know if it was a plant or a weed".  Many weeds are simply plants that grow invasive and usually where they are unwanted. I have put together a few of the ones that can often crop up in allotments and tried to simplify the facts as to how it will effect your plots, PLEASE add any others that you know off. CREEPING BUTTERCUP:  This is a troublesome weed that withstands some trampling, whilst it looks pretty in flower it slowly depletes the land of potassium. The seeds that disperse from the plant can stay in the soil for five to seven years. Chickens and geese love to eat the leaves.    SHEPHERDS PURSE: ( A member of the mustard family) This plant produces hundreds of seeds, it can easily spread and needs to be removed before it flowers. This...
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Hope you have read past the title, as even most novice allotment holders/grow your owners are aware that if you tie a few pallets together you can make a decent compost bin for free. Well yes you can, but since making one a few years ago I have driven past so many skips with pallets in that I got to thinking, what else could you make or use pallets for. Pallets are used for shipping goods around and are made of timber, this is the bit that most people don't consider.I have often seen people carting expensive brand new timber to the allotment – and it simply isn’t necessary. There are three main pallet sizes I have come across whilst driving around in my van and I'm glad to say that they all fit in the back of it. The sizes are; Euro pallets 80cm by 1.2m, standard UK pallets 1m...
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This week’s money saving blog is a photo blog. When the weather isn't too good and you can’t plant, that isn't a reason to leave the plot alone, it’s an excuse to undertake a project or two. As you are probably aware if you follow us on Twitter Facebook or Google plus, we have sourced an unlimited supply of pallets of all shapes and sizes. As I am planning on changing career in the summer and will no longer need my van, I suppose it’s probably a good time to stock up on as many pallets as possible, before I dispose of it. The only worry is if the other plot holders don’t like our plots looking like a timber yard.  No one seems to mind once a pallet has been converted into something, in fact quite a few people ask how we did it, but piles and piles of pallets probably does look a...
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Another photo blog this week. Remember last week I discussed maintenance as I way of saving money, well here I continue with this theme. Looking at the blog photo you will see loads of garden canes and lengths of thin timber lying haphazardly on the floor, waiting for someone to stand on them or the weather to leave them in a puddle of water. Either way, you will end up replacing them at your expense if left like this. This idea is so simple and easy to do that one of our allotment neighbours followed suit within 24 hours. This was done a couple of weeks after the shed was painted, so there is no fiddling about trying to paint it just before this project. You will need, a handful of screws,( we used a dozen), a pen, a screwdriver, a drill, a pallet and a shed. So as discussed, we took one...
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Photo shared by on in Personal Blogs

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 Gardening
It's that time of year when the allotment is thriving and looking good, the weather is maybe being kind and the greenhouse stays hot. It's also the time when holidays or short breaks are taken.  One problem with owning the allotment is leaving it for a while.  Is it going to be safe? Watered?  Will the livestock survive? Here is a basic list of to-dos to help with the holiday dilemma: Find someone reliable and trustworthy to be the caretaker for the time you are away. Let only trustworthy allotment friends know, and tell them who is going to be key holder, and for how long. Offer the caretaker anything ripe in the plot for his/her help especially continuously cropping plants such as peas and beans. This will ensure that no pods mature and  the plants switch off their flowering mechanism, even if it means composting some crops. Leave available - hosepipe attached to water if possible...
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My aching body is a testament to what has been undertaken over the bank holiday weekend. My limbs, muscles and joints are even more painful than even I thought possible. When I get in the bath to ease the pain, the sun burn kicks in and the stinging makers me forget about the physical pain. It all started really on Sunday morning. I got up at the usual time and decided that I was going to soak the greenhouse floors, as it was going to be a very hot day. Our site is split in two by a public footpath and as I passed the first gate a bright red sign caught my eye. “Free top soil, phone 020# ### ####” Now you know me better than to just walk past this sort of opportunity. I was on the phone sooner than you can say allotment and was told that there...
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Posted by on in Food and Drink
Jerry reminded me that the green leaves of white sprouting broccoli were good for you,   I  remember my mother, or the tall thin dinner lady  during my strict lunch hour at primary school saying to me "Eat your greens and you will grow up big and strong" I DID. I have removed from the plot some white sprouting broccoli  that had started to seed. I used the leaves to make this recipe.  The forecast was  for cold  weather again  so I posted this for anyone that might be doing a similar thing.    Hot way of cooking Leafy green veg  Good for crunchy cabbage, kale, Brussels sprout tops and of course the leaves of broccoli  1 medium sized cabbage, shredded 15ml/1tbsp groundnut oil 5ml/1tsp grated fresh root ginger 2 garlic cloves, grated 6 spring onions and stalk, finely chopped 2 red chillies, seeded and finely sliced Salt and pepper   Heat the oil in a large pan, as...
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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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They say Roses are made for sharing, according to the advert, not that my children show any signs of understanding the word, when it comes to chocolates. This week’s blog is about sharing, but not chocolates or even roses. More along the lines of those crops that need a permanent space.Phyl and I share everything down the plot, especially when he’s not there! But the biggest thing we are currently sharing is a fruit plot. Most fruit bushes will supply more than enough fruit for two families, even if there are lots of jams, preserves and wines being made. The savings made by sharing are immense.This blog has been purely about money saving for the last 5 months, but I think it’s important that I diversify from now on and see what else I can save you. Well the fruit plot is probably a great place to start this new idea.First...
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