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Clive has lived and worked all his life in central Somerset and when he retired his wife told him to take up a hobby, get an allotment or something. So he did. This all happened in September 2015. His plot is about 5m by 30m and had not been used for the previous four years. I think we can all imagine what it looked like ans was probably quite a daunting task. Deep rooted weeds, back breaking digging, is that what we all wish for when we retire? well perhaps if we look at the outcome, we might just say yes. This photoblog concentrates on the produce from the plot, whilst giving us just a couple of peeks at the plot itself, inspiring stuff if you think its taken less than a year.   Those regimental lines, look like trooping of the colour. As soon as there's a space he's got...
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When you meet a guy named Dragon on the internet, you just have to sneak a peek at his plot. So I took my trusted cameraman and myself off to A huge allotment site in London SW20. So what was I going to find? A gardener, who isn't allowed a Facebook page, because Dragon can't be his real name (sigh smiley) The plot is divided in two separated by a main road. The larger side houses the shop, toilet and other facilities including bees and has over 100 plots. Dragon's side is smaller and has some lovely trees in blossom breaking up the space.There are quaintly named sign posts around the site so you don't get lost My host was busying himself with making some stacking beds, which he will blog about on his own blog but we can have a sneak preview thanks to the wonders of the Ipad Simply...
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 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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Posted by on in Money Saving Tips
We all know that industrial estates and skips are probably the best place to source your pallets and Freecycle is a great place for free greenhouses, but where do you get other allotment bits and bobs?   Where do you get your scaffolding netting or hard core for your shed base? Let’s start a dialogue amongst ourselves to identify, where we can get those things that we want for our plots, whilst paying as little as possible or even less! We will start the ball rolling with ten ideas, please feel free to chip in with more 1.      Eggshells for snail/slug barriers. Go to your local café and ask them to keep some for you 2.      Local stables for manure 3.      Bicycle shops for large pieces of cardboard for covering your beds 4.      Local supermarkets for the small mushroom crates to use for grouping your plant pots in the greenhouse 5.     ...
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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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  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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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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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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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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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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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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This week’s blog was inspired by two things that I saw this week. Firstly I saw my shed door open when I went to the plot the other day and secondly, there has been a major rearranging of the displays in my local supermarket. Once again you start your weekly eyebrow raising session, trying to work out where this is going. When I saw the shed door swinging in the wind, my first thought was, not again, as we have had previous break ins on the allotment and I feared for the contents of my shed and those of other fellow allotmenteers. I glanced through my shed contents and couldn’t see anything obviously missing, so set off along the plot to see if any other sheds had been damaged. To my joy, there were no damaged locks or property scattered across people’s plots and I realised that I obviously hadn’t closed...
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Right, this week is all about saving money by using unusual containers rather than buying them. The New York times has stated that ten years ago in 2003 Americans spent $1 billion on pots and container plants. I thought of the blog after making the feature out of the old water tank a couple of weeks ago. I’ve actually planted some sweet peas in that already, so it should soon be worthy of its place on the plot. I have wondered around our plots and taken a few photos, which I will spread throughout this blog, but the blog will really be another of my lists blogs. So rather than splashing your hard earned up the garden centre, what can you use as containers for your plants? There are two ways to look at this, there is the aesthetic approach and the practical approach. Are you looking at a spectacular feature...
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