Re-editing the Plot

View from the top of the plot

I've been spending quite a lot of time at the allotment lately and already the above view is looking quite different. Much tidier! I've been meaning to write about my plans for the plot since I gave up half of it just over a year ago, but last year's dreadful season meant I never got around to it.

The thicket you can see are my raspberries 'Autumn Bliss'. These of course are remaining because they're prize winning. Last year I experimented with not cutting the canes down in February* and as a result obtained an earlier crop and a heavier yield. Definitely worth repeating this year.

Behind the raspberries is a mess of gooseberries from which I'm currently trying to extract a vigorous bramble. So far the bramble (aided and abetted by the gooseberries) is winning...

And guess where this view is from...

My major project at the moment (apart from plot clearing) is the installation of some raised beds. After the task of emptying out the compost bins to fill them up (who needs gym membership?!), they're so much easier to maintain and keep weed free. There are 5 so far - 3 with strawberries and the other two have garlic, shallots and onions. The latter two are also host to another biochar experiment to see how I get on with different crops to those I trialled last year. I have another 2 to set up - probably playing host to my peas and carrots, though I suspect there'll be an overflow of lettuces at some point as I've sown so many.

When I gave up half of the plot, I was worried it would bring a halt to my experimenting, but happily so far that hasn't been the case. I'm also planning on trying some Oca this year, probably right there in the front of the picture. I have 7 tiny little tubers to plant as soon as the soil's ready...

A major shock this week has been the removal of the trees bordering the plot by the owners of the garden over the fence. I now realise that the trees were probably helping to prop up my shed, so it's time to get a new one. An unexpected bonus has been getting to know my hitherto unseen neighbours, who are great. Unfortunately this won't last for long as they're planning on having a higher fence. However, yesterday they gave me a large compost bin, some wire mesh to go underneath it, plus some metal poles which are ideal for building part of the new supports I'm planning for the apples. Result!

I was sad to lose half of my plot, but lately I've realised I'm falling back in love with my allotment again. It takes about a week to clear now and is much more manageable. As soon as everything's been cleared and planted up, I'll draw up a new plot plan for you to peruse. The pictures on today's post are also a bit of a 'before', so I'll post some 'after' shots too - taken on a sunny day I hope!

* = a tip gleaned from My Tiny Plot, who in turn gleaned it from Which? Gardening.


  1. They were talking about autumn raspberry and gooseberry pruning on Beechgrove garden last week - you can get it on iplayer. They talked about not pruning hard back and why it worked but the garden they were in was really northerly so they pruned hard back to maximise the yield. Think I lost something in translation but I know you are interested in these things so if you havent watched it you might find it interesting.

  2. Shame about the fence. Was thinking trouble with the shed might be compensated for by extra light.

  3. Less is often more. It's overwhelming and demotivating to have a space that is too large to keep properly under control.

  4. I'm a bit surprised that you're not already cleared it and started planting/sowing given the mostly good weather we've had this month!
    Anyway have fun, and happy allotmenteering! Flighty xx

  5. Those brambles are a nightmare to get rid of aren't they! I have them coming up through the fence from a neighbours garden. Luckily enough for me, being at the back of the shed they are pretty far from my borders and I usually end up giving them a blast of weed killer every now and then. So long as I can keep them at bay, I'm happy.
    Good luck with getting on with the rest of your clearing and planning!

  6. Glad you're enjoying your allotment again :) Since the move, I will be restricted to growing herbs & lettuces inside.

  7. Great to read that the love affair with your allotment is back on. I wish that I had read the tip about not cutting back autumn raspberry canes a couple of weeks ago :) I've done the deed now somewhat reluctantly as there was already some healthy growth on them. Wishing you a great growing season VP.

  8. Helen - thanks for that, I'll have a look. I need to see if they were discussing autumn or summer fruiting raspberries as that might make a difference. The technique I'm using is for autumn raspberries.

    Lucy - there'll still be lots more light, the trees were VERY tall!

    RD - I did manage for quite a while, but a full plot isn't compatible with distance caring.

    Flighty - I'm showing you the BEFORE pictures. It looks very different now.

    Angie - one of the benefits of the trees coming down is one of the pesky brambles has gone with it. The one I'm battling with in the gooseberries was 'self sown' ;)

    Donna - it's a very good trick for autumn fruiting raspberries. Hmm perhaps I need to add this to my 'Breaking the Rules' series :)

    Petoskystone - I'm doing a nice line in indoor lettuces here too!

    Anna - and you too Anna!

    1. My apologies! I look forward to seeing some 'after' pictures. xx

  9. I wanted to understand Allotment. Is this something like a community garden? Other then that.. MMM berries.. I miss having wild berries steps from the door. My last home had wild short bush blue berries in the back yard. It was a wounderful excuse as well to mow less. :) we just had to beat the wild turkeys to the berries.

    1. Hi - not quite. Allotments are land which was put aside for families to grow their own food. Some allotments go back 100+ years and the oldest in the country aren't that far away from me. The land is divided into individual plots and a plotholder pays an annual rent which covers communal facilities such as water, mowing communal areas etc (it varies from site to site). Some allotment sites are run along community garden lines, but there are lots of community gardens which aren't allotments.

  10. VP - it was definitely autmun raspberries, Autumn Bliss

  11. Ah, I wondered where I had learned that raspberry tip from! I thought I'd read it on the internet somewhere but also subscribe to Which? Gardening. I cheerfully left some canes at 40cm last year and, like you, had an extended and prolific crop over 4 months from Autumn Bliss canes. I thought the rainfall had caused the lush growth so it will be interesting to see if the same thing happens this year - I've cut some canes right to the ground and left others.
    I think a half plot sounds an ideal size, not too overwhelming! I'll be interested to know what you think of the Oca when grown - I saw some at Potato Day earlier this year but resisted and plumped for "normal" potatoes instead.

    1. You're right - a full plot is meant to feed a family of 4 for a year, so I was being a bit selfish really.

  12. I found half a plot more than enough, but then I was a newbie, very glad that you are finding it works for you. Best of luck with the bramble, am very cross with myself for not getting around to buying a bare root gooseberry, may succumb to gooseberry lust and buy a container grown one! Good to hear the raspberry tip works, mine are new and therefore still look like sticks, albeit now with buds, but I was planning on trying it as a means to extend the season and the crop. Good to know you will still be experimenting, I always find those really interesting.

    1. Shame you don't live closer - my goosegogs will probably go. We're often away when they crop. so the pigeons gorge themselves on them!


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