My Plot

Plot 46, Burnside Allotments, Cambridge

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Christmas everyone!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and it was all that you had hoped for.

Well I haven't made it to the plot since 12th December. Had planned to sow garlic into the bed I had prepared but unfortunately the snow arrived before the garlic did. The weather forecast is not good either, so I will probably sow into pots and put them in my greenhouse which is unheated, then plant out later.

I have been browsing the Internet and came across The Dobbie's Pumpkin Patch and mrs dobbie keeps a balance sheet of money spent and money saved by not buying veg & fruit from the supermarket, and I have decided to do the same. I am just keeping a running total in my allotment notebook. I think this will be an interesting exercise to carry out so watch this space.....

Have also been reading Joe's allotment by Jo Swift where he extolls the virtues of an 'azada', a tool which looks like a very heavy duty hoe, but can be used for all sorts of things and apparently makes lighter work of digging, particularly for getting out roots etc and for breaking up compacted soil, whilst giving less strain on your back than traditional digging does. I had heard of them before but did not know how to get one. So again searched on google and came across Get Digging (website: who supply azadas in all different sizes. There is loads of information on the website and lots of testimonials, so I have taken the plunge and ordered a medium one at a cost of £27.00 including delivery. Probably approximately the same cost as a decent spade but if it delivers all that it promises then it will be far better value than a spade.

I will report back once it has arrived and managed to have a go.....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh garlic...wherefore art thou?

Hmmmph.....The Solent Wight garlic that I ordered over a week ago has not arrived yet & I wanted to get it into the ground before the next round of snowy weather hits us.
Will have to think of a plan B.......probably cover bed up with plastic or fleece so if it does snow as threatened I can at least just remove the cover when I do come to plant it, leaving a snow free bed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bonfires & paths

Today I went to the plot & achieved loads - managed to burn all the brambles that I had cut - rather more successfully than my last attempt at having a bonfire.

Brambles burning....brambles burning....

My son came with me to the allotment and he was an absolute star & ferried barrow loads of wood chippings from the pile that had been delivered by the council at the far end of the site to my plot. I had used some of the carpet I got from freecycle as weed control & then put the chippings on top to make paths between the beds.

We managed to cover all the paths from the bed that has been dug nearly to the end. I just need a few more barrow loads to complete the paths. Then I will put woodchips around the front of the shed.

As you can see it looks so much better!

This is from where the bonfire was looking up the plot towards the shed.

I decided that I also wanted to plant something and as the Garlic I ordered has not arrived yet, I sowed some broad bead seeds. I used Aquadulce Claudia as they are ok to be sown in the autumn - They are meant to be sown in November but I thought I would give it a go. I Have covered them with some fleece to keep them slightly protected so that they can get going.
I will plant garlic (Solent Wight) in the other half of the bed.

Muck & more clearing...

Went to the plot last weekend to carry on with trying to clear the brambles at the bottom of the plot. It was a lovely sunny day and Buddy enjoyed himself also.
Buddy chewing up some wood that he had ''collected"

You can't see it very well, but this is the heap of brambles that I have cut down so far.

I also collected a trailer load of horse manure.

After a bit of rearranging I stacked the manure in its enclosure - I only filled it about 1/4 full so will need to go back & get some more.

This little robin kept popping up when I was clearing the brambles hoping to clear up all the bugs I was unearthing.

The next plans on the plot are to sort out the middle bed that still has slates around it - replacing the slates with wood. Then start digging out all the bramble roots.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Something to inspire plotting

It was my son's birthday this week and whilst ordering his present from amazon, I decided to slip a little something for myself into the order......
It is my hope that by reading the book it will further inspire me to do marvellous things with my plot this year - I enjoy reading books about allotments particularly those that have lots of lovely pictures in them. I find them a great source of information and find that reading them gets my plotting juices going.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I love freecycle!
Last weekend I managed to get rid of an unused bed, old 3 piece suite & a defunct piano....I have also been offered lots of old carpet to use for covering the bottom of the allotment and a never ending supply of well rotted horse manure.
The plan is to strim the weedy beds, put round-up on them and then cover with cardboard then council compost & manure and then top them off with weed suppressing membrane. Hopefully the worms will do some of the work for me over the winter.

Blitzing phase 1

Ventured up to the plot today to have a play with my new toy and start tidying up the plot. I have to say I now think that the task is a bit of a mammoth one.

The brambles are a if anyone has any bright ideas as to how to get rid if them they would gratefully received!
The 'before' photo
The after photos

I need to get some more glass cut for the greenhouse. I do have some spare glass but the sides of the greenhouse are shaped, so if any get broken I need to get new ones cut specially.
It's not that easy to see on the photos but I have strimmed around all the beds so at least I can see them all now & know where to walk!
Buddy posing
My greenhouse & shed with my neighbour's strawberries in the foreground.
I also gave the greenhouse a bit of a clear up.
This is the plot immediately to the left of mine - It was mine but I gave it up as I was struggling with one let alone two plots.
The plot opposite mine - practically completely covered in black plastic...Definitely the way to kill the weeds & clear a plot.
This plot is next door but one to mine, to the right. It's good to see that someone has taken it on.
This chap took on his plot last year - there are photos of it early on this year on the blog.
I chatted with him today about manure, clay soil, free council compost & he said that he had got loads of produce from it this year.
This beautifully dug plot is further round the site.
Someone has taken this lot on this year and it looks to have been very productive.
I like this dinky fruit garden!
There are blackberries growing on this structure - I like it because it is not only functional, it also looks great.

This is their whole lot - another one favouring raised beds.
Raised beds are becoming more & more common over the site - I do say I find it much less daunting contemplating digging one bed rather than a vast expanse of ground, plus it doesn't mean that I am compacting the earth by walking on it.

Someone has just taken this plot on & he has a big pile of rubbish to take to the dump.


When I went to the lot I had a walk round so that Buddy could partake of his favourite past time - sniffing - and it seems that a few more plots have been taken up by new tenants, which is good news, but there are still a few more that have been left to go to pot. Our site must be one of the only ones in Cambridge that cannot seem to let all it's plots.

So if you know anyone in the Cambridge area who would like a plot or a half plot there are some available.

The site is nice - not too big and everyone is friendly & helpful.

It would be great to have all the plots being worked particularly as the council are putting pressure on all the allotment associations to ensure that their sites are being utilised properly.

Am thinking of offering my services for PR etc... What do you think?

Any way am now off to the lot to play with my new brushcutter (before it snows)....will also take some photos of the site so you can see the changes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Haven't been to the plot in ages - mostly due to work, doctorate and just mad busy life, but that doesn't mean it has been forgotten - I have been making cunning plans.....

To put in some fruit trees and build a fruit cage on the bottom half - particularly as all my family love fruit and it is always more expensive to this one, probably not quite so big though.
Ventured there this week and although there are loads of brambles again the beds are still nice & snug under the plastic and look pretty clear of weeds. I have purchased a brush cutter so that I can get the plot looking tidy then I am going to;

Clear the brambles & dig up the roots.
Rotorvate the bottom half of the plot to break up the soil & make it flatter.
Cover the whole area in black plastic & carpet to stop too many weeds growing.
ready for planting of trees and fruit bushes.

Friday, January 22, 2010


As it was so wet & miserable just did a quick visit to the plot today to take the household waste to the compost bin, had a look at how my seeds etc were getting along and found that some of the garlic has started to sprout - Hooray!

I was reading a blog the other day, and it's author has decided to stop blogging because he could think of nothing new to say about vegetables. I think this is very sad - I love looking at other peoples blogs, particularly the ones with lots of photos - even if they say similar things each year. They are a great source of inspiration.

I don't think I could ever tire of the amazement that seeing things grow from such tiny seeds gives me.

So for now I shall keep on blogging and if I repeat be it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More round the site...

A few more photos of plots around the site...
As you can see my plot neighbour is making great inroads into getting the base ready for his new shed.
These are Ron & his son's plots.
Planting in raised beds is becoming more common - I was the first on the site to use raised beds but more & more people are now doing the same.

This plot has only just been taken on & they are slowly getting it cleared.
This plot is always immaculate - even in the middle of winter.
This is the first plot that you come to upon entering the site from Ancaster Way. They have used every possible container in which to grow things - some of which I can't fathom what they were originally.

Well that's all for now;
I will take some more photos of the site when the weather warms up a little & hopefully more people are around.

1 done 9 to go!

Spent a couple of hours at the 'gym' to day - managed to dig half of this bed over.
The other half has comfrey growing in it which I cut & use on the compost heap and for making the smelliest plant feed ever!
I put some compost in it and then whacked it down with the back of the spade, & will put the rhubarb in here once it has settled a bit.
Weeded round the comfrey with my 'garden claw' and put a mulch of compost round each plant.
Filled 3 of these with bind weed & bramble roots from only 1/2 a bed!
I bought a couple of rhubarb plants from B&Q - don't know if they will be any good but they do have buds on them and because I need to wait until the soil has settled before I plant them I have put them into pots to get them going.
Also put these shelves up by the window in the shed, which I will chit my potatoes on.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Around the Site

Once I had finished removing the bramble roots I went for a walk around the site and took a few photos....

This plot belongs to a chap who has only just taken it on - The pile of wood on the left was a shed & when it was actually standing it leant over at a 45 degree angle.
This plot is always very neat and tidy - something to aspire to.... The dog also looks impressed!
I'm not entirely sure what other animals are on this plot but it definitely looks like a menagerie.
In what was a very over grown area covered in brambles this enclosure has been built....
on closer inspection you can see it is full of bee hives - the fox used to live here and I did wonder where it had gone to but saw it running acroos the site when I left at 3pm this afternoon.
This is a close up of one of the hives with bees to-ing and fro-ing. They are modern style hives - not the lovely sort that you always think of.

Another sunny day.....

This is the view from the back of my shed to the right of my plot

This was what the dog was up to (yes pinching bottles & sticks from other people's plots then chewing them up)

Whilst I was busy digging out bramble root from two of the beds - some of the roots were huge!

This is the view from half way down the plot up towards the main pathway. The two beds on the left are the ones I have cleared of all bramble roots. The one nearest the shed has comfrey in half of it and is relatively weed free, the other half has some grass growing which I need to dig out. The nearer bed also has some grass browing but I plan to grow potatoes using cardboard, manure & planting through black plastic.

I also sowed the remainder of my broad bean seeds into more loo roll inners.
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