Sunday, 21 December 2014


I grew celeriac this year as we quite like it as a vegetable, especially as a substitute for mash potato.

I went up my allotment this morning to collect some veg and decided it's time to try the celeriac. They are big healthy plants so my expectations were high, as I pulled the first plant a big lump of soil came free, increasing my hopes for fat vegetables. 

Unfortunately I was disappointed, all there was was a massive tangle of roots and no bulb at all. I pulled the whole row and nothing on any of them. 

That's a shame, I don't know what I did wrong. Will have to do some reading. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Winter Produce

Just because the winter is fast approaching doesn't mean your allotment is still not productive. I've just been down to mine and brought this haul back.

Winter Veg

Two large pumpkins left over from Halloween, these I'll make soup from and freeze the rest of the insides.

First crop of leeks for this year, they're a bit small this year, but still of use in the kitchen. Found a load of potatoes which are below the other veg, small red cabbage , carrots and swede. Dug a big batch of beetroot so didn't crop any today.

Flat leaf parsley has not all run to seed, but the curly leaf variety is still cropping well, and even though we are no well into November the Dahlias are still producing blooms.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

John's allotment 2014

I've just published a page about how my allotment did in 2014.

Onions From Seed

Always grown my onions from sets in the past and they've been reasonably successful, but I read on the internet this year that they do better from seed.

I thought they might stuggle to mature in the shorter Highland summer, but I've had a wonderful crop this year.

I laid them out on a wire frame in the greenhouse for several weeks to allow them to dry out properly, and they're now in onion sacks stored under the house ready for when we need them.

Onion (Ailsa Craig) grown from seed and now stored.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Best Ever Broad Beans

Sat in the garden this afternoon shelling broad beans.

Best ever crop I've had off my allotment, 1.5 kg and this is only half of them.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

First crops of the season.

Had a nice picking of strawberries this evening. Went down well with some home made ice-cream.

Also dug my first ever new potatoe crop, new managed to grow them before.

Also picked my first sweet peas. I thought I grew some dark red ones, perhaps they've no started flowering yet.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Icy Blast Is Forecast

The greenhouse is absolutely bursting at the moment, with plants for the garden and veg and flowers for the allotment, but with an icy blast forecast for later this week with frost on wednesday, thursday and friday nights I can't risk planting things out just yet.

Bursting out of their pots are sunflowers, sweetcorn, statice, gypsophelia, onions and leeks.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Wallflowers In All Their Glory

If you read my blog regularly you may remember back in September I transplanted wallflower plants that I grew on my allotment from seed into the garden ready for Spring.

Well they are at their best right now, and looking marvellous.

How did I grow them? Back in June I made a standard drill across the allotment and planted the seeds, lightly covering with soil. I sowed fairly thinly so they didn't need thinning, 1 packet of seeds did a 12m row. I then left them there until September when I transplanted them to the garden, after summer bedding had past it's best.

One word of warning, their success this year has been in part down to a snow free winter, in past years they've suffered from being under inches of snow which has crushed them. September is a little early to transplant to the garden, my thinking behind this is the longer they are in their final position, the more established they will be when/if the snow arrived, so they'll be better equipt to survive it. 

Will definitely grow some more this year and I'm going to give another biennial a try from seed, Sweet Williams.

Walled bed now. 

Walled bed in September.

Wallflowers, grown from seed on the allotment. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Tatties are in

All my tatties are now planted for the summer, I always think this is one of the hardest tasks on the allotment, a great deal of heavy digging.

I've planted 4 different varieties this year. First earlies, Pentalnd Javelin and Maris Bard, and main crop, Desiree, because I grew them last year and they were very successful, and Rooster, because they are great as roast potatoes.

I dig a trench about 6 inches deep, put the seed potatoes in the bottom and then earth up to about 12" above ground level. Although I'm planting quite early it will be we'll into May before they pop their heads above ground and by then we should be well past the risk of frost. 

Don't forget, you can increase your crop by cutting large seed potatoes in two, just make sure you cut them so they are about the size of a golf ball and that you have a growing tip on both halves. 

Monday, 17 March 2014


I'm not very good at going into Simpsons garden centre without buying something.

Today I bought some raspberry plants.

Never grown them before, planted them on the allotment this afternoon. They are an early summer variety which means they fruit on last years wood, which means no fruit this year.

Something new to look forward to next year though.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Starting some seeds already

Been on the allotment this afternoon as the weather has been dry of late and the soil is really quite workable for the time of year.

Spring Onions and Early Carrots planted
I ran my Mantis machine over a section to give me a fine soil and then planted two rows of seeds, early carrots, "early Nantes 5" and spring onions (both red and white Lisbon). Hopefully they'll be cropping by June / July thanks to this early start.

Everything else on the allotment is growing well, blackcurrants and gooseberries are starting to leaf, I tidied up the strawberries planted through black plastic and the garlic I planted last year is now about 6" high.

Can't wait to get other things planted, but it's still a bit early for most. Although I will try and get my early potatoes in this week if this weather continues.

Strawberries through plastic are sending out fresh green shoots. 
Garlic Doing Well

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Double the seed tray capacity of your greenhouse for a few pounds.

Greenhouse staging is ridiculously expensive and if you're like me as you prick out seeds over the next couple of months you very quickly run out of space. 

Here is an ingenious idea that will give space for up to 24 more seed trays in an average 6'x8' greenhouse for the price of a few pieces of wood, that even a DIY novice can put together.

Here is what you need:

  • Upright: 2 posts.  2"x2" is good but any old bit of wood will do as long as it will support the weight of your trays. The length needs to be the height of the roof edge of the greenhouse
  • Centre Support: A flat piece of wood about 18" long
  • Shelving: 4 pieces of 2x1, each piece being a few inches longer than half the length of your greenhouse
  • a hand full of wood screws
  • 8 nails 

First of all you need to build the centre support, so screw the flat piece of wood onto the top of the two uprights, each should be approx. 12" apart. There, that's done, it should look something like this but it doesn't have to be exact.

Next you need to hammer 2 nails into one end of each the  shelving pieces so they protrude out the other side. You want the nails as close to the end as possible, but again it doesn't have to be that accurate. 

Take care of these nails sticking out.

Now you simply hook the nails over the cross bar on the end of the greenhouse and place on the centre support, two pieces either side and you're finished. 

 All done. You'll probably get 10-12 seed trays on each side of your greenhouse.

If you have existing staging in your greenhouse simply make the upright supports long enough to sit on the staging rather than going down to the floor.

And because this all stands up under it's own weight and there's no permanent fixing, later in May / June when all the plants are out in the garden you can simply take it all down and store away for next year, making space in your greenhouse for tomatoes and other summer crops.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

All Ready For The Spring

I've finished digging over my plot last week, it's all looking very bare.

This week I had a large load of manure delivered, that has now been spread over the top half of my plot.


The only thing that's growing at the moment is my garlic. About two inches showing now, ready to burst into life once the weather warms up.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Seed Potatoes

Everyone should grow at least a few potatoes on their allotment and now is the time to plan.

The seed Potatoes are in B&Q and Simpson's and they're not in stock for long, so to make sure you're not left with the dregs I'd buy them now and store them in a cold, frost free place ready for chitting later in the season.

I've bought:-

Main Crop: 

Roosters: Lovely potatoes, never grown them before.

Desiree: Did brilliantly last year so growing again. (Ordered online, not arrived yet).



Pentland Javelin: Never tried these before either, although I did have success with another early last year.

Each bag should do a row, except the pentland javelin, that bag only contains 10 and even if I cut them in half that's not going to be enough for a whole row, just thinking I should have bought two. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Winter Digging Time

Happy New Year everyone.

After all the excesses of the Christmas season it's time to get out there on the allotment and start preparing for the Spring, and that means digging.

My plot is a bit of a mixture at the moment, there are perennials such as strawberries and gooseberries which obviously I don't want to dig, winter veg which will need digging but only as the produce is used up and sections that are finished from last year and ready to dig.

Don't worry about the weeds. 

Trying to weed the ground is an impossible task on any reasonably sized plot  and not worth the hassle, the most important thing is that as you dig you turn the soil over. The effect of this is you turn the weeds upside down so their roots are showing which will at least impair their growth and probably kill them.

Any old plants left over from last year, in my case sunflowers, sweet corn, parsley, damaged cabbages, pumpkin, trimmings from leeks and gladioli can all be dug in adding plant mater to the soil and retaining their nutrients.

And you'll be surprised how when you come to plant in the Spring that even thick stems such as sweet corn and sunflowers has broken down. Just make sure that as you dig any old plant material is at least covered in soil. 

Don't try and break up the soil

If you are trying to break up the lumps with your spade as you go you are going to double the work unnecessarily, especially if you are digging your plot for the first time.

In fact this can actually make matters worse, if you break the soil up too finely and we then have heavy rain it will compact the soil, a dry period will then turn this into concrete. Far better to just flip the soil with the spade leaving in a large lump and allow the weather to break it down. 

Don't overdo it.

You've got 3 months before the new planting season arrives, get out onto your plot as often as you can and dig a section, you'll be surprised how quickly you will have dug the whole plot.

So get out there and get some fresh air and exercises,  all for far less than the cost of a gym membership.