Another year with our allotment..

September 12, 2016

I'm long overdue an allotment post and er, this is a pretty long one.. {remember this one from last summer and the original post here}. It's something that I don't often post about on Instagram or the blog but it really does play such a big part in our day to day life. It's become a ritual to walk there before or after dinner and at the moment it's overflowing with fresh pickings. This is our third year, and summer, with it and considering that we've been rather busy with the house renovations this year {and probably put the least amount of effort in so far} it's amazing just how well everything has done. It's the fullest it's ever been, I think we could do with an extension already! Crazy considering we were so overwhelmed with the size of it when we began. 

I love looking back on these photos that I've taken throughout the growing season, it looked so bare to begin with but it's amazing how fast everything grows from just teeny tiny seeds! We grow everything from seed down here, starting things off in the greenhouse. We're also glad to grow everything without any chemicals/organically, even if it does mean losing a few things to slugs. {we only use organic slug pellets for things that really need protecting as they start off in the ground}. For fertilisers we make our own feed using just nettles and comfrey in water. We also use a rotation system changing what we plant where each year so that we're not taking the same nutrients out of the soil year after year and to minimise diseases etc. You can google a basic one.

Success varies greatly with the weather. A cold, or very hot or very dry snap at the start of seed sowing can be detrimental. Some crops have thrived this year {pumpkins/squashes, kale and courgettes} whilst others haven't done quite so well for us compared to last year {beetroots and spinach}. We're still learning every season as we go along with it, it's all trial and improvement but gradually over time we feel like we know so much more. For the last few years we tried to grow a lot of different types of vegetables, this year because of the house move and not having enough time we concentrated on growing a lot of just a few things. We've focused on 3 different types of kale, 3 different types of courgettes, a huge variety of pumpkins and squashes and sweet corn. Along with smaller amounts of chard, beetroot, spinach and tomatoes. In the background our fruit trees and fruit bushes have carried on well from last year. An abundance of raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb along with apples and plums. 

It feels like an extension of our garden and somewhere that we love spending time. It's satisfying growing and raising healthy food that we love to eat. And it's so so fresh, we pick it and then go home to cook it within 10 minutes sometimes! I'd say the only downside i feeling like we don't have quite enough time to prepare and use it all. Whatever we don't use or give to family/friends though goes onto the compost heap so at least it's not totally wasted but I'd love to be able to use even more of the things we grow. There are always inevitable gluts at certain times of the year and we've become accustom to 90% of our summer dinners featuring some form of courgette in! - BBQed it turns out has been our favourite way to use them. And picking them smaller is best for flavour before they take on too much water. The raspberries never get cooked with, they're always eaten straight off the plant, way too yummy to take home. I'm so thrilled with our collection of squashes and pumpkins so far, creating a gorgeous autumnal display when mixed together and should last us for cooking throughout the autumn/winter. They store well. Some are just decorative, those adorable white baby boo pumpkins are my ultimate favourite along with some ornamental gourds. We've left our big pumpkins on the plant for a while longer, to get bigger before Halloween.

I didn't go as mad on flowers this year, we've now got a bigger garden so I focused on filling that with flowers instead. But there was still room for the odd spare cosmos and dahlia plants left over along with a couple of roses that were planted last year.

Ben is the real driving force behind it all and he needs all the credit for many a weekend morning getting up early to dig the beds and do all the hard work! I just do the easy bits like choosing what to grow, sowing seeds and harvesting it all. But it's something that we both love doing together. 

I apologise for the crazy long post and the amount of photos but I keep it as a yearly diary to look back on.
  • At the start of the growing season {March/April time} we started our first seeds off. Most were done in my parents greenhouse but we bought these cloches this year to warm the soil up and sow some seeds direct. {more on choosing/buying seeds at the end}

Within a few weeks once germinated, the seedlings popped up! For tender plants like pumpkins and sqaushes that can't be planted out until all risk of frost has gone, normally mid may time, we potted them on into bigger pots and kept them in the greenhouse as they grow so fast at this stage.

Everything started off bare and small but gradually as the weather warmed up and the plants started to grow it got greener and more full.

Ben planted squashes around metal cages {we recycle some weird junk down here!} to encourage them to grow vertically as well as horizontally. 

By the middle of summer we were well into the picking season, coming home laden with produce. 

And a lot of courgettes!

I like the mix of flowers and veg together. 

This weekend's harvest

And it goes full circle. Seeds are reduced down to just 50p per pack at our local garden centre so we always stock up at the end of August, deciding what to grow ready for next year. You can get a huge variety of vegetable and flower seeds from the garden centres from rainbow bright lights chard {my fav} and even yellow courgettes. We only go online for specialist seeds like special pumpkins. We also save some of ours each year from crops we've grown. Some crops will keep going over the winter but most of ours over the next few weeks will slow down with the cooling of the weather and less sunlight. We'll dig most of it over before the Winter and then wait ready for next Spring to start all over again. 

I'm hoping we'll have more time next year and can grow lots more! 

R <3 xx 

You Might Also Like


  1. What a stunning harvest display you've brought back to your garden at home��

  2. Lovely post ! Thank you Rebecca.

  3. Wow! Lovely photos! Stunning displays!

  4. Do you grow organically? How do you stop slugs and bugs from eating everything?

    1. We do grow organically. As I said in the post we use organic slug pellets when we really need to when plants are small. We also use copper. We lose the odd strawberry to slugs but have plenty that it's not an issue. Would hate to use real slug pellets as they're full of chemicals and bad for wildlife xx

  5. Fab post! We've grown pumpkins for the first time this year, but struggling to know what to do with them all, what do you do with yours?

    1. We display the pumpkins and gourds but will eat the squashes. Mainly roasting them in Autumn dinners xx

  6. Reading your post was so interesting and I love the photos! Do you ever grow your tomatoes outside or do you just do it in a greenhouse? I'm planning a veg plot for next summer in our garden but worried that outdoor varieties won't be so sweet. There's nothing more depressing than an anaemic tomato. Would love to know if you could recommend any reliable ones to grow without a greenhouse. Thanks :) Sarah xxxxx

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for your message. We've grown tomatoes both inside and out. The ones in the greenhouse do produce a lot better but we have had some success with outdoors. They just take a bit longer to ripen up and you need some nice warm sunshine. Try them in a sunny spot. I don't think there's a particular variety, just wait until they're nice and ripe. Could always try to ripen in a bag with a banana if you want to speed them up! But greenhouse are def sweeter xx

    2. Cheers for the advice, Rebecca. I'll be sure to test out the banana in a bag trick! If all else fails I'll just make tonnes of green tomato chutney. Sarah xxx

    3. Cheers for the advice, Rebecca. I'll be sure to test out the banana in a bag trick! If all else fails I'll just make tonnes of green tomato chutney. Sarah xxx


@rvk_loves on Instagram