'Fire and Forget' Allotment ideas

This is the place to discuss not just allotments but all general gardening problems and queries which don't fit into the specific categories below.
(formerly allotments and tips, hints and problems)
Mal
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'Fire and Forget' Allotment ideas

Post: # 92859Post Mal
Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:40 pm

So, got a new allotment. 5 poles - maybe 5m by 25m so quite long and thin.

I also have a few other demands on my time - baby, house in need of decoration in every room, garden in need of serious care, and for some reason my work want me to turn up every day before they will pay me which I think is just ridiculous but is yet another constraint on my time!

All in all, I'm thrilled with my new allotment but I need to be able to plant it up with some stuff that is not going to need my constant care and will cope with being watered on a less-than-regular basis.

I'll do salads and tomatoes at home because they're more of an as-and-when requirement. I also have seeds for peas, mange-tout, beans, beetroot and bunching onions from when I thought I was going to have to do it all in the back garden but I now don't know if they'll be able to cope with a sporadic watering regime down on the plot.

Any ideas what would be right for this?

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Hawthorn
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Post: # 92962Post Hawthorn
Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:50 am

I would say all of those need at least daily watering Mal. When I planted them in our old garden some years ago they were getting droopy by the end of the day. Not watering seems to result in stunted growth.

Sweetcorn seemed to fare a little better.


You could try square foot gardening. Because of the vermiculite mix he uses, it requires less frequent watering apparently.

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Post: # 93041Post Jandra
Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:18 pm

Whether crops need watering depends on your soil conditions and the weather.

I found pototatoes really easy. And squashes too. They cover quite a bit of ground where you need just minimal weeding.

Jandra

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Post: # 93044Post Hawthorn
Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:24 pm

good point Jandra. It was a hot summer that year.

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Post: # 93104Post maggienetball
Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:20 pm

What about investing in asparagus - just the right time of year for planting, Start to harvest in 2 years but well worth the investment. Also Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes and beetroot need little attention. Other than watering in most outdoor crops do not need regular water (see no water challenge). You could grow squashes and courgettes on at home and plant out on the plot when they are really well on (in May). They're great for ground cover.

Mal
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Post: # 93444Post Mal
Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:52 am

Thanks everyone, some really good tips here. I've discussed with OH and we (or me, to be honest) are going to do something that was suggested on another thread and put plastic down on most of the plot, leaving room for 2 beds. In to these I'll plant what I've got (plus some tatties) and we'll just have to make time for watering - I've got a head torch, I'm sure the water still runs at night!

Come Autumn we'll convert the two beds to raised beds (as it seems too late in the year to do this now) and fill up with compost and the like ready for next year, maybe look at putting another one or two beds in.

It's less than I initially wanted but
a) It's pragmatic (got to be pragmatic)
b) I can get down and water it so it has a chance of survival.

Thanks again,
Mal

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Post: # 93667Post Cassiepod
Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:24 am

Mal,

That's the conclusion I've arived at with my garden, and at least this way you're going to get some produce out of it this year. If you try and do the whole and don't get anythign that's a lot lot worse.

I like te idea of making raised beds next season ...

Good luck!

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Post: # 93684Post MrFalafel
Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:37 pm

Your pragmatic approach sounds like a great idea but I wanted to alert you to another idea to ponder.

One of the guys in my allotment created a water-butt feeder into raised beds. He put a large water butt propped up at the highest point of his allotment with a series of flexible tubing leading from the bottom of the butt to several raised beds around his allotment. All he needs to do is pop over every couple of days to put the hosepipe into the water butt to top it up with water which will then trickle down into the raised beds slowly over the next few days. He said it wasn't hard to put together (he's a grand old crackpot inventor type) and it means he can wander over to the allotment when he feels like it instead of having to go over every single day.

Just a thought.

Mal
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Post: # 94235Post Mal
Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:39 pm

I do like that idea, I was wondering about something similar but I have to say nothing I'd come up with was quite so elegant as that, I was thinking buckets hovering over each bed (okay, so not entirely thought through!)

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Post: # 96240Post Cheezy
Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:12 pm

MrFalafel wrote:Your pragmatic approach sounds like a great idea but I wanted to alert you to another idea to ponder.

One of the guys in my allotment created a water-butt feeder into raised beds. He put a large water butt propped up at the highest point of his allotment with a series of flexible tubing leading from the bottom of the butt to several raised beds around his allotment. All he needs to do is pop over every couple of days to put the hosepipe into the water butt to top it up with water which will then trickle down into the raised beds slowly over the next few days. He said it wasn't hard to put together (he's a grand old crackpot inventor type) and it means he can wander over to the allotment when he feels like it instead of having to go over every single day.

Just a thought.
May be it's time for me to share m'watering system as well. I'll try to get some photo's at the weekend. Basically water off the shed roof into a raised (4ft off the ground) waterbutt (120L), the overflow through various bits of old basin/bath plumbing and guttering that i had hanging around gravity fed back UP the allotment to the top of the slight slope I'm on. THis then collected in (currently 3 x200L old plastic drums which I've linked up and fitted a tap to one. I will then get some platic tubing (from work) and create an irregation system.
It's not easy being Cheezy
So you know how great Salsify is as a veg, what about Cavero Nero,great leaves all through the winter , then in Spring sprouting broccolli like flowers! Takes up half as much room as broccolli

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Post: # 103707Post Woodburner
Sat May 17, 2008 2:33 pm

Raised beds need more watering not less. :?

Plastic, whilst very effective at killing weeds, is a haven for slugs, as well as being expensive, and environmentally unfriendly. Mulching fabric is less of a haven and slightly cheaper but still not environmentally friendly. Cardboard is my preferred weed killing mulch, you do have to do a bit of searching to get enough though ;)

Apparently newspaper can be used too, though I have not tried it. (I don't get much and I have other uses for it :wink: ) You use the whole newspaper, wetting it first then opening it out on the ground. As with all sheet mulches, you need to overlap the sheetss.

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Post: # 103871Post Flo
Sun May 18, 2008 8:53 am

The baby can be wheeled down to the allotment in the pram for fresh air sometimes and should come to no harm growing up in a garden (worked for me).

Allotmenteering is quite sociable so both you and family will appreciate the company.

It's also an inexpensive way of getting out in the open as it doesn't involve other holiday expenses such as hotels, caravans, tents or whatever.

If you have a garden as well, some of the spare space that is not yet cultivated on allotment could be used for composting "stuff" from your own garden as well as any of the weeds that you attack in spare minutes down the plot. The compost heap is a great money saver.

I had the same problem last year and cleared bit by bit and covered with green manures that I could dig in for fertility - these kept down the weeds and were no effort till they came into flower. Two or three months peace from weeding in first year was much appreciated.

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Post: # 104487Post Big Al
Wed May 21, 2008 11:54 am

Mal wrote:
It's less than I initially wanted but
a) It's pragmatic (got to be pragmatic)
b) I can get down and water it so it has a chance of survival.

Thanks again,
Mal
I was going to have my 4 yr delelict plot of 400+ sg ft all done and dusted in 3 weeks from February this year...... i've got about 60 sq ft sorted now.

As for the watering, can you not get up half an hour earlier and water on the way to work??

Yes I know I was a house husband and there is never enough time on the morning or maybe do the watering whilst everyone else is still in bed... just a thought.

Alan

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Post: # 104524Post Bluemoon
Wed May 21, 2008 5:00 pm

Try a few fruit bushes too, they need very little attention and any surplus can be juiced for the kids or frozen then used later or sprinkled on ice-cream (still frozen) or on breakfast cereals (take them out of the freezer before bed) My grandson eats loads of fruit this way and doesn't really notice that he's doing it. Correctly placed fruit bushes also make great windbreaks and apart from an hour's pruning, an afternoon's harvesting and a biennial mulch they can be pretty much forgotten

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Post: # 104845Post Ranter
Fri May 23, 2008 9:10 am

Before using plastic check that the Lottie Site Committee allow it. Ours doesn't, nor carpet. But we can use cardboard - my bf works in IT so I get him to save the boxes that new kit arrives in - & landscape fabric.

We've used landscape fabric on the paths, to be covered with bark chippings (but we're stil waiting for them). Beds that are waiting for stuff to be grown-on & planted, are covered in the cardboard.

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