Very chuffed to report that we have ourselves an allotment so we can now can get semi pro serious about growing our own fruit and veggies. We have raised beds in the back garden which we've learned so much from in the last 2 years, but now we're ready for the large scale (for us) food production that this growing space should provide. The hard bit is to choose what to try and grow. The rule of thumb is - veg = scoff. Fruit = jam or wine.
Our veg beds in the garden didn't do well this year because of the weather - spuds poor, beans failed, onions and garlic undersized but packed with flavour. Just as well we live in the 21st century otherwise we'd be starving now ;D. Hopefully the weather will be somewhat more suitable for productivity next year. Fingers crossed. On a more positive note I've dug the beds over in rthe new plot and I wasn't physically knackered thereafter - it was hard work but I loved it
We had loadsa spuds, onions and garlic, not a good aspargus season, runnerbeans got blown over but still had a reasonable crop. We scrump apples as there are hectares of orchards nearby - raspberries were crazy this year - same with strawberries. Neighbour gave us boxes of kiwis and was a reasonable walnut season. You win some you lose some...
I recently got one too, so know the feeling I'll be growing a hell of a lot of fruit (strawbs, rasps, tayberries, blueberries (10plants and counting) and most importantly of all - apples. I've got 20 or so apple trees - 17 of which are 1 year whips, and 12 of those will be grown down the allotment espalier trained against a trellis I need to stick in.) also lots of sweetcorn for the misses -150 or so plants, but fellow plotholders tell me the foxes eat a load of sweetcorn just before it ripens!
We have raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, gooseberries, and others I'm not sure of yet. I'll import some rhubarb, and have bought pear, plum, and damson trees. Neighbouring plots have them so no problems with cross pollination. So much choice.
I planted 3 fruit trees on Sunday - a pear, damson, and plum. I have a quince and apple already... wines and brandies on their way, certainly. And going to buy a cider press. Just bought a book called "Booze for Free" which is going to be a great reference for the alcoholic production from the allotment. This is going to be great if all goes well. Just as well I ain't frightened of some heavy graft
Potatoes, cabbages, caulis are all easy to grow - I found them straightforward in my veg beds in my first year. Onions, garlic, and spring onions are also pretty simple as long as you perform basic weeding and feeding. Beans and peas failed last summer (2012) due to the lousy weather. I'm going to be learning a hell of a lot in the next 12 months, and will be trawling the internet for blogs and advice, much as I did here for the WFO. The annual rent for my plot is an unbelievable £30. The allotment site is self managed by the plot holders under a 15 year arrangement with the local Council, which allows the tenants to raise rents and invest them back into the site. After I pay my rent materials like manure and fencing are free and supplied.
Tom, you might already know this but IMHO (and some of those I went to college with) www.kitchengarden.co.uk/ is the veg mag to read - you also get seeds every month if my memory serves! Have fun on your 'lottie' it's a community too
I've been baking all (well nearly!) our bread for longer than I can remember - I still enjoy it I enjoy cooking and eating the pizzas as much, if not more ...