Slugageddon's Jono in his
Slug wars – we’ve all been there, and if you’ve found yourself more embattled than usual this year, you’ll be glad to know you’re not alone. Jono, who also writes a weekly column for the Colchester Gazette, blogs about Slugaggedon and how a greenhouse can really help to keep the little blighters at bay.
An upbeat blog, this is the story of one man’s quest to turn an overgrown patch of garden into a productive growing space. Read all about Jono’s experiences with perpetual spinach, harvesting big fat leeks during the hungry gap, and saving nearly £500 in one year by growing his family’s fruit and veg. Plenty to get your teeth into here.
Allotmenteer Michelle gathers
up fresh veg and home-grown
Do you have concerns about the impact of shop-bought fruit and veg on our health? So did Michelle, who first took on her allotment when her husband became ill in 2003. Now she’s a fully fledged allotment horticulturalist who can grow pretty much anything, knowledge that she kindly shares on her excellent blog.
Michelle, who despite her extensive knowledge, describes herself as ‘not an expert’, has written for Reader's Digest, The Guardian and The Independent. And her blog is packed with goodies – like her Free Resources and Tutorials page which includes an allotment plan to get you started.
For gardening blogger, Matron,
being outdoors is a way of life
For blogger Matron, gardening is in her blood. The child of ‘dig for victory’ era parents, for her, growing vegetables is a way of life. Born a mere 20 yards from her parents’ allotment, today Matron grows fruit and vegetables in her courtyard garden and blogs about the trials and tribulations of growing edibles in somewhat less than ideal conditions.
There’s plenty of advice and tips to be found here. Ever wondered how to cook oca? Easy. Simply boil it to soften, then mash with a little milk. It’s delicious as part of a roast dinner.
Allotmenteer Tanya is
living her dream and loving it
Ever dreamed about the good life – giving up that job in the city and moving to the country to live a more natural, less stressful existence? American expat Tanya took the leap,moving from London to the Isle of Man where she now tends her allotment, cares for her bees, and makes and sells a range of handmade beauty products.
Tanya believes that gardeners have an important role to play in saving bees. She recommends avoiding household pesticides and herbicides, and planting a honeybee friendly garden populated with wildflowers such as Vipers Bugloss, Meadowsweet, Field Poppies, Yarrow, and Evening Primrose.
A fine husband and wife
Back in the1980s, allotment plots were easy to come by. In fact so easy that avid gardeners Sue and her husband started with one plot, but by 2005 had acquired five, which they still maintain today.
With all those years of experience, Sue has some fascinating insights to share on subjects like how to grow a biodiverse garden and photographing a froghopper. She’s also had time to experiment with some less usual specimens which she blogs about in, ‘We dined on quince’ and ‘Meddling with Medlars’, a fruit that’s best eaten when it’s rotten. Hmmm, not sure we fancy that.
Blogger, Flighty Mike's
beautiful pot marigolds
Flighty’s Plot is an allotment blog that gardener Mike set up to chart his progress as he prepared to take on a plot one wet, grey Sunday. Nine years later, his blog has recently been nominated for the Versatile Blogger award.
After a wet start to the summer, which resulted in ground like “chocolate blancmange”, Mike is delighted to report the survival of one four-inch long cucumber, which he says is still growing. As well as staples like daily life and the state of the weather, Mike likes to blog about his gardening quests – check out his post on growing 3 types of sunflower.
The view from Garden 59
Do you have to fit your gardening hobby around your otherwise hectic life? Blogger Matt juggles his job and a young family, but still finds time to grow lots of lovely food for his family in his two patches of garden.
As well as chatting about what he’s been up to, Matt’s blog is packed with great advice for fellow gardeners. His suggestions include using a Japanese razor to do the weeding, and using fleece to stop frost from damaging fruit tree blossoms. We particularly liked his blog on how to look after our knees with a handy kneeling mat.
20-something Annabelle -
the face behind Life at no. 27
Twenty-something gardener and blogger, Annabelle, says that her allotment - plot No 27 - offers a good contrast to her corporate and university life. In this informal and chatty blog, she shares her journey as she learns to plant out and grow her own, including veggies like spring onions, carrots and beetroot.
You’ll love Annabelle’s blog on creating a wildlife pond for some baby frogs she inherited from her sister. And if you fancy tuning into some gardening chat, she has a monthly slot on Drystone Radio near Skipton, where she discusses all things green-fingered.
Two very thirsty gardeners
The note said: “you’re one of the first people to try this beer for around 4,000 years… remember that it’s…a challenging beer.”
Nick and Rich are the ‘Two Thirsty Gardeners’. They were more than happy to meet the challenge of sampling a bottle of Mesopotamian beer that a ‘beerologist’ made by brewing home grown skirret (an ancient relative of the parsnip and the carrot). Their conclusion: “Surprisingly, the beer smelled like… beer!”
The Two Thirsty Gardeners do also grow food to eat, but their first love is turning their produce into booze. We have to say, some of their recipes sound very intriguing, like this sweet summer cocktail made from anise hyssop, and this elderflower sparkle (aka elderflower champagne). Bottoms up.
Healthy rhubarb pudding from
Fennel & Fern
Ever wondered what to do with this season’s rhubarb harvest? Fennel and Fern’s blog has the answer with some appealing suggestions which include rhubarb gin, rhubarb and custard cakes, and healthy rhubarb pudding. Sounds delicious.
The creation of a collective of blogging gardeners hoping to inspire their fellow allotmenteers, Fennel and Fern describes itself as “a big happy team of organic gardeners who love the soil under our fingernails and munching on our home-grown veg”.
Southbourne gardener Victoria
in her potting shed
With plots in short supply, finding an allotment can be a challenge. To help you secure your patch of earth, blogger Victoria has written a handy guide full of advice on location, parking and site security. Reading this will definitely put you on the right track.
This helpful and informative blog includes other useful ‘how to’ guides to sowing, planting and growing. And once you’ve settled in and got going, there’s a section on how to use all that lovely fresh produce you’ve created. Why not start with some oh-so-good-for-you roasted beetroot?
Jibberjabberuk's CBO, Ness
What would you do if you were offered the chance to move to a better plot at your allotment site? In March 2016, Ness, the CBO (Chief Baking Officer) at Jibber Jabber UK said “yes please”.
Ness records the move via monthly postings on her blog – a great chance to follow the process of creating an allotment from scratch. By June, Ness and her family were already enjoying crops of gem lettuce, rhubarb and broad beans. We’re looking forward to seeing how they get on during the rest of the summer and beyond.
Rob with Winston, his
little allotment helper
Rob Smith, sometimes called the globetrotting gardener because of his job as airline cabin crew, recently won the BBC Allotment Challenge. His obsession with growing things started at his Grandfather’s knee, when he would be given a sweet for every Cabbage White butterfly he caught with an old fishing net.
Rob’s blog is stuffed full of great tips, like what it means if the leaves on your tomato plants are starting to curl – it’s too cold. He also shares a recipe for Apple Roses that’s simple but guaranteed to impress your friends. We couldn’t decide whether to call it food or art.
Jo Jo Yee - fresh from the
Big Allotment Challenge
Last year, Jo Jo was a finalist on BBC2’s ‘The Big Allotment Challenge’. Born in Malaysia, she spent most of her life in Australia before moving to the UK five years ago. Fusian Living is an expert fusion of stories from the kitchen and garden from a writer with a taste for the exotic.
Did you know you can grow lemongrass in the UK? Jo Jo used shop-bought fresh lemongrass stalks which she got to root by leaving the bases of the stems soaking in a glass of water in the kitchen. After two weeks, the roots had developed enough for her to plant them in pots. Check out her blog to see the results.
Gardener, Claire, loving being
at her allotment
Are you one of those people who likes to see something being done in order to fully understand it? If so, Claire’s blog is the place to go. As well as writing about her day-to-day growing experiences, Claire’s YouTube channel features over 350 videos covering a broad range of allotment related topics, from planting out and potting up to harvesting.
How would you like to encourage your kids to get involved in growing? Claire has written a series of children’s books that do just that. Her characters, Lottie and Dottie sow carrots, sunflowers and pumpkins, and are just the thing to inspire the next generation of allotment horticulturalists.
Pumpkins can keep you fed
in the ‘hungry gap’
Mother of three, Becky Dickinson has left the comfort of being in earshot of the M25 and moved to deepest darkest Devon, where her new allotment keeps her busy. Her blog is honest, humorous, laugh out loud funny in parts, and teeming with stories about life both on and off the allotment.
Becky deals entertainingly with subjects from crop rotation (if you wear the same pair of jeans day in day out, they’ll end up knackered) to accidentally naming her daughter after a potato (no, Anjas wasn’t conceived at the allotment). Highly entertaining.
Giant onion growing success
from allotment diarist, Dan
Where do you sit on the size doesn’t matter spectrum? Dan, whose blog, Allotment-Diary, has a whole section dedicated to World and UK Giant Vegetable Records, is clearly on a mission to go big. This year he’ll be growing giant onions, carrots and marrows to enter into the Giant Exhibition Show.
Dan has a plan. In 2013, he managed to reach 9lb 12oz with his prize onion, but this year he’s determined to reach “the magical 10lbs I really want to achieve”. To make sure that happens, he has sowed the seed cultivated by ex-World’s Biggest Onion record holder, Peter Glazebrooks. Serious stuff.
Allotment castle for
John, at Allotment Heaven, signed up for his first plot ten years ago and set about creating a little patch of heaven with sheds, ponds, chicken coop, polytunnel, greenhouse…the lot. Then in 2014 he moved allotments and started again!
John has acquired a huge amount of experience which he shares generously. On allotment security, he highly recommends that you set up an allotment watch scheme and report every incident to the police. On allotment history, he traces progress from the time of the Saxons right through to the 21st century. Want to know how to build a fruit cage or polytunnel? John tells you how.
Sophie and Ade, the urban
allotmenteers, go on
The Agents of Field, aka Sophie and Ade, are on a mission to grow and cook their own from plot 23D. The pair have twenty years in film and TV production behind them and put it to good use as they film, photograph, write and blog about their experiences growing and cooking from their veggie plot on the outskirts of London.
The deal is, he grows, she cooks. And my word does Sophie cook. Her fabulous roasted roots soup makes us almost look forward to winter: Carrots, parsnips and beetroot, roasted with home grown garlic and thyme. And all from the fruits of Ade’s labour. Lovely.
Are you an allotmenteer as well? Share your plot pictures (and shed pictures!) on our Facebook page for the world to see!