Considering taking on an allotment? These amazing allotment bloggers will help you on your journey to homegrown fruit and veg. With practical tips, sage advice and serving suggestions for your bumper harvests, these are the blogs and YouTube channels to bookmark as you aim for your own slice of ‘the good life’.
Ever dreamed about living the ‘Good Life’ - giving up the city job and moving to the countryside for a more natural, less stressful existence? Tanya of Lovely Greens did just that, and now ten years on, she’s growing fruit and veg as well as making her own homegrown, organic skincare on the Isle of Man.
Looking to start a vegetable plot from scratch? Tanya believes it’s best to get the groundwork done in winter rather than wait for the warmer months when “there’s generally a lot more to do in a lot less time.” She also recommends making wood chip garden paths around your beds. Not only do they suppress weeds, they provide a safe and easy way to navigate around your garden.
Green Lane Allotments
Did you know that before the allotment boom in the late-noughties, plots were super easy to come by? Avid gardeners Sue and husband Martyn started with just one in the 1980s, but by 2005, they had acquired an impressive five sites - all of which they still maintain today! With years of green-fingered experience, Green Lane Allotments and its sister site A Gardener's Weather Blog are packed with nuggets of tried-and-tested wisdom.
In the past, Sue explained that they’ve “had trouble harvesting plums and greengages as wasps like the ripe fruits as much as we do.” Not to be discouraged, this clever pair have come up with a great solution to deal with fruit-hungry wasps - homemade ‘waspinators’! These cruelty-free deterrents take just a few minutes to make. Watch her simple video tutorial to see how.
Steve’s Seaside Life
Question. Over the course of a year, how much food do you think can be grown by two people? You’ll be astonished to learn that in 2020, husband and wife team Steve and Debbie grew around 10,000 meals for themselves, friends and family. Amazing!
Gardening just a mile away from the Lancashire coastline, ex-business & IT strategist Steve now shares his experience of intensive growing through his allotment blog: Steve’s Seaside Life. His successful YouTube channel is also packed with useful information. Want to know the best fruits and vegetables for an early crop? Try starting your hanging basket strawberries and container-grown courgettes in a polytunnel to get them off to a flying start.
Set up as a simple blog to chart green-fingered Mike’s progress at the allotment, Flighty’s Plot has transformed into a fully-fledged gardening resource over the last 14 years. We love the regular windowsill updates that chart his propagating progress with things like sunflowers and cosmos, and his little tips like the secret to successful carrots. Spoiler alert - remembering to plant them in late June helps to avoid carrot fly!
If you want to try your hand at more exotic vegetables, Mike has some great posts about how to grow sweetcorn. With over 20 plants, he’s expecting one of his best hauls yet. He also grows traditional favourites like onions and potatoes - this year he’s trying out Pentland Javelin alongside his favourite spuds, Charlotte and Desiree.
Carrot Tops Allotment
When taking on a new allotment or starting again on an existing plot,Adam of Carrot Tops Allotment suggests that it’s wise to simply ‘step back and smell the roses’ to get your priorities straight. For Adam, 2018 was the turning point for re-focusing his allotment goals and paying more attention to the pollinators and creatures that share his green space.
With that in mind, he cleverly transformed scrap wooden pallets into a bug hotel. Not only did this help clear his plot, but he’s hoping that he’ll attract desirable solitary bees and ladybirds, which will in turn, help “keep the ecosystem of the plot in check.”
Are you one of those people who likes to watch tutorials rather than read instructions? If so, Claire’s YouTube channel, featuring over 500 videos on a broad range of allotment related topics from planting out to harvesting, is the place to go. Her blog, Claire’s Allotment, is also a fantastic resource - check out her first onion harvest of the year. It’s a whopper!
If you want to encourage your kids or grandkids to get involved with 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 growers.
Gardening for over twenty-five years, Nigel from MuddyBootz is a firm favourite in the horticultural YouTube space. With nearly 300 videos covering practical advice on everything from successional seed sowing, to planting winter onions and growing potatoes, this is a great channel for seasonal advice.
Have you ever grown kohlrabi? After leaving them slightly longer than anticipated, Nigel was amazed at how just one weekend of extra growing time made them swell in size! But they won’t go to waste. The bulb can be stored in a cool dark shed, and is delicious grated over summer salads.
Agents of Field
After swapping their London allotment for life in rural Suffolk back in 2018, Sophie and Ade from Agents of Field are on a mission to live simply, eat seasonally and dine off the produce from their kitchen garden. Never shy to experiment, Ade is willing to try most crops, sharing a great post about how to grow romanesco after a few failed attempts. Perseverance has paid off, as it’s the only vegetable available to harvest in April.
If you’re looking for something to serve with an autumnal cup of tea, just try this pumpkin and apple cake! And how about Sophie’s ‘plot pizza’? With freshly harvested green peppers, courgettes and homemade tomato sauce, this is a great way “to use up the last of the summer crops in one final, colourful burst of home-grown deliciousness!”
Alan’s Allotment - manVsSlug.uk
Watering is not as simple as you first think, says Alan from ManVsSlug: “90% of health-related plant questions are due to watering, and of those, probably 90% are down to overwatering.” So before you start sowing and growing a new plant, check out Alan’s 7-point watering guide - one not to miss!
A structural engineer by trade, Alan is an allotment innovator with plenty of ideas to share.
How about turning your greenhouse into a TARDIS - a solution that not only makes your greenhouse look out of this world, but also provides much-needed shade to delicate plants and seedlings. Or if you’re looking for a solution to stop foxes from digging up your early potatoes, Alan suggests starting them in buckets and topping them with baking trays!
Thinking about growing more perennial veg at your allotment? Check out The Backyard Larder blog by Alison Tindale. For the past few years, her whole plot has been dedicated to growing these easy vegetables. Requiring little feeding, she says “they’re often less hungry than annual vegetables because their deeper, more extensive root systems can mine more soil for food.”
Growing purple tree collard? Read Alison’s advice before the cold weather kicks in. As she says, despite being hardy to around -6?, these perennials can still suffer if it dips slightly below their threshold. The moral of the story? “Take cuttings in late summer, and keep them under cover during the coldest weeks of the winter.”
Erica’s Little Welsh Garden
Looking to transform your garden while saving money at the same time? Over at Erica’s Little Welsh Garden, Erica suggests making your own homemade nettle fertiliser rather than buying in loads of expensive compost to get started. It’s a thrifty tip that produces great results.
After moving her family to a quiet home in the Welsh Valleys, Erica’s main goal is to become completely self-sufficient. Another step on her journey to growing more organically is to trial no-dig beds. Watch her video to see how she gets on.
After taking on a completely wild and abandoned allotment in March 2020, JB started his YouTube journey to document the process of bringing it back to life. Naturally JB was born, and what a journey it has been!
How well do you know your onions? If you haven’t checked them in a while, take a leaf out of JB’s book and inspect them for early signs of ‘white rot’. His nerve-wracking harvesting video shows what to look for, and if you find it, what to do. He recommends harvesting the entire crop, even if it’s still on the small side.
Have these allotmenteers inspired you to sign up for your own plot? If you’re just starting out, find out how to choose the best shed for your allotment to keep your tools safe and secure. Share your stories and pictures on the Waltons Facebook page - we love to see them!
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