A novice's guide to producing his own food

At long bloody last

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Progress so far. The fruit cage is at the top left.


I open nearly every new post with the same(-ish) phrase: “I’ve been hellishly busy on the allotment”. Not only is it boring, but it’s true. Just now, I’m juggling three distinct elements, none of which are complete. There’s the conversion of what was a neglected site,  then there’s getting seeds in the ground and, thirdly, I’m trying to keep on top of the weeds.      

Five out of the six raised beds are built, and I’m currently finishing off the fruit cage. Just got to get the netting on, and I’m done. It’s taken a lot more work than I thought, and I had to concrete eight posts into the ground, then put beams around the outside to hold the net. It’s the only major structure on any of the allotments, and I’m sure everyone else thinks I’m crazy. Probably a lot of that has to do with the fact I’m spending far more time and money than anyone else.       

One of the reasons I’ve waited until now to write my latest post, is I wanted to see the plants springing to life. For a long time, nothing seemed to grow at all, and at one point I was getting really fed up. Winter was never coming to a proper end. Then the weather took a sudden turn – the air heated up, and finally we got some action. The change was remarkable. There was only two days between me being pished off and wondering if it was all worth it, to me getting excited again.      


The potatoes, in particular, had been getting me down. I’d taken considerable care in chitting and planting them, and everyone else’s were starting to show,but mine had little growth. That was a week ago. Now, every single one of the 96 seed potatoes has shown itself, and they all look fabulously dark green and healthy.      

The potato bed. Check out those weeds. I’ve already had two goes at it. It’s the main peril of going organic. Still, the potato plants seem happy enough


I’ve also started logging what I do in a wee notebook, which I keep in the shed. Helps me to know when I planted what, and therefore when I’ll get results. Here’s what I’ve written so far:      

  • April 16 – Planted first row of carrots
  • April 24 – Dug over the leek and brassica beds, started laying paths, and netted my peas.
  • April 25 – Planted all the Celio seeds (not sure if the Celio is a broccoli or a cauli, but I can’t wait for it take off. Looks nuts), planted first row of borlotto beans, and put up two fence posts for the bees.
  • May 2 – Weeded the onion bed, planted second lot of courgettes (after checking the first lot had survived).
  • May 3 – Weeded the first and second early potato beds, and started putting in the posts for the fruit cage.
  • May 7 – Planted broccoli seeds, and the first row of leaks which I’d grown from seed in the shed.
  • May 13 – Planted Brussel sprouts seeds in the shed. I’d bought hugely expensive seeds which were £2.99 for 15, but the packet swears that virtually all will germinate, and the they’ll produce a fantastic crop. Also earthed up the spuds, as I noticed the tips of the leaves got a little frost damage.
  • May 14 – Weeded onion beds, planted 42 young leeks and another row of carrots.
  • May 17 – Staked the beans (which were growing nicely), weeded the peas, and planted the last of the leeks.

That’s the story so far. It’s not quite up to date, but (believe it or not) it was just after May 17 that I started writing this post. Shocking

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