Dores
  


 
 

Dores Allotments

John's plot 2013

6th November 2013

 

My 2nd year on the allotment and it's been a huge success. During the winter I dug the final third of the plot that I didn't use last year and I manured the bottom half of the plot that hadn't been manured before.

Here's what I grew and how it fared.

Potatoes:

Last year you may remember I had a great problem with slug damage and lost about a third of my crop. No such problems this year, probably down to the dry summer we had, although I did pick the varieties Desiree and Golden Wonder as they are reputed to be slug resistant.

Epicure - Earlies. First time I've grown earlies and it was a great success, they started cropping chipsin early July and kept us in potatoes until the main crop was dug in September. Discovered that if you par-boil these potatoes and then deep fry they make the best chips ever.

Desiree - Main crop. Like the Epicure these did amazingly well. From two bags of seed potatoes I planted two rows and cropped about 80kgs of tatties. They are all stored under the house in muslin sacks. Hopefully they'll keep until they are needed.

Golden Wonder - Main Crop. After I dug desiree I was excited to see these, what a disappointment. Most were very small and from the same size planting of twos rows all I cropped was about 30kgs and most are too small to use. Wont be growing them again, next year I plan to try Rooster instead.

Onions:

Hi-Tech onions are heat treated so they are less prone to bolting.

Red Hi-Tech: Very poor crop for the 2nd year running, to be fair I had a similar problem to last year, I planted them next to my potatoes which grew very tall and then flopped over the onions. Having said that it didn't affect the white onions. Don't think I'll bother with red onions again, which is a shame as we use them in the kitchen quite a lot.

White Hi-Tech: Great crop from these, wont have to buy onions until well into next year. They suffered a little from being covered by the potatoes plants (see above), the bulbs are not as big as last year, but still a great crop. They've been drying in a sheltered area at the back of the house, ready for storing.

Spring Onions: Never had much success with these, so didn't hold out much hope when I planted a row from seed. Wrong. They went mad and I've barely used a third of the row. hopefully they wont be too badly affected by the weather and we can keep cropping through the winter.

Leeks:

I grew Musselburgh from seed in pots and then planted out once the frost had gone. Not cropped any yet, but they are doing well and should be harvesting right through the winter.

Strawberries:

Planted misted tip plants last August, had a great crop of strawberries, some beautiful big fruits too.

In August I cut off and potted up about 50 runners which had rooted and in October when these had started to grow I planted out a row back to the allotment. Only this time I planted them on a raised hump, covered it with agricultural matting and then planted them through it. The idea being it will help the soil warm up in the spring so should get an earlier crop, it will keep the fruit off the ground so they should be less likely to rot and will suppress the weeds. We'll see how they do.

Brassicas:

Cauliflower: Disaster. I don't think the plants had a chance to get their root systems established before we had that long dry spell in June and July, as a result nearly every plant wilted and died. Had 1 picking. Very disappointing.

Cauliflower Romanesco: Bit of an experiment, but suffered from the same drought problem as the standard white cauli. Crop of 1!!

Cabbages: I grew two varieties, an early and a winter cabbage. All the plants were ravaged by the caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly, strange because I didn't have a problem with them last year. The winter cabbage was damaged the worst, the earlies were tighter balls so the caterpillars couldn't get at the leaves so easily. Still not a bad crop, should keep us in cabbage right through the winter.

I might give cauliflowers a try again next year, I'm sure it was he weather causing problems and they are one of my favorite vegetables. I'll also try some broccoli.

Beetroot:

Same as last year, have more beetroot than we know what to do with. Would you like some? Just ask when you see me.

Carrots:

Grew an early variety and an Autumn Nant type. After last years failure I grew them in the part of the allotment that was not manured this year. Much more successful, have a great crop. At first I thought the earlies hadn't done well as when I looked at the tops they were very small, but when I dug a few up they were very long roots.

Unfortunately some animal, I suspect a badger, discovered my carrots and dug up a whole row. I discovered the hole in the fence where he was getting in and blocked it before he could find the other two rows.

Gooseberries:

These were the first thing I planted when I started work on my plot in January 2012. They did incredibly well, we made pies, jams and there's some in the freezer for wine.

Blackcurrants:

These were bare roots plants that I put in last winter and they produced a lovely big crop for their first year. Mostly used for jam, plus there's a crumble in the freezer.

Broad Beans:

Not a great crop, but reasonable. Some I planted as seed into the ground in February others I grew at home and put out as young plants. The germination rate of the February seeds was not great other than that I don't think there was much difference between the two. Next year I'll definitely grow them all at home.

French Beans.

Grew these at home from seed and then planted out. Cropped and cropped and cropped. Lovely beans, been giving them away too, will definitely grow again.

Squashes:

Bit of an experiment, a few fruits, not tried one yet. Don't think I'd bother with them again.

Pumpkin:

Saw the plants in the garden centre in the spring and decided to give one a try. From that single plant I had too huge pumpkins. Made soups, pie and froze a lot for stews during the winter. Will grow again, although may look at another type of squash.

Spinach:

Grew a perpetual variety in ground not manured this year but it did exactly the same as in 2012. Grew very rapidly and bolted. Next year I'll try a non perpetual variety.

Italian Flat Leaf Parsley:

Another experiment, grew from seed straight into the ground. It cropped and cropped and cropped. Even parts of the row where I cut it down to the ground it grew back and I cropped again. Apart from using it in stews and various recipes it makes a great garnish on B&B breakfasts. A definite for 2014. Might even try a curly leaf variety too.

Lettuce - Little Gem:

Like the parsley, planted from seed, went mad and we had more than we knew what to do with. They don't keep well in the ground and quickly go to seed, so next year I will plant successions, say 1/4 of the row at a time.

Garlic:

Never had much success in the past with this, but went to a food show at Cawdor Castle in September and the Really Garlicy Co. were selling bulbs for growing, so I bought 4. Enough for a row, just starting to peep through so we'll see how they do. Should crop in early summer.

Sweet Corn: Mini-pop:

A mini variety and they cropped really well, but we didn't really use them much so don't think I'll bother again. Next year I'm going to try a full sized sweet corn, a variety that's supposed to ripen early or one bred for cooler climes.

courgettes:

Planted these between the sweet corns, six plants grown from seed. I've been giving them away because once they started they produced more fruits than we could possibly use.

Flowers:

Last year I grew some flowers for cutting, for use in the B&B hall, guest bedrooms, breakfast room, that sort of thing, this year I grew a few more.

It's been a huge success, had vases of flowers all over the house since late June, even been giving bunches away.

Will definitely grow more varieties next year.

Statice: Just grew the blue ones, have picked bunches and bunches, they look great in a vase as a foil with other flowers, especially green gladioli. Again a definite for next year but I'll grow a mixture of colours this time.

Dahlias: I bought some tubers of large flowered varieties and planted some seeds. They all flowered well, but the large flowered varieties were much more successful for cutting. The others tended to loose their petals quite quickly and/or wilt. My plan is to lift the tubers in the next week or so and store them over the winter, the large flowered varieties will go back onto the allotment next year, the others I will use in the garden.

Gladioli: They don't grow well in the garden, so was delighted that they did exceptionally well on the allotment. Have had great vases full for months. Particularly liked the green variety "Green Star". Like the dahlias, will lift them once the leaves start to die and will store them for planting out next year.

 

 

Sunflowers: Grew two varieties, Teddy Bear a double orange and a bush variety (image left). They both flowered well but Teddy Bear went over quite quickly, whereas the other variety went on flowering for weeks. Will grow different varieties next year.

Wallflowers: I planted two rows of seeds, one white and one pink, back in June. In September once the summer bedding in the garden was coming to an end I transplanted the wallflowers, by now good strong plants, into the garden ready for flowering in the Spring. We'll see how they do.

Cottage Garden Mix: I planted a packet of mixed flower seeds (calendula, clarkia, cornflower), they grew incredibly well and looked great on the plot, but most of the varieties were useless as cut flowers, which was the purpose. Wont do this again, but will plant for varieties for cutting, just ones I choose myself.

 

In Summary

Been delighted with the allotment this year.

Biggest problems this year have been weeds and caterpillars. The weeds were my fault, they grew very little during the dry spell in June and July and I got complacent, once it rained they grew very fast and before I knew it they'd taken over parts of the plot, cabbages and strawberry plants are swamped, will try and weed the strawberries in the next couple of weeks.

The caterpillars attacked the cabbages, and like the weeds this was my fault. Last year there were none, so I took the netting off early because weeding was a problem. Before I knew it there were hundreds, good for the butterfly population, not so good for my cabbages. I have to come up with a better method of covering my brassicas next year, a netting I can easily remove for weeding and then replace.

Very little slug problems, in contrast to 2012. They attacked my sunflowers when I first planted them but that was about it.

What have I been particularly pleased with?

Soft fruits, like strawberries and gooseberries. The strawberries were fat and sweet, best I've ever tasted. Potatoes, parsley, pumpkins were a big surprise, leeks, french beans, courgettes, carrots and beetroot. And all the flowers did well, although some I planted were not too useful as cut flowers (which was the purpose).

Next year?

Like last year I tended to plant things too close together, the potatoes flopped over the onions in the wind, the dahlias grew much larger than I expected and swamped beetroot (which didn't seem to care) and carrots (which did). The squash and pumpkins swamped the French beans making them wither and die before their time. Other things grew into each other, making weeding difficult, will try and learn this lesson for next year.

 
 

 
           


Created by Pottery House Loch Ness B&B on behalf of Dores & Essich Community Council. Copyright © 2017