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Fantasy Allotment Plans For 2013

Many of the gardening/allotment blog posts I have read over this past Christmas week had a similar theme of either planning for next years sowing and planting, or re-capping on this years successes and failures. Despite the common factor of too much rain, all of them were interesting in their own way. One or two blogs mentioned the possibility that gardeners and indeed farmers, may have to grow different types of crops to the "norm", in future, to offset the effects of both flooding and climate change. 2 gardening magazines which I have read recently expressed the same opinions.

 Are you attempting to grow different crops next year? Leave me a comment, I would be interested to know what differences may be taking place into the future. I will publish a post in mid 2013, on the outcome, if enough people are interested in commenting.

As for my 2 plots, (If I ever get plot N2 cleared of weeds), I will be sticking to the usual crops, I normally grow, next year. I usually order larger quantities of seeds, from my supplier, than the common sizes found in the majority of retail outlets, therefor it would be silly to waste the seeds I have left from last seasons order.

 I also received news today that I will be having my current hip replacement, replaced, in mid January. I expect to be out of action, down the plot for at least 3 months after that. Of course that will be well into the new sowing and planting season. I now have just over 20 days to finish clearing N2 plot, if the rain stops, which looks unlikely.

 I visited my plots on Sunday last, when I lifted several Leeks, another batch of Sprouts for Christmas dinner and I also harvested my Oca, (see my post of 13/3/2012), from the surviving 4 plants, on my old plot. The Oca was cooked for boxing day dinner and wasn't up to expectations. Not so much tasting of Potato with a Lemony tang, as just a bland very soft (mushy) Potato taste. The amount of tubers I harvested from the 4 plants was greater than expected but not enough to justify planting out in 15 or 20 foot rows over a large allotment area. The original 6 tubers that I purchased panned out at £1 each. So for my money not a crop to bother with again. I maybe wrong but the Oca could have been adversely affected by too much rainwater over their long growing period, or my cooking method (same as spuds) was incorrect.

Oca Cleaned
1 Large Bowl of Oca After They Were Cleaned

 Prior to last Sunday I managed 2 days down the plot, a week last Monday and Tuesday. The rain had held off for a while so another 2 foot of the central bed on N2 Plot was double dug and cleared of Dandelion roots and other weeds. I also managed to completely clear one of the smaller beds of weeds and double dig it, leaving one more smaller bed to complete from a total of 4. Heavy rain during most other days for the past fortnight has halted further progress. It was recently suggested to me that I should use the Dandelions to make wine from. I reckon if I did, I could supply half the country with Dandelion wine in the process?? (No checkout available by the way).


Main Plot 2013
My Main Plot 2013
N2 Plot 2013
N2 Plot Layout for 2013
I will be sowing/planting the following vegetables next season, weather and time permitting of course.

Beans Runner (Scarlet Emporer & Enorma) - seeds from this years plants.
Beans Climbing (Cobra) - seeds from this years plants
Beans Borlotti - ordering later
Beetroot Bolthardy - from this years seeds
Brussels Sprouts - 3 varieties from this years seeds
Cabbages Derby Day - from this years seed
Carrot - at least 3 varieties as early as possible
Chard - Not chosen yet
Cucumber - 2 Ridge varieties (none under glass)
Khol-rabi - Balot - ordering later
Leeks Musselburgh - from this years seeds
Lettuce - several different varieties (especially the B&Q mixed variety)??
Onions Ailsa Craig - maincrop 
Onion Senshyu - already sown and growing
Onion Salad - White Lisbon & Ramrod - from this years seeds
Parsnips Gladiator - from this years seeds
Peas Feltham First, Kevedon Wonder & Hursts Greenshaft from this years seeds
Potatoes Desiree - Main crop only, to be ordered
Pumpkin Atlantic Giant - from saved seed
Radish - undecided
Swede Marion - from this years seeds
Sweetcorn Lark F1 - ordering later
Tomatoes - A couple of indoor varieties only to be ordered later
Turnips Purple Top Milan - from this years seeds

Although todays weather has been mainly dry, cold and breezy, I can hear the rain just starting again. Think I will have another couple of minced pies and a cuppa.

There's always tomorrow.



  1. Hi John; First off, I'd like to wish you well for the hip-replacement-replacement op. Presumably you have worn out the first one with all that digging?!
    I will not be altering what I grow in 2013 on account of the weather. I think it is unwise to assume that on the basis of one bad year that every year from now on will be the same. I grow quite a few of the same varieties as you - Scarlet Emperor; Cobra; Boltardy; Gladiator, etc.
    What I WILL Be doing this time is cutting down the number of different things I grow, in order to try to get a bigger crop of each one.
    I had a great year for Runner Beans in 2012, so some things really do like the rain. I have seen advertised a bean that is a cross between the French and the Runner, which is self-pollinating (unlike Runners), so that might be worth a try when bees are as rare as they seem to be now.

    1. Hi Mark, Thanks for the good wishes, youcould be right about wearing my hip out digging, also my hip flask, which I keep in my left trouser pocket might have been rubbing against the hip joint whilst I was digging? You are probably right to stick with the same varieties at present. My Runner beans were good this year too, although they were slower to develop after planting out from pots. Adapting to different weather conditions rather than growing different crops (or both) might be the solution.

  2. We won't be changing things because of the weather conditions but maybe tweaking things a little due for other reasons - think of the last two years - one bone dry soil and the other soggy and wet. We have been gardening long enough to know that weather has always been changeable with very few perfect growing years. A few years ago we were being urged to grow drought tolerant plants in our gardens.

    1. I certainly remember being urged to try drought tolerant plants a while ago, one thing that did happen after that was, more people became aware of water shortages and began to conserve more water for gardening. One problem in my area 2 years out of the last 3 has been lack of prolonged sunshine due to full cover cloud. Tweaking things a little, at present would be sensible whilst we see if there are any drastic, permanent, changes to the British climate.

  3. Only had my allotment since last April so new to veg growing - I grew sacks of potatoes and onions so I will be doing that again. The runner beans and peas didn't do as well but I will start them off in the greenhouse this time - then the pesky partridges won't eat the seeds! I have been boringly normal as I planted lettuce, cabbage, cauls, carrots etc and will do so again but looking at your list I will add pumpkin this year. I love pumpkin soup.
    Hope the op goes well - keep blogging as I read this for advice and motivation!

    1. Hi Pat, Thanks for your comments. I'm not a great gardening expert and tend to stick with the "boringly normal" veggies, with the intention to try a few different veggies each year. Its always a good idea to have plenty of Potatoes and Onions. My Runner beans were good this year but were slow to develop after being planted out from pots, they like plenty of well rotted organic material underneath them. The peas I sowed direct did slightly better than the earlier ones, which were again planted out from pots, early Feb/March. As you know the weather at the beginning of this year was warm, cold then cold and wet so I think the plants were confused by it? Pumpkins were good this year, make sure you have plenty of space for each plant. I have just published a new page with all my top 10 hints and tips in one place. (Mark Willis'idea)


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