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How To Grow Potatoes

February 1st, 2012 by Karsten

Like I promised in my post yesterday - today I’m going to announce a new sister website to Allotmenteer.co.uk. I’ve toyed with plans for some time, to set up a series of websites which are relevant to not only allotment plotholders, but gardeners in general.

My focus in the first place is going to be on the ‘grow your own’ audience - because that is the group of gardeners I most can identify myself with - but rather than just putting the information on a website for allotment plotholders, I put it on a website that caters for a wider audience.

In theoty that should benefit both websites, in terms of visitors, and in terms of quality of information,

So, the first of the sister websites is full to the brim with advice on how to grow potatoes, complete with information on different settings and growing media, and a full list of the most popular, commercially available seed potatoes.

If you are planning on growing potatoes on your allotment plot this season, now is a really good time to start looking around for the variety of potatoes you want to grow, and put in an order for seed potatoes so you can start them chitting.

I hope you’ll take a bit of time to go and have a good look at How-To-Grow-Potatoes.co.uk - that you find the website useful - and that you’ll let me know how you think I could make the site even better by posting a comment below.

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I’ve Lost The Plot?

January 31st, 2012 by Karsten

Reading the headline for this post, you could indeed be forgiven for thinking that I’ve gone crazy, round the bend or what ever saying might work for you. I’m happy to tell you - that’s not the case - in that sense anyway!

But - in terms of my allotment plot - yes, I’ve had to let it go! It was a hard decision to make, because over the first couple of years working on it, I put hours of hard work that I never got to reap the rewards of.

The trouble is - and let this serve as a warning for those of you who are looking to get an allotment plot -  that to successfully run an allotment takes time. And lots of it! Try and combine it with a full time job, looking after a young family and so on, and you truly do have a job on your hand.

I’m not going to tell you that it can’t be done - just that I couldn’t! You may well be in a different position than me, but if you can’t devote at the very least ½ an hour a day to your plot, plus 1-2 hours every Saturday/Sunday, then allotmenteering is not for you!

You don’t need to ask for weeds to grow on your plot. They will! Your produce will need watering and tending to. Having an allotment plot is hard work - but also very satisfying.

Now - you may ask - where does that leave things with regards to this website? How can I be a webmaster, and not have an allotment plot? Good question!

It’s not like I’ve done much on the website either over the last couple of years, but my knowledge and experience hasn’t left me when I gave up the plot. So, I’ve decided to keep this website running, because it’s still a source of information for a lot of people visiting.

I’m probably going to be doing things over the next 3-4 months to freshen things up a bit, and maybe give updates on growing vegetables at home, since I’ve now got a good sized back garden where I can do this.

One thing I’m definately going to do, is to provide more information for allotment gardeners, whether on this website, or on sister websites. The first of those sister websites will be announced tomorrow, but looking on the menu to the left could give things away.

Feel free to check back tomorrow - if you can’t solve the riddle.

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Back To Square One

April 23rd, 2011 by Karsten

I’ve just checked back in to my allotmenteer site - after an absence stretching over 2 years - to get the site up and running again. In saying that - the site has actually done quite well in terms of visitor numbers - it’s just that I haven’t done anything to keep it updated.

I have to admit that it’s pretty much the same with my allotment plot. I’m basically back to where I started about 5 years ago, only my plot is in a slightly better condition due to all the hard work I put in those first couple of years.

Digging the soil on my plot now shows clearly that it’s been beneficial to dig in those tonnes of organic matter - I now have plenty of worms working my soil - so it’s all good.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to tend to my plot over the past two seasons, mainly because it has been totally infested with marestail weeds, successfully taking over all growing areas. Anyone who has been dealing with marestail is well aware what that means. They are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and though you wouldn’t think they can stop vegetables etc. from growing - they do!

This year I have tried to dig a part of the plot over, painstakingly removing as much of the marestail roots as possible, but I’m looking to take another couple of methods in use. I’ve found a systemic weed killer, called Kibosh, which apperas to deal with the marestail very well.

The problem that Glyphosate based weed killers have is with penetration, so another method I’m going to try out is injecting RoundUp into some of the marestail plants.

I am, of cause, going to keep all site visitors up to date with any developments.

Another thing I’m going to do this season is to get my wormeries back up and running, and post about those developments on these pages as well. As I go along I’m going to put together a guide on how to build a wormery, which I’ll make available for download, and also a guide to take things to the next stage and build a real worm farm on your plot.

Watch this space!!!

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What? Easter already? Time to get stuck in!

April 10th, 2009 by Karsten

It’s amazing how time just passes by! It’s easter weekend already, and while I haven’t done an awful lot on my plot since last update, there’s a few things I can tell you all about.

Easter weekend is usually the time of the year when most allotment plotholders start to get really busy. I’m no different! Before this weekend is over, I’m going to have my plot rotovated and ready for sowing/planting out.

Ironically I had a letter from the local council yesterday, to inform me that a ground maintenance officer had been on site and found my plot in a non-cultivated state. Those guys make me laugh! They obviously don’t know enough about ground maintenance to see that all weeds have been sprayed, and that the weedkiller have done its job. I wonder how they can get paid in excess of £20K a year!

On a more positive note, I’ve picked up my seed potatoes for this year a couple of weeks ago, and they are chitting away at the moment. This weekend my early tubers will go in the ground, while the others will be left until the end of the month. This year I picked my seed potatoes from a local farmer, at an absolute bargain price, so if you’re anywhere near a professional potato grower, you’d do yourself a favour by paying them a visit.

The downside is that they may not have the specific variety you’re after (they didn’t in my case), but, the value for money, their expertice and advice, not to forget the passion for growing spuds takes some beating! My farmer friend told me everything there is to know on the subject, and threw a few very rare tubers on the box of seed potatoes I bought of him. Price: £10.00! Would have cost me no less than £40 from the garden centre! And you guys have a new info-sheet on growing potatoes coming up soon…..

Also, the seed for all my vegetables are ordered and in the post as I’m writing this! I placed my order online again this year, due to the amazing selection you get in comparison to the shops. I bought my vegetable seeds from Dobies - but you can go with any of the seed retailers that I link to in the menu bar on the right - as they’re all more or less the same.

This will do for now - but I’m sure there’s going to be more updates coming in the next few days and weeks - as the allotment season gets into swing, so keep your eyes peeled.

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The First Day Of Spring

March 1st, 2009 by Karsten

Today is officially the first day of spring. Time to get started back at the allotment, and get the plot ready for a new season of growing.

I made the first proper visit to my plot yesterday, and spent a few productive hours, getting a few jobs done. I’m in the process of tidying up the plot, trying to recover from last years disaster. They say third time lucky, so fingers crossed, this is going to be my year!

I started out getting a fire going in my rubbish burner, a recycled oil barrel from a local garage, burning some old twigs and dried up weeds together with some bits of wood off my old greenhouse.

Next I cut back the Autumn fruiting raspberries, right down to the ground as you’re supposed to before the end of February. Talk about leaving things to the last minute ;-)

Also, my strawberry plants ended up fighting a losing battle last year with a bunch of buttercups. They’re not easy getting rid of when they first get hold, so I dug out 20 plants (a mix of mature plants and runners), and put them in some pots of compost. My plan is to build a strawberry terrace when I get the time, and put them on there i pots. Should be an awful lot easier to manage, both in terms of weeds and in terms of protecting them from pests.

Finally, I made short process of dealing with all the grass on the plot - the result of digging in fresh manure in the topsoil last year. I got out the knapsack and treated the lot of it with weedkiller. A bit sad in a way - but there’s just no way I can manage the plot without help - as time is a major issue.

All in all a rather productive weekend. If everything goes to plan I’m going to order some seed potatoes off eBay before the end of the day, because I think I might get a better deal here than with the commercial seed merchants. More on that later.

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The Allotment Info Sheets

February 4th, 2009 by Karsten

Something new has been added to the Allotmenteer.co.uk website: The Allotment Info Sheets!

Actually, the page from where you’ll be able to get your hands on (hopefully) a lot of these sheets in the future, has been online for a few weeks, but today the first sheet has been uploaded today.

The sheet goes into detail on “How To Dig Over Your Allotment Plot“, information that is already available on the site, but the sheet shows things off a bit differently and is 100% printer friendly.

I hope you’ll all like this new addition to the site, and judging from the amount of visits to the page about the info sheets, there’s definately interest out there. I’ll do my best to get some more sheets produced and uploaded in the coming weeks.

You can download the new info sheet from the link above, or visit the Allotment Info Sheets page from the menu on the left for full instructions.

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Ebay For Allotmenteers

January 21st, 2009 by Karsten

I suspect most visitors to the Allotmenteer.co.uk website will be familiar with eBay. After all it’s one of the most well known, and visited, websites in the world. Basically, eBay is the biggest car boot sale on the surface of the planet.

So, why would this be interesting to allotment plotholders? Good question! Let me try to come up with a few ideas that you might find useful:

  • Have you ever had a clearout of your shed, and come across stuff that’s of no value to you but might be good for someone else? Do you grow more produce and plants on your plot than what you can use yourself? eBay could be your ticket to earn a few extra quid, selling off some of this “unwanted” stuff. By all means, still share with your fellow plotholders, but there’s only so much they’d want as well.
  • Are you looking for a good deal on something you need for your plot. There’s more than a good chance that you’ll find it on eBay, and at a knock down price! As a matter if fact, you’ll struggle to think of something that can’t be found for sale on the site.
  • Perhaps best of all - if you’re looking to grow some unusual plants and produce on your plot - eBay is a treasure chest of everything from seeds - over plugs - to mature plants, many of them very unusual.

These are just a few good reasons to take a look at what’s on offer on eBay. Below you’ll see a banner with some current offers relevant to allotment plotholders, and an option to make your own search. Have fun on eBay….


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NEW!: The Allotmenteer Bookstore.

January 10th, 2009 by Karsten

As I promised in my previous post, 2009 is going to be a year where a lot of things will take place here on Allotmenteer.co.uk, and the first visible result is the newly opened Allotmenteer Bookstore.

The Allotmenteer Bookstore offers a wide range of allotment books and allotment DVD’s that will help you to make the most out of your allotment plot. You’ll find everything you need to know, right from allotment handbooks and vegetable growing guides, over organic allotment gardening, to books on how to make the most of your harvest.

While there’s a number of allotment books on these subjects, some of you may be happy to know as well that there’s a good number of allotment DVD’s available, all of which you can find in a separate section of the shop as well.

The Allotmenteer Bookshop has been set up in co-operation with Amazon.co.uk, a trusted and reputable online merchant, who will take and process any orders.

I hope you’ll enjoy this new addition to the site.

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Happy New Year

January 1st, 2009 by Karsten

Another year has passed and for many people, me included, it’s time to stop and take stock of the past year and make plans for the year ahead.

There’s no doubt about it – 2008 was a disappointing year for me as an allotmenteer – as well as a webmaster of this site. Things went badly wrong on my plot for the second year running, and so this site suffered as well, which is obviously not what I wanted.

In saying that though, I’m still determined to turn things around, and I’m still going to make a successful allotmenteer and webmaster. I’m hoping it’s a case of third time lucky.

So – having a look ahead – what can you expect to find on this site in 2009, and what do I have planned for my plot in the season ahead (or coming seasons for that matter)?

My plans for Allotmenteer.co.uk has always been, and still is, to create an online community for allotment plotholders, and vegetable growers alike. I get a lot of people looking by the website, many of them new visitors, for tips on how to plan an allotment plot, and how to prepare it for a new season.

I’m happy with this, but I find it’s time to start taking things to the next level, so what I’m going to do is this:

  • Start building a library of “Info Sheets” for all allotment favorites, starting with the most popular vegetables.
  • Dig down into the world of composting (essential for any allotmenteer), particularly the benefits of composting with worms.
  • Start a forum where allotmenteers can sign up to have their questions answered, share their knowledge and just have plain fun.
  • Report more happenings from my own plot.

In terms of things that I hope to accomplish on my plot this season are:

  • To get a decent crop :-)
  • Get my plot freshened up, looking a bit more like a great vegetable garden.
  • Build a worm composting facility (a real worm bed rather than just a few wormeries)
  • Get a greenhouse built on my plot in time for next season.

As you can tell there’s enough for me to be getting on with, aside from the small matters of going to work and running a family, which for some people is enough work in itself.

Here’s to a productive and prosperous 2009 for all allotmenteers and vegetable growers.

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Time Flies….

August 26th, 2008 by Karsten

Wow! Wait a minute. I just remembered that I have this website on allotmenteer.co.uk, logged in, and noticed my last posting to the site dates back nearly 4 months!

OK - let’s say it was during winter this happened - you could sort of understand. But as it happens summer is nearly gone, and this place should be bustling with reports of a bountyful harvest from my plot, so why is it that nothing has happened?

I’m afraid that this season has been another disastrous one for me! The two main reasons being lack of time due to work and family commitments, and a massive, massive mistake I made at the beginning of the season. Let’s rewind……

My previous post read:

On top of that I have, over the last month or so, wheeled in an additional 2-3 tonnes of manure, and spread it in a 2 inch layer on top of the soil. Yesterday most of it was turned into the soil by rotovator (I still need to run over parts of it another time or two), so my entire plot is now ready for sowing and planting out.

I have now learned the hard way! Never - never ever - use fresh manure on your top soil! :-)

Now - some of you may want to know why? Simply because seeds that would have been part of the diet of the animals that produced the manure may not have been digested properly (this is particularly true for grazing animals), and so they will germinate and grow on your plot.

Result? When I came back from my holiday at the end of May, my plot looked like something in between a nice meadow and a lawn! Sad - but true! Now - it takes enough out of me to get the time to go and tend to whatever crops I’ve got, so having to weed out grass from all over the plot was simply more than I could bear to think about.

Needless to say - but most of my plot has been in a horrendous state through most of the season. In saying that though - I have had a decent crop of strawberries, peas, raspberries and beetroot. Also I have had a few carrots - and a few brassicas that I don’t yet know how will turn out. Oh - and my sons sunflowers have been a tremendous success - second season on the run!

I have learned my lesson! I shall get up - brush off the dust - and move on! Success on my plot will happen the third time around - and I’m still adamant that this site will evolve into a valuable ressource for allotment plotholders and/or vegetable growers in the UK and world wide.

Just watch this space…. :-)

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