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We can’t wait to see it looking tidy and green
Meet our Grower of the Month for March 2021, Josh & Steph’s Allotment (@adayintheleaves). Having taken over a massively overgrown plot last year, Josh & Steph have been busy getting the plot ready for growing. Read on to find out all about their plans for the plot, and what they are most excited about.
How and when did you start gardening/growing?
Steph moved to her family home at the start of the lockdown where her sister had a plot. Steph and I actually met on line around the start of lockdown so couldn’t meet until restrictions started to ease over the summer. As we had to spend a lot of time outside, we of course focussed a lot on the allotment. We then found out in October ’20 that the allotment had plots available and no waiting list so we took the opportunity and got our own.
How has your garden changed since you first started growing?
When we took the plot over, it hadn’t been cared for in at least 4 years. So it was massively overgrown and definitely a project. We set about trying to get on top of all the weeds as a start then since then have worked on introducing some no dig beds as well as three traditional double dig beds to see which works best. We’ve thrown in some DIY paths with edging made from recycled pallets and covered in wood chip from Josh’s work. Slowly but surely it’s starting to look as though we’re winning and we can’t wait to see it covered in green shoots soon.
What do you grow? Do you have a favourite plant/vegetable/crop, and why?
We haven’t had a first harvest off our plot yet! However, we’ve selected a few seeds to start early in the growing season as we have limited space. They’re garlics, shallots, onions and sweet peas. Our aim is to grow bits that we know we’ll utilise a lot of, such as the garlics and onions, potatoes, carrots, strawberries and raspberries to name a few. We’ll be growing some wildflowers and sunflowers too as there is a lack of flowers on our allotment so we’ve chosen them specifically to attract pollinators.
What is your typical day like, when it comes to tending to your garden?
It usually starts with a good cup of tea! We both work so we only manage to get up the allotment at the weekends currently. Once we have a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich in us, we’ll head up to the plot with another flask of tea and some more snacks! Over the last few months we’ve spent a lot of time on weed control and double digging our three beds. When the weather hasn’t been as favourable we’ve been in the workshop working on our path edging. As the plot becomes more established and the weather improves we’re hoping to be able to spend more time their socially rather than working.
What do you enjoy most about growing/gardening?
We’ve really enjoyed watching the transformation of our space as we’ve taken it from such an overgrown state. We’ve been able to focus a lot of time on it throughout lockdown! We cannot wait to be able to use our own produce in our cooking, those first roast potatoes can’t come soon enough!
What tips would you offer to other gardeners/growers?
We’re trying really hard to spread the planting of our crops, so we don’t get everything ready at once! If you plant early in their season too, be aware of the last frost for your area as you don’t want large plants getting frost damage. Also, as Steph discovered last year, you don’t need to plant every seed in the packet otherwise you’ll end up with a ridiculous amount of pumpkins and courgettes. Oh, and if you’re unsure, there’s probably someone on instagram who knows… it’s such an amazing community so just ask away!
What are some of the benefits of using coir-based products?
We’ve heard lots of great things, but never used it ourselves so we’re still yet to find out! The big benefits to us is that coir is reusable, peat free and free from any herbicides.
What are your future plans for your garden?
We’re debating a few different options for the last patch on our plot, all involving some DIY, from sunflower walls with integrated herb planters, to rain catchers and seating areas! We of course need to get a lot of our first crops into the ground and we can’t wait to see it looking tidy and green!