Allotment / Gardening Chat and Advice [2018-2019]

Following on from here I thought I’d start a thread dedicated to allotment chat, advice, local tips and, if it works out, a seed swap/plant exchange.
I have a plot in Brockley and have been doing it for a while but always willing to learn new tricks.

So to kick off - Has anyone sown any seeds yet?
I put my Chillis on last week and pleased to say that a few have popped their heads up.


I have not started yet. Too cold. We dont have a green house. I start planting seeds under cloche when it gets warmer. The same with the ground, will start cleaing and turning in March. But I alsways keep in mind that the latest plats should be planted out by the middle of May the latest and start planting out early types or ground sawing in late March, early April. Always worked for me.

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Thank you for starting the thread, already gave some questions…

Chilli Seeds - do they need to be in a propagator or just warm sunny spot?

Potatoes - Do most people tend to Chit them and if so when do you start?

I find that Chillis do best at a nice constant temp so I use a heated propagator but I don’t think it is essential. A warm spot will do if you can guarantee the temp won’t dip too low.
However some of the long season varieties take a long time to germinate so a propagator can be handy.
Chitting spuds - Personally I am not overly fused but I do chit my earlies (I don’t do that many) and I have them in the garage now. By the time I get my maincrop in they have started to sprout anyway but I don’t purposely chit them. Some folks are religious about chitting but I’m not overly sure it makes much of a difference on main crops…
@kat.standlake.point - Yes a bit early for anything really except chillis but it’s nice to see some green shoots. I have a poly tunnel in the garden which is really useful for getting stuff going a bit ahead of schedule - not quite as good as a greenhouse as it is a bit leaky!

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Hey Nick, great idea for a thread. This weekend I am gong to put my broad beans in pots. The idea is to get them well underway before the black fly season. Her indoors bought me a mini greenhouse (like the one in the picture here) for xmas so they will be protected from the icy cold. G2160%20Mini%20greenhouse%20ls%202%202000x2000%20with%20logo

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I overwinter mine and they either all die or I do really well - nothing in between!
This year going to try some as you suggest - get them potted up in the poly and plant out later…

Its so exciting isn’t it Nick, some of the signs of spring are appearing already, I heard the first blackbird singing yesterday morning at about 6.30 am as I walked to the station in the black freezing rain !
Have you heard one yet ?

I do believe so - we have a green alley out the back so we get a few birds in the garden and I saw a blackbird yesterday on the seeds that the sparrows and tits had chucked on the floor from the feeder.
Yes I have to resist the urge to get carried away in Feb. Green shots of life and the rhubarb popping up - all very exciting but we can still have another few weeks of freezing temps.
Ill have to make do with checking my seeds and looking at catalogs!

You are right Nick, but its a good time of year, because its all there ready to come and not a drop of it has been used up, like having all your money in the bank.

I’ve not started anything and still need to get my plot (or bits of it) ready for planting.

I’m not sure if I will have any spare this year, but I will aim to bring back some ‘spanish’ peas from my wife’s families farm in Spain which I’ve grown successfully in the garden the last 2 years and have outperformed the ones I bought in seed packets and happy to share some of these out next year if anyone wants to try them.

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Went to sort my seeds out yesterday and WEAVELS!
I guess some beans has one or two buried inside but they had hatched and were everywhere. Had to chuck out a lot of beans and then check all my packets for any strays…
Still an excuse for getting online and buying more seeds.
Right off to do some digging and building of compost bins!

I’m just digging for now but need to get around to compost bins next week as lots of grass to strim off and add to them.

Anyway got here just before 10 and it’s a beatiful day for it, if a bit windy

Also have this mustard plant I was going to dig up before being told what it was first time I’ve ever tasted a leaf that tastes of mustard - was great. If anyone on the site wants to come and sample one and take a cutting (not sure of they propogate that way) then feel free to pop down.


@oakr Nice to see you down there yesterday! Such a nice site and what a lovely day was yesterday - we got our Pallet compost area sorted and we have a couple of spare pallets if you need them, just help yourself - they are just laying around at the top of the plot.
Had to curtail the day somewhat when a large hailstorm arrived late afternoon!


Hi Nick - yes was good meeting you and your wife as well.

I’d love the pallets if you still have them - I’ll grab them Friday or Saturday if they are still there. I grabbed the other 2 by the hut also as I was told they were indeed left for anyone to take, so I’ll soon have my first composter!

I just avoided the hailstorm - it was an odd day weatherwise in the end!

I can’t wait to actually finish clearing an area and get something planted! I ordered some seeds last night - probably too many but let’s see. Am debating a polytunnel at the moment to grow tomatoes and cucumbers in, and maybe melons. First though clear the plot!


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Spent most of yesterday down there and will be back today. I grabbed 2 pallets - thank you very much. One was resting against your compost bins - if you actually anted that one and I’very taken it in error let me know as it’s not screwed in and I’ll drop it back down.

Hoping to get most of the beds down today and next weekend and then get some onions and garlic in. I was advised to start getting some tomatoes sown under cover around now which seemed early but I may give that a go.

That fine - pallets were left for you if you wanted them!
I still think it is early for toms - a lot of old timers get them going really early but you can’t plant them out till all risk of frost has gone which means they go leggy unless you have a nice greenhouse to harden them off in. I do an early variety, Red Alert, about the end of the month and the rest I leave until mid March. I do get itchy fingers now though and want to start going but having just been out into a frosty garden I know it is too early!

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There are some things you can get going with now @oakr. Nice progress on the plot mate - that looks like it is hard work with all the grass.
Garlic can go in now - no urgency but they will be fine if you wan’t to get something in. Same goes for onion sets too - no rush but they be perfectly happy - just plant them direct although can can plant them in pots indoors to get a head start/ Shannon’s has a pretty good selection.
Broad beans will also be fine with low temps but they are not to everyone’s taste. Likewise some people prefer to start them off in pots now and transplant later.
We just put in some Autumn raspberries - they should put on enough growth to get some fruit this year. Other fruit bushes can also go in now if you have space.
I have only sown peppers so far - hot and sweet as they don’t tend to bolt and go leggy like toms do, Other than that I will try some celeriac soon and then get really going in mid march…

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Great thread Nick. My boards for my raised beds arrived yesterday and I will start assembling those this week. Then its a ton of topsoil and some very well rotted compost to be mixed up. Hopefully still have time for garlic to go in. Want to try some salad ingredients and then move onto squashes and the season progresses. Have planned out my herb bed both potted and unpotted and once I get rid of a desperate old shed I plan to install a greenhouse. Also planting the first of my chilli seeds in the auto propagator along with some Thai Basil. Looking forward to starting the regrowth after the last 9 months of reclaiming the garden from everything that lives and is covered with thorns.

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Thanks Nick.I had a look at your plot when I left and it’s something for me to aim for!

My neighbours had their plot down with the tractor in I guess 30 minutes or so, so 4 visits in it’s slightly depressing we’ve still only done about 1/3 of the plot! I’m hoping hard work now pays later and I don’t start having nightmares about couch and dandelion roots! It’s not too bad, just a lot to clear, and it could be worse!

Going to get the bit we have cleared so far ready for planting in 1-2 weeks with onions and garlic, and realise now I have no chance to get the other bits ready in the next few weeks so focus on that and then move on. Hopefully taking a shed down next week, which then needs going up, and needs earth levelling (a lot!). All said still enjoying it!

Kids came down today and I’m pleased to report loved it. They did run over my newly turned soil and compacted it again to the best of their ability - for anyone else with kids their favourite bit was going into the compost bin ‘jail’ and escaping.

For anyone with kids, bar my debatable compost bin jail, I have found some of these recommended for growing for \ with kids:

Squash Turks Turban
Swan Gourd
Yellow Stuffer Tomatoes
Tiger Tomatoes
Multi-colour anything
Peas (straight off the pod)
Pumpkins (for Halloween) and Giant Pumpkins

I should add I’ve not grown a lot of this, first year trying for many.

Anyway, @kat.standlake.point and @Cara how are you getting on?


We did a bit yesterday - cleaned out the shed we took over and cleared the rubbish from the site - wasn’t that much and someone took most of the old plastic pots so they didn’t go to the skip which is good. Started on one bed - was hard work! Full of grass and tough to dig so is going slow.
Have some raspberries growing on the side of plot but not sure whether to cut them all back or if they will fruit on some of the stems. I’ve looked at some images online but still non the wiser.
I grew chillis last year from plants and saved some seeds so trying some of these out on the window sill at home (nothing sprouting yet) but will see!