Allotment / Gardening Chat and Advice 2020 Thread


I’ve closed the previous thread which was here as it is quite lengthy read now and 2020 is virtually upon us!

Anyone who wants a plot on an allotment in Lewisham needs to apply visa the council for a maximum of 3 sites, but waiting lists tend to be quite long (5-6 years or longer for the ones I applied for).

You can alternatively apply for private ones, or ones in Bromley which are self managed, and some are quite close. Cricket Lane allotments (formerly Kent House Road allotments) and Kent House Leisure Gardens are both only a few minutes from Sainsbury’s Bell Green for example. To find allotments in Bromley you need to visit here as each allotment has diffferent application methods - you can apply for as many as you like in Bromley.

Of course, you can grow fruit, veg and flowers in gardens, balconies and pots. So what do people have planned for 2020 to grow? Anything new or recommended?

For me I’m going to finally try and grow some carrots and broccoli, and will be doing a lot of dwarf french beans, peas (my kids view them as sweets when eaten straight off the plant raw) and tomatoes, which again my kids love vs supermarket ones (they love Sungold type ones, and Black Russian) though I have 17 varieties to try out, not sure where to plant them. Will also do pumpkins for Halloween, more scallop squash and will try some different winter squash this year. Am undecided on whether to do potatoes this year.

Am going to try to get a fig tree also - I’ve read it’s better to have them in pots or a base that restricts the roots as you get better fruit this way - let’s see.

Flower wise am going to plant more lavender and borage to get more pollinators in, and more mint also.

Good luck all!


Yeah good call on the new thread!
This year I need to get my garden at home sorted out. After having kept chickens for several years it is in a bit of a mess and it also needs some groundwork done as I need to replace the patio and make some sort of seating area.
We will still be working the plots and I think we already have all the seeds we need, which means I’ll still buy more just that I don’t actually need them!
Next year I need to sort out how much stuff to grow as this year I grew far too many of certain things like cabbages and squash - we can never eat all the butternuts we have in the eves. I want to try to grow some beans for drying and storing. I tried some huge Spanish white beans last year but although the plants were massive the crop wasn’t. Also I want to try to grow more heritage or heirloom varieties and try to save seed - just for the hell of it really. Hopefully the fruit will kick in a bit this year and we get some strawberries, raspberries, currants and blackberries. Gooseberries were good last year so hopefully we have a few more this year.
I really want to try to extend the season as much as possible. We mainly eat from the plot all year round but it would nice to have toms a bit earlier/later in the season and to have longer seasons of sweetcorn and the like.
I am hopeful my overwintered chili plants do well and I will be getting some seeds on soon - as soon as new year is out the way.
I am also going to grow a load of flowers form seed - if we have room. I need some plants for the garden and I have never really grown anything other than veg.
Also a shout out to Columbia Road Market - a great place to pick up some bargains and get squashed in the process.


I’d similarly like to extend the season, partly by getting stuff earlier and later, and also by trying to plan to follow-on crops as soon as possible and getting different crops in the same year out of the same patch, which will take a bit more planning, and a degree of luck I suspect.

It’s a shame this weather was so wet in late Nov and Dec, I had to stop digging anything up as I could not get any weed roots out.

Still planning on the chickens also!


its around our 15th season at the allotment. Currently harvesting purple sprouting broccoli, leeks and carrots. In the ground and growing are broad beans, kale, perpetual spinach and rhubarb showing as usual. Perennials include various raspberries and other berries which are reliable producers later.
We’ll be doing potatoes, carrots, sweetcorn, squash (butternut and crown prince), several varieties of climbing beans, beetroot, parsnips, maybe celeriac. always looking for something new, but these are all usually very reliable.

Meanwhile, having installed a greenhouse in the garden late this summer we hope for a much earlier and longer season. At the moment I have winter onions and garlic growing in the greenhouse- both thriving. Also mixed salad leaves which are slow at the moment, but very tasty. In the greenhouse we should see a quantum leap forward in tomato and aubergine production, and importantly we should be able to sow seed and get things moving maybe a month earlier than we usually do, using windowsills and porch previously. I also hope we can do many more herbs - I’m hoping basil will thrive in the warm greenhouse conditions.

Finally, the hot composter has been good so far- from the heady heights of 50 degrees late in the summer it still manages a respectable 20 degrees plus at the moment, fed with veg peelings, and any other vegetable matter, plus it uses good amounts of paper and cardboard shreddings, meaning we send less off in the green recycing bin. Doesn’t need too much attention - I feed it with new waste about once a week in winter.


never grown my own horseradish - I know you need to contain it, but is it worthwhile or do I just keep buying horseradish sauce?


My grandad grew his own horseradish. But in some kind of container, not straight into the garden. I kind of half remember it as an old chimney stack but might have got that wrong. Mum said he grated his own horseradish as he liked it really strong. I believe you can also pick the leaves and eat them raw, so I think worth trying just for that.


Horseradish is a thug! I planted some in a pot and the roots grew through the hole in the bottom and now I have a great big plant in the garden.
We have some growing now on my wife’s plot and I have always been disappointed in the sauce we make from it - maybe we are just doing it wrong but it is very mild. I remember it being kicking when I was younger. It is like chemical warfare when I grate it and even though it adds a nice flavour it doesn’t have the kick I am looking for.
@marymck is right though the leaves can be eaten and are quite nice if you finely slice them into a salad.


Winter pickings today. Nice to have veg all year round and eat with the seasons to some extent.


Some of those look like they could have a starring role in a tasty Steven King novel.


What potatoes does everyone grow? We’ve tried growing many varieties over the years and current favourites are Ratte and Nicola. We go for flavour, blight resistance , ones that seem to produce well in our soil and ones that by and large you don’t get in the shops.

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I grow Ratte because they are really nice, Pink Fir Apple for the same reason and Sarpo Mira for resistance to blight. I actually save my own seed spuds for planting so I don’t buy many new ones.
However the London Potato Fair is well worth a visit and not just for spuds - shallots and onion sets at good prices and Pennards are there selling seeds
There are two this year see here for details…

I’m growing Sarpo Mira and Charlotte that I grew last year again, and trying for the first time Pink Fir, Sharpes Express and Vivaldi. I had said I might not grow any this year but that has not gone so well!

Any suggestions on varieties which might grow well in potato bags?

Maincrop spuds tend to get quite big so it might be an idea to stick to earlies or 2nd earlies.
Having said that any spud will grow in a bag as long as there is sufficient space and nutrients - the general consensus though is that you get smaller spuds than you would in the ground.
So spuds like Ratte, Lady Christi, jazzy, Sharpe’s Express, Charlotte and International Kidney might do well…

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Whatever you do, don’t do what I did one year and use a large plastic pot with no holes in it - it was all growing nicely til a large downpour and it all got waterlogged as I’d not made holes in the bottom! Good luck!


Has anyone tried growing chickpeas locally? I love them but don’t know how they would do here. My Uncle-in-law as such grows them in Spain, but obviously a very different climate.

Nope. But never been inclined as I simply rehydrate good quality dried ones. Which are cheap.


The Great London Potato and Seed Fair, now finds a home at Roots & Shoots. Loads of Seed Potatoes, onion sets, shallots, seeds, rhubarb crowns, fruit trees and bushes and great refreshments.

Really good for buying a few different varieties as you buy by the spud.

Get there early and prepare for a squeeze - it gets busy…

Roots & Shoots
Walnut Tree Walk
SE11 6DN

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I might try and make it, but taken one of the boys to a party 10-12.30 so might be tight to get there especially if trains are not running well. so might try the 1st March one - that said I already have too much stuff!

No such thing!

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