Allotment / Gardening Chat and Advice 2021 Thread

Following on from the 2020 thread .

It will soon be time, if not already, to get those seed orders in (and we have to wait and see whether there are implications for buying seeds and plants from Europe etc).

I decided to sign up to the the heritage seed library this year to try something new (well old but new to me). Received my 6 packets of seeds - am very keen on peas and somewhat excited (as excited as you can be about peas) to try out the Kent Blue ones. Will mainly grow for seed saving this year with a view to growing more fully next year…and am going to try that more generally this year with some areas on my alloment specifically for seed saving.

Managed to save most of my tomato seeds from last year and some peas, garlic as well which I plan to plant today (bit late…).

I may try and start some Peppers under growlights next month but am going to try not to start too many things too early this year so the house doesn’t get taken over with plants until they go be safely planted outside, as occured last year.


Each year once xmas is over, it is so exciting to start to plan the plantings for the year ahead. So much to look forward to !


Well over here the season is already underway - sort of.
I bought a load of seeds with me so not being able to order from the UK anymore isn’t much of a bind - plus there are some great seed and plant suppliers here. I have ordered from Spain, Belgium and Germany but I can’t even plant the seeds I have so I have to stop buying!
My hot peppers are on including some Piri Piri seeds I got here from a plant, onion sets are in, corriander, lettuce and some leeks have been overwintered. Just been looking through the seed boxes and thrown a few thing in trays but I am guessing timings here this year. We have had some really cold weather and frosts did away with the remaining peppers which I was picking at xmas so I am hoping it warms up a bit now.
Over the last few months we have been picking oranges - hundreds of them. We have chucked hundreds away too as there are simply too many to juice and the freezer is already full. So we have some limoncello and orangecello on the make - you literally can’t give oranges away here so we have binned perhaps a thousand of the things…
Anyway I wont bang on as I am completely out of synch with you guys but Ill post some pics of our progress throughout the year…
Now to go sow some tomatoes!


Hope you’re enjoying seed ordering.
Where you mentioned possible EU import issues it made me think that in terms of biosecurity (ie not introducing new pests and diseases) it would actually be a good thing enviromentally speaking not to import seeds and plants.


Do sent us some pictures of your rolling acres Nick - I could do with some inspiration.

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It is a bit of a mess at the moment but when the sun comes out I’ll take some shots…

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This sounds amazing - I’m tempted to try some lemon trees here as I think they have a chance in London now with it being pretty warm generally.

I think most seeds are (or were) fairly safe to import, but I believe there were possibly issues with things like Olive trees (I can’t remember precisely but am sure there is some virus in Europe wiping them out, and a danger with some of those being imported potentially).

I’ve decided to cut down a bit on what I am going to try to grow this year, so no potatoes, cucamelons, cucumbers. Undecided on onions but will probably give those a go. Have some garlic in but planted late so not sure if they will have rotted with all this rain.

Main things this year will be tomatoes, peas, beans, squash and a determined effort with carrots!

I will also have a much better go at lettuce \ spinach etc which I didn’t really both with last year, same with calabrase \ broccoli.

I have an existing strawberry bed probably in it’s last year so will need to grab some runners and move them somewhere for next year, and some existing plum trees. Am going to try to plant a Fig tree, and as above maybe a Lemon Tree or 2, and a Mirabelle if I can fit it in somewhere.

Last thing I will do more of this year is more companion planting and see how that goes, some lots of herbs as well as flowers like Marigolds and Borage (which I guess is a herb also), and lots of Sunflowers althouth they all get eaten now by either the squirrels or the parakeets.

The season is nearly upon us, must resist temptation to start tomato seeds!

Just got my box of seeds out…


When would you suggest is the ideal time to start seeds?

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It depends, and like all things gardening everyone has different views.

The generally accepted safe view is 6-8 weeks before the last frost date, which is normally assumed to be 15th May, which means sowing seeds late March \ early April. So if you want to sow seeds inside on a windowsill for example and then plant outside in May, either in a pot or the ground this is probably the best option.

The seedlings need good light to grow on your windowsill so also another reason to plant a bit later as you have more daylight hours and stronger light.

However if you have grow lights, plant to grow in a greenhouse and \ or have the time or will to plant earlier, you may get earlier tomatoes.

I sowed my first seeds end of Feb last year, and then a second ‘safe’ set about a month later.

The feb ones were decent size already by 11th April, with the March ones just coming through on the right in the photo below (I grew them all under growlights initially):

I then would transfer them to a pop up greenhouse during the day as above, and then bring them all in at night, much to the despair of my family and our dining table. I left some in a greenhouse at the allotment and the cold killed them all.

My feb ones definitely gave us tomatoes earlier than the others so will try again this year, but with less plants as it was a lot of work, and is highly weather dependant.

So sensible dates: Late \ March to April
risky \ more work dates : sometime in February (if you had a heated greenhouse or conservatory this might work better as well).

Good luck!

edit: chillies / peppers can be sown now as they grow much more slowly, you might need growlights not sure as grew them for the first time last year.

If all esle fails, Shannon’s do a lot of excellent young veg plants if yours fail.


For an early crop you can try sowing some Red Alert seeds mid Feb. They are a bush type tom so less prone to getting overly leggy.
To avoid plants getting leggy without the cost of a light then make sure that once germinated they are not too warm…
For the majority of toms I normally went 2rd week in March, once germinated and transplanted I put them in a poly tunnel but still had to check to temps at night. A couple of years back in April I smashed my collarbone and asked my wife to go home from the hospital to bring them in as it looked like a cold night…


Well I didn’t end up sowing any tomato seeds in Feb, but.with the kids help and a timely diversion from homeschooling we got our first batch in. Not quite limited to the 6-8 varieties I was hoping for this year, bit closer than it could have been! Let’s see what germinates, from what is mostly saved seed.

Jaunne Flamme trying for the first time then repeats for Gardeners Delight, Green Zebra, Yellow Stuffer, The Amateur, Tiger, Rosa, Picon, Black Russian, Paul Robeson, Yellow Pear, Red Bell, Pink Tom, (no idea on he correct names for the last 3, all saved seed from donated or purchased plants).

Will start some peas off shortly, am debating how to grow the heritage varieties from the seed library as only 10 of those each, but for Alderman that I am trying for the first time and my saved spanish peas which I have hundreds of I will be trying the gutter method to grow them initially.

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Sounds like you have the bug big time!
My toms are all in and I have a few varieties as well, mostly heritage or saved seeds as well as a few of the usual favourites. I have Green Zebra, some Sungold that have been grown out and selected for size, some saved Supermama which will be interesting as they are F1, Barry’s Crazy Cherry, Coeur de Surpriz, Dwarf Purple Heart, Beam’s Yellow Pear, Red Alert, Jersey Girl, Andes Horn, your Rosa ones, Piccolo Dattero, Black Krim and some others I forget.
Here you can buy tomato plants - 5 for a €! Hardly worth the effort from seed but very limited varieties - I did buy some peppers and some ox heart toms as it would be nice to get an early start but we have had some lovely weather recently.

I did save some seed from this monstrosity last year!

I have just pricked out a few so we will see if they give odd fruit…


Looks like the tango man from that awful advert years ago. Anyway, i think I have a reasonable idea of what else you might be growing out there on your rolling acres Nick …


We did grow this

Well it arrived! Nice surprise today…


Nick, you are truly living the dream my friend.

If those come toms come out like the ones in the picture I suggest you trademark and licence them, and enjoy your drinks in the sun!

Sungold are F1 aren’t they? So if you saved them they won’t come true I thought? We’ve saved some seeds also I will sow later this month, but more of an experiment (my son’s!).

Not familiar with a lot of those toms, look forward to some pictures and taste results later in the year!

Yeah Sungold (and SuperMama) are F1s but someone spent a couple of years growing them on and selecting for size. They aren’t stable so results may vary but I have the space I need to waste a bit on experiments. I used Vertiloom for toms and peppers this year - they have a huge amount of each…
Don’t visit if you want to keep your wallet shut!

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Nice to see you again and thriving, Nick. With your iranges, maybe you could dry them in slices to bundle with star anis and cinnamon sticks to make potpourri?

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That is a lovely idea! Coming to the end of the season but we still have fruit to spare.
The gardening here is great but life is challenging - I won’t bang on here about our trials and tribulations but it does hammer home the point that good things need hard work to attain!
Today is a glorious 21C and now we have stopped the old horse getting out we might have a lazy day. BBQ for lunch lay down with a beer this arvo…


Peas - sowed the heritage varieties today that I’ve never grown before. Hoping to just grow for seed this year and then grow properly next year as only 10 seeds of each (bar the Alderman and Spanish).

Top to bottom: Alderman, Kent Blue, Epicure, Gladstone, Latvian Christmas Grey, Spanish - as you can see they look quite different in colour and size. Most looking forward to the Kent Blue as they are localish as well as growing some of these that get to over 6ft.