Allotment / Gardening Chat and Advice



Oh and had some winter garlic cloves left - planted some in our garden before Christmas - a bit late now but have put the rest in soil and seeing if any of the leftover cloves might take. Heard it’s good between plants to deter pests so hopefully some take!


Raspberries are tricky if you don’t know when they are supposed to fruit.
If they are Autumn fruiting then you cut them back now and they fruit on this year’s growth.
Summer fruiting ones fruit on last years growth so you cut back the fruiting stems from last year and leave the new growth to fruit the following year.
Natch you don’t know which they are and there is no way to tell by looking.
Maybe cut half back and leave the rest??

@oakr - Looks like your kids will be a huge help on the plot! I’d recommend Sungold toms - lovely little yellow bursts of sweetness. You will never get to take any home though.


Did not strat anything. I am waiting for the weather to warm up. It is still winter. Will be frost at the end of Feb.

Will start planting seeds in March on my balcony under cloche. It wont take long to prepare the patch soil - 2 days max (one to clean, one to plough). Potato, onion, beetroot, carrots, etc. will go in at the end of March, April - end of May for the rest of the plants. I dont particularly like to haverst too early. Harvest in August is what i am aiming for.


that is what I was thinking - hedge my bets and do half - here is a picture if anyone is able to tell (upload://jY1Ij4DGCY3K8YJ3qEginM8lXR8.JPG)


I would cut out any obvious dead canes (those that have no buds) but I cant tell. Maybe ask the neighbours? I do see some cut off stumps in there so it could be that the old wood was cut off last year after flowering which may be an indication they are summer fruiters…


Good luck. I used a mixture of spade and fork for digging and have discovered the fork is the one I prefer most in the grassy bits. What I was told, and now do, is dig a trench, then turn the soil into the trench upside down (I give it a good shake now as well). I’ve found it faster and easy to get the weeds out though I am still at novice level.


Something to share:

Before planting seeds (probably not the carrot ones or those tiny-tiny), put the seeds in the water for 15 min. The seeds that are floating can be thrown away as they are empty. The good seeds usually sink to the bottom or middle. Also, keeping seeds in the water softens the shell thus giving the seeds more chances to germinate and germinate quicker.

I usually use this method for tomato, cucamber, courgette, corn, cabbage seeds…those that I dont plant in “bulk”, like beetroot or carrot for example.


Raised beds are a great way to garden esp for veg. I have them on my clay plot in Brockley and it makes life so much easier. I have been piling them up with anything I can get but so far have refused to buy anything other than a few blocks of coir. It is amazing how much stuff they take to fill though. My chillis are up now and need potting on really but I popped a few more in yesterday as my seed shopping addiction overcame me - I have some Brain Strain which I only bought because of the name.
Nicky’s Nursery is a great seed shop if anyone is after seeds - good price and a huge range (and nothing to do with me!)


There is a special treatment you can buy for clay soil. Maybe it is worth trying as I know one of our plotholder had clay soil problem. Got that staff and it worked.

Found it… The clay breaker


Thanks - I may go back and have another look at this. We used to use plaster of paris which is supposed to be very similar but I did have my doubts about it!


hi all, liking the thread.

I have had a plot at Kent House Leisure Gardens (KHLGA) for about 14 years now, originally in a bit of a state, heavy clay soil, loads of bindweed, but it is more or less under control these days and settled into something of a routine through the seasons.

We are currently harvesting the last of the leeks, plenty of kale, last of the carrots and some celeriac which have overwintered in the raised beds they grew in, plus Swiss Chard. Rhubarb is just starting up. Loads of Crown Prince squash harvested in October still in store for use- It’s a great thing to grow to get thru the winter.

We won’t sow much for a few weeks yet, but have potatoes chitting in the front porch.

On raspberries, I agree- cut down half - in fact I saw an article just the other week suggesting this strategy when you don’t know what type of raspberries you’ve got.

On clay soil, digging in vegetable matter over time also makes the difference- we dig in our household compost, and well rotted horse manure, which enriches the soil too. I too built a compost heap out of pallets, about a cubic metre. Each year I fill this very high with horse manure/straw from Dulwich stables on the south circular - you can get it free supplied in black plastic bags, Two carloads fill the heap. As it subsides through spring and starts to compost, we grow courgette plants directly in the heap - they love the rich feed and we get a bumper crop from 2 or 3 plants in the heap.

Over the winter the heap subsides to a fine and rich compost, which we spread over about a third of the plot. Doing this means we feed each part of the plot over a three year cycle. Then fill the heap and start again.


Thank you for the tip - i have some more seeds I saved so will try them out in water first to save me planting any duds.

Another question - how concerned do I need to be about woodlice/pill bugs?


Oh, you will have plenty of that)))


Also advice from experience:

The compost bin. Use compost maker to speed-up ‘production’ of good compost.
I usually sprinkle it between layers throughout the summer/autumn… So good compost can be prepared for the next spring during the winter. Our bin is full now and we will be emptying it before ploughing.


Yes they make a nice home in my celeriac!
Seriously though they are everywhere and I wouldn’t worry too much about them - they do get into some root veg but I dont really count them as a pest. I just worry about snails, slugs, white rot, clubroot, carrot fly, allium leaf miner, cabbage moths, flea beetle, blight, blackfly, BER, Pigeons, rust, foxes and other assorted blighters and critters!

I also “sprinkle” on my compost heap!! Very effective, home produced and a never ending supply!


Have you tried Nemaslug? I tried it a few years ago after encountering Godzilla sized slugs in our garden. Applied it and we never saw another slug that year.


Thank you, noted)))

We had good last carrot, the year before that was quite bad because of this fly thing.

The trick is not to move/shake the green carrot leaves because this fly is attracted to the smell, particularly when the carrot is young. The last year was good one because only few seeds getminated and produced, i did not have to thin out - that is when you cannot avoide shaking the tops.


Did once and results were promising but having so many plots close by means they just waltz in, eat everything and bugger off again. It did work well when my neighbour and I did it at the same time…

I have always tried to grow carrots with a barrier - some sort of mesh but frankly they really don’t like clay anyway and don’t do well. Quite excited to try carrots on my wife’s plot as the soil will be well suited to it and it seems like the fly is not quite so prevalent as it is on Barriedale.



That is exactly what happens!

We use standard treatment - slug pellets


after poor results sowing direct in the soil, have sowed carrot seed in raised beds for last couple of years with v good results. re carrot fly- I’ve followed advice that when thinning or harvesting, dispose of the thinnings well away from the plot, preferably off site, so the smell that attracts them is is somewhere else. Definitely not on my nearby compost heap.