Allotment / Gardening Chat and Advice



I have broad beans in now and in my little greenhouse, i have lots of veg seeds sprouting and coming along. Been worried about cold weather so being cautious about putting things out.


This is my back garden by the way. It was such a long wait for an allotment, I converted my back garden into an allotment. What’s not to like !?


Imagine you can keep a better eye on things when it’s just outside the back Door.


Nothing at all at the moment. I will be buying plants and will probably give a little rest to some parts of the allotment this year. The spring was too cold to grow my own seeds. Will try to make the best out of the weather this year.


From experience, i used Seaweed Plant Food ( you can get it in any DIY store) last year to grow from seeds. Recommened. It helps seeds to grow faster and stronger. It can also be used to feed plants throughout the growing season alongs side with other plant food.


Feeling inspired, to do something with my gardens this year now. I shall have to have a careful read back through and see what ideas I can get from you all.

Then the questions will begin.

Great thread @foresthillnick


I use it too - mostly for stuff in pots but it does seem to give seedlings a boost. Bought some for OH as a Christmas pressie - such romance…

My actual garden is a mess so I need some inspiration and energy too. I am not very good with flowering plants, shrubs and the like. I have a couple of trees that should have been cut back a bit over winter, the grass is full of weeds and there is lots of work to do…
Still - when I go part time in July I will have much more time yay!


I don’t have an allotment, but I have a lovely mature garden we inherited when we moved. However I want to spend some time in it this summer to personalise it a bit more and one option is a veg patch.

So a simple question. What value is a raised bed?


A good question and one that it is quite divisive believe it or not.
For me I have raised beds on my plot as it is solid clay. For me this has advantages…

You can build up a nice depth of good soil without too much digging. You just add more soil/compost/manure and you can get a great productive fertile area quickly. This goes to the idea of “no dig” - you can just layer cardboard on your lawn and build up a nice bed without having to dig out the turf and weeds.
The soil tends to warm up a bit faster\earlier - this is marginal though.
It helps me be more organised and manage crop rotation.
I never walk on the beds so the soil retains a good structure - my paths between beds are all covered in wood chippings so I dont slip and slide all day.
It can be less far to bend down!
Done right they look nice and can minimise mess as the soil is contained.
They can add a nice extra dimension to your garden too - esp if you are creative with what you use.
Dealing with weeds can be a lot easier as you are effectively making your own soil.
Drainage is excellent.

However there are disadvantages too.

You will not believe how much stuff you need to fill a bed. It is either expensive or hard work to get the amount of soil required to fill the beds.
If you are filling with top soil/manure/compost or any organic matter you can get then it easy to get the balance wrong. I have over manured previously!
Slugs/woodlice etc tend to like the little hidey places that often comes with rougher materials.
Wood rots quicker than you think and you need to be careful when using preservatives…
Drainage is excellent! This means you probably have to water more in hot weather.

I think they are good for a back garden and they can be erected quickly so you can get going without a lot of agro. If you have a nice looking mature garden then raised beds can help to maintain that look.


Great feedback. Thanks.

Ah. Good point and therein lies a possible issue. We don’t have side access to the garden except through the neighbours. All that soil would like have to come through the house.

Maybe I’ll start small with pots.


I made a start clearing and stripping the front the other day, removing a mature pampas grass is no mean feat! Cue the garden waste bin!

Next for the front is replace the grass, get some little gap fillers around the shrubby bush things I planted a few years ago, and get it back to being manageable.

The onto the rear, that’s where ideas and inspiration are needed really.
Would love to grow some bits, it’s that time in my life now lol.

Raised beds for such things sound ideal, just got to dog proof them… Maybe I will stick to buying carrots from Tesco lol.

Quite excited about the idea of a decent garden, mowing the grass etc.

Green fingers, here I come.


Yes did some mid March - Chillies, Basil, Coriander … Think it was a little too early. Did some last year at the same time and everything came out. Think this year is a little different. Will send some pictures.

At Kitchen Skills we use the garden a lot for classes for the little ones. … get them to recognise smells/tastes etc. and let them add these to food they cook.

Last year we had at least three different types of chillies, basil, mint, coriander … loads of stuff mostly all in containers.

Please come visit Kitchen Skills … this year we are planting strawberries and a few vegetables too.


Really like your greenhouse … need to get one too


@anon30031319 in my limited personal experience, it can be good to start with some more reliable crops. It depends what you want of course but good things to start off with re things like Rosemary, Mint that will last and come back year after year also with minimal intervention.

Runner beans are fairly easy to grow and give you a great crop, same with courgettes. I’ve also had issues with Peas (you do need support for these and runner beans). Raspberry and blackberry plants are also fairly easy once going. Lettuce is also relatively easy and you get so many seeds in a packet easy to plant again! Loads other things as mentioned above.

Fruit trees in pots or small cordon type trees can give you a decent range of fruit - we get a lot of plums from one plum tree in a container. Our cordon apples trees have been less successful but are only a few years old and may improve over time.

In terms of flowers, I try to use ones that are good for bees \ butterflies, and perennials which come back year after year where possible.

Anyway for winter \ spring flowering

Daffodils, tulips, primrose, hellebores (really like these), crocus.

Others I like:

Helleniums, Verbena bonariensis, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Sea Holly (never grown it properly but coming back this year it appears!), Foxglove (careful around kids), Sunflowers, Canna, Cosmos, Scabious, Hollyhock and lots more! But all these are relatively easy to grow, though some will only flower in year 2. I’ve bought some miniature budleia this year to try in pots for butterflies.

Growing things from seed can be cheaper but is more expensive in terms of time, and if you are buying a packet of seeds I’m not sure it’s worth it for one plant by the time you add in the cost of the pot, compost etc, and possible failure rate!

I have found both homebase in Catford and B&Q in Bell green periodically give huge discounts on plants. These can be really useful buying perennials end of season - plant them and next year you will get a lot of plants for little money. B&Q specifically seem to have an issue watering plants so sometimes they discount pants to 50p that in reality recover in a day or so after a good soak! Some allotment open days you can also buys seeds and some plants for cheaper than elsewhere.

Sorry for the long post! Good luck and just try stuff - it’s a learning experience!


I just noticed today that my rose is under attack. Please can anyone advise remedial action for this infestation? Is it ‘white fly’?


Try Bug Clear

This one is bearable when you spray. Tried other brands, they stink and cause skin reaction as they are obviously pesticides, aggressive chemicals.


Are those definitely aphids \ pests - I can’t tell from the picture. Could it be powdery mildew?

RHS site has some useful hints here dependant on what it is RHS link to Rose problems


Hi oakr

They are definitely creatures! Although very close to last year’s powdery mildew on an adjacent bush.

For starters I am spraying with water + washing up liquid. Maybe add vinegar?


Not sure about vinegar as it is also used to kill weeds. I generally use soapy water for aphid issues - I used to have some neem oil that was good for adding to soapy water to kill aphids. I try to garden with as little intervention as possible but sometimes nature needs a helping hand.


Not heard about vinegar either, washing up liquid people seem to use so worth a try. I mainly use my fingers but maybe no ideal on a rose bush!

What do people do about seedlings on windowsills. I’ve tried sunflowers like this before but they ended up quite weak and ‘leggy’.

Do you move them to a greenhouse straightaway once they emerge or do people grow them successfully for a while on windowsills? Or does anyone just grow them in pots outside?

I currently have sweetcorn, cucumber and dwarf french beans coming up nicely, and tomatoes are starting with other bits.

As the weather is nice this week, I did debate leaving them outside each morning an bring them in each night also.