Allotment / Gardening Chat and Advice



I tried growing tomatoes on the window sill. They came up thin and when we planted them out, they died. There is a method of growing seeds indoors then adapting them for outside to be planted out in the proper ground. I find it too fiddly and time consuming. I use what people call a cold frame to grow seeds - outside on the balcony (i dont have a garden) when the weather permits, covered with cloche or transparent plastic. Works for me all the time if weather shows some mercy. I planted seeds of tomatos, kohlrabi, lettuce, cauliflower last weekend, but will be buying most of the plants. Will be leaving some parts of the allotment to rest this year as well, so i am not too much worried about the quantity at the moment.


Getting stuff going on a window sill can be a bit of a challenge but I am lucky to have a garden and a 8x10 poly tunnel. The issue with window sills is that they got very warm and light is concentrated in one direction. So they plants get leggy and lean lean over sometimes collapsing completely. Also the lack of air movement doesn’t help. Some stuff like chillis seem to do fine while most stuff esp brassicas get too long and leggy and look like cress. With early stuff I wait until they have sprouted and then move to the tunnel or outside on a table if it is nice and warm. They “harden off” like this as long as you keep the pests at bay.
Most of my early stuff is potted on now but I always sow extra in case they fail - kohl Rabi, cabbage, tenderstem broccoli, peppers, chillis, caulis, brussels and more are all in the tunnel. Lots of toms in various stages are doing ok but a bit slow.
I have done the shuffle before - out in the morning and back in again and then lost all my toms in a cold snap overnight when I forgot to bring them in. Needs discipline!


we’ve been abroad for a few weeks so a bit behind on sowing seeds at home this year, but there is a cheat’s way to catch up… B&Q at Bell Green has a good stock of small plants right now, with loads of vegetable seedling pots reduced to 50p. Including tomato, butternut squash, cabbage, sprouts, carrots, beetroot, courgettes and much more. Despite all being reduced in price, most of them are in good condition, some with a quite a few plants to a pot, so ideal for potting on or planting out as you see fit.


Thanks @kat.standlake.point, @Foresthillnick and @ThorNogson.

I thought as much re the windowsill though am disappointed my fears are confirmed! I will start to put them out from tomorrow and see how they get on, and try to remember to bring them in.

I may get one of those small greenhouse things @Thewrongtrousers shows at the top of the thread to put them in.

I’d love a polytunnel but I suspect my wife and 2 young children might object to the garden takeover!


A back up if everything else fails


I may well need it! Have started the in out day night with the seedlings but might be too late for some!


All my celeriac seedling seem to be keeling over so I may have to pop round too.
Had an hour before work down my plot today and was enjoying it tremendously until I ripped my finger picking up a sheet of glass which broke. Apparently hands covered in mud / manure and open wounds do not make good bed fellows - who would have thought! Off to Lewisham for a tet shot after lunch…


Question about beans.

I’m going to plant out some beans in pots on the patio. Is it too early? I’ve also got some tripods for support. Any other hints to ensure success?


Technically it is a bit early but you should be ok.
Beans are not frost tolerant and prefer some warmth. While it seems odd given the heat of the last few days we could still get a frost or some cold night temps - all the manuals will say not to plant out till mid may.
Beans like lots of organic matter and plenty of water. It was traditional to make your self a bean trench early in year and line it with paper and fill it with any organic stuff you could muster… But if you make sure they are well fed and watered they will be fine

What sort of beans - runner or french or other?


One is a french bean but a purple/black colour. The other is a dwarf broad bean. Picked up a coupel of trays of each at Shannons yesterday. Got carried away with the sun.


easily done…

Dwarf beans should be fine but the tall purple ones (my favourite actually) might need a bit of a feed up up and an eye kept on the watering if they are in pots. One thing to help fruit set is to spray them if it is hot but other than that they are great to grow…


Can someone tell me what this is? Ignored the garden over winter and garden is now covered with these.


Hemp nettle weed?


I’d agree with @JS above


Thanks @Foresthillnick and @JS – It does look that that.


Looks like white comfrey or related Symphytum species to me__


White comfrey, from your picture.
Like this?

I believe you can make your own organic fertiliser by stewing the plants in water for a few weeks, then watering with the resulting liquid, but I’ve not tried it!


The usual type of comfrey to do this with is Bocking 14 but you can try it with anything similar - even nettles. Bocking 14 is sterile though so you have to clone it via cuttings… At least it doesn’t seed everywhere.
The idea being that the plants have deep roots and will drag up lots of nutrients from the depths which you can release by stewing it in a bucket for a couple of weeks.
Beware though - it stinks something awful! I made some last year and spent 20 mins wondering around the plot wondering what had died.


Ok, half of the allotment is sorted

Planted potatos, onion, 2 types of beans, tomatos, cabbage - 3 types, 1 sweet pepper, 1 chilly pepper and 1 courgette, 4 corns - found them growing in the ground, replanted, 1 grape vine, celery. I thought i will let half of the ground rest but turned out i hardly have any space for beetroot, carrot, spinach and kohlrabi :thinking:


If smbd here is a bigginer, when planting cabbage, any type, make sure you cover plants with net, otherwise birds will eat them and you will be left without cabbage. Once they are strong enough, the net is removed.

And, of course, stock up with slug pellets - sprinkle them occasionally, starting from the time of putting in the ground young plants - slugs will eat them alive and wont feel even sorry, and throughout the season.