Top six spring time cheats

4 Apr

Forgive the over-proliferation of posts and be reassured it won’t last long. I am back at work tomorrow and this is followed by an intensive training course all next weekend which means I will not be heading to the plot for at least a week.

Once the driving lessons resume in mid-April I will kiss goodbye to my occasional plot slots, very narrow windows that they already are, by mid April they may close up altogether. So my mission at the moment is get what I can done while I can.

I dragged the kids down to the plot for the second day in a row. There was no promise of barbecues just the realistic pledge that once we’d got our fresh air hit and legs stretched for the day they would then be at liberty to play at home, watch TV and eat some leftover Easter chocolate. For the record that bribe worked well and was much less hassle than yesterday’s aborted barbecue debacle!

I managed to get 8 more spuds planted out, another strip of clay like soil dug over and then was able to leave after only an hour and a half feeling like it was time well spent. As the prospect of busyness looms large from tomorrow onward I thought about various short cuts that have helped me so far keep my plot ticking over now I am on maintenance only mode.

My top six shortcuts this year:

  1. Cover every patch of ground you can when not using it. Today I peeled back a section that had been covered in a big cardboard box the oldest’s bike had come in. The earth underneath was soft and mostly weed free, an (almost) delight to prepare for planting.
  2. When planting out potatoes don’t bother with a trench just dig individual holes and pop each spud in with some compost or manure to help things germinate. *Disclaimer: Be prepared that you will meet a barrage of ‘you-don’t-want-to-do-it-like-that’ from the more traditional plot neighbours you may have. Be strong – smile and nod with confidence – it does work!
  3. If the window for planting things from seed has passed you by, worry not and get thee to a cheapish shop that sells all manner of plug plants. I have now got 6 very nice tomato plants for the princely sum of £3. This year I am allowing myself this luxury as I figure it’s either this or losing momentum with the plot.
  4. Chuck whatever you can on top of your seed beds, cheap compost, poultry manure, blood, fish and bones, home made compost – anything that will help break down the clay like finish and make digging easier. I subscribe to the no dig manifesto – chuck it on top and let the earth worms do the rest.
  5. On the topic of home made compost don’t waste time digging and stirring your compost. I have 3 old plastic recycling boxes in permanent rotation that I fill, leave and use. This method is low maintenance and takes about 6 months to produce really lovely organic compost that will fill raised beds and pots with ease.
  6. Don’t be shy about enlisting the help of friends and family, even the youngest or oldest relative has something to offer the time stretched allotmenteer!

IMAG0401 (1)

Spuds planted out and the ground dug over.


Shop bought tomato plug plants – re-potted and thriving.


Many hands and all that…..



One Response to “Top six spring time cheats”

  1. gillridge April 4, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    Great post! xx

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