the transition city allotment was always going to be a bit of an experiment. would enough people want to help ? would we even be able to clear the plot of weeds ? would we keep motivated ? would we be able to grow anything ?
as we near the end of our second year of growing i'm realising that we've learned a thing or two this year, and recognised that everything we have done so far has been an experiment. i now feel pretty confident about what we'll grow next year and how we'll do it.
here's a few reflections:
1. if life gives you lemons...
if the allotment gives you floury potatoes... make mash.
potatoes this year, though reasonably plentiful, were unpopular on many fronts. most of them were purple, which some found unacceptable, and were exceedingly floury. crumbling after only a few minutes of boiling. i decided to go with it and make mash, adding rosemary and garlic also from the plot was especially good.
2. following last year's success with purple sprouting broccoli, though comprehensive fortification was essential, this year we decided that regular green broccoli is really not worth the bother, it was swamped with fly and seemed to go to flower before making anything usefully edible.
however, we do have a small row of 6 caulis further along the plot that were also covered in the same fly and are now thriving.
lesson learned, don't bother with brassicas other than caulis and maybe not plant them in big, pest attracting blocks.
3.chamomile is super easy to grow, self sows prolifically and when dried makes a far superior tea than any i have ever bought. will definitely do this again.
4. also regular Tea ( camellia sinesis ) may be raised from seed. who knew ! though a tricky germination process - i succeeded with 2 plants, one now remains and looks to be very healthy.
5. carrots can be grown successfully in tubes and in old wheelbarrows
6. a bundle of straw and lavender stalks will clear the pond of algae
7. phyacelia is a super, and beautiful green manure
8. mushrooms are hard to cultivate
9. sweetcorn needs to be at planted least 4 rows x 4 rows deep to ensure proper pollination. we had 2 small rows and ended up with strange gappy corn. though it did taste ok.
10. while we've seen some people move on to take up plots of their own or concentrate on their own gardens, recently i've had several enquiries from new people wanting to come and help. this is exactly how i hoped it would happen, long may it continue
11. and lastly, seed saving is fascinating, fun and very satisfying