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Plans for winter and next year - any advice?


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  • Plans for winter and next year - any advice?


    I'm not sure if these will come out right, but I have done a rough diagram of our plot as it exists now (in word), and planting plans for 2007 (showing what did happen) and 2008 (what I was considering for next year) - these are in excel (there is a colour key on the 1st page of the workbook, but I've written in all the crops that I hope to do in each space. The pale green is no crop at present).

    When we got the plot in February, it hadn't been touched in a good few years, so we've made the start shown (ideas of paths, dug over enough to cultivate this year, composter). At the moment, all paths are just undug earth. The area that is still weeds was strimmed about 4 weeks ago and weedkillered 2 weeks ago. So it will be covered as best we can, and dug over the winter months (hopefully incorporating more manure if it is left on site this year again).

    The overall size is 12" by 50", not including the headland at the back that I will be able to use for composters etc.

    Does it look like a reasonable way to proceed? I was going to have more beds, but I'm not sure if that would take away too much growing space for paths.

    Oh, and last thing, we are building shortly and I will be scavenging the site for useful bits. As the old uPVC, double glazed back door is going to be taken out, would this be useful as a cloche roof - just buy the timber for the walls? Or is that just too mad altogether?

    Any advice gratefully received.

  • #2
    Sorry, forgot to add the diagrams....

    Having problems and can't attach the excel, and the small one is too huge for a word version.

    Basically, have planted as far as the compost dalek on that side, and about 5 feet short of it on the opposite side - weeds from there to the back. Dalek is just short of halfway down the plot.

    Onions, with rhubarb (1 plant), peas and radishes from front edge on dalek side, (onions coming halfway, other stuff to the side of them), and the rest of the way was summer cabbages and brocolli with 1 row of lettuce and a rosemary bush.

    The other side was 2nd early potatoes (1 small bag of seed), followed by carrots and french beans in that space, then garlic (3 cloves of seed), spring onions (alongside), then peas and mangetout (1 trench each), summer cauliflower (6 plants) and a row of parsley. Thena dug but covered space to the dalek point.

    The oninos have been replaced with spring brassicas, and I was going to put the autumn onion sets and garlic where the cabbages and brocolli were, with some raspberries (autumn) and blackcurrants at the back end on dalek side for overwintering.

    OK I now realise this is probably hopelessly confusing everyone, so I will try to take a photo of the excel page, and figure out how to put photos on the web. But if you could understand what went before and have any words of wisdom, please share (it will be the weekend before I can play with the camera).

    Attached Files


    • #3
      My only suggestion would be to increase the number of your darleks or build bigger compost pallet bays (like I want to ..... eventually).

      This is my second season, first on the lottie and I've already got four darleks full to the brim (three at home and one on the lottie) and am now just creating a heap on the lottie. I expect it to be the size of Ben Nevis by the time I finish !

      Right off to shovel some sh[t........... a lorry dropped a load of cow manure yesterday and I want to grab some before all the other vultures nab it!

      Over to the experts for more advice ........................

      Catch up with my daily doings at and but wait a while cos these are well out of date ! Don't want to ditch them entirely cos I'll never remember the urls !


      • #4
        Cripes, Wings, complicated…! I’ve read it several times and, as you say, am overwhelmed by the complexity - so a challenge. Unfortunately I don’t fit mrskp’s predicted expert category but I’ll have a go! I accessed the plot diagram but not the planting schemes but I think you’re basically asking about succession sowing/rotation and overall design, aren’t you?

        On succession sowing – rather than the individual veg as you’ve named them I’d be more inclined to first pre-determine where I was going to place the permanent crops (rhubarb, raspberry, herbs etc) bearing in mind both their preferences and your need to control, protect, access etc. Having determined that I’d then plan the 3 or 4 different beds that will become the rotation. I say that with a little trepidation as you may instinctively be right in what you’re suggesting but the detail is too complicated for me at stage one. (One of my abiding interests in gardening is that some gardeners seem to have or develop an “innate” knowledge of what’s going to work – the old “green fingers” metaphor… and very successfully do things that I would never think of…duh! ) Most veg gardening books describe the rotation principles much better than I can, or if you haven’t got access to any have a look at the diagram on
        which has a very similar overall design to yours BUT bear in mind the area being described there is about 4 times larger than yours so you’ll need to be very selective in the options offered within each plot.

        On overall design: what you seem to be suggesting appears straightforward and is one of my favourites when I see it done well (but not in truth what I do myself). The basic approach seems to be of tightly controlled rows and they can look fabulous and very productive providing you can get the necessary access, plant everything so it gets its requirements of soil and sun etc and follow at least some of the rules of rotation. I’d never trust myself to manage that successfully but that’s not to say you won’t be able to. I’m not sure whether you intend to use the outside paths and how usable they are (e.g. for wheelbarrow access) but bear in mind if they’re bare earth now they probably won’t be by next April/May…. You seem nervous about additional paths and I understand why in terms of overall “growing area” but you will need access (thus the popular modern methods of raised beds, paths aplenty and not treading on the bed etc). You need to find a pattern and compromise that you’re happy with among those conflicting demands.

        The uPVC door frame (fully glazed?) is not a mad idea at all but you will need to ensure it’s secure and windproof against winter gales and also bear in mind you will need to open it – how heavy is it? - and safely prop it open at different times. Rather than using it solely as a roof to a wooden box (which could cause seedlings to strain towards the light and go leggy) you could consider putting it at angle almost down to ground level at the front so that all plantlets – taller ones at the back - can benefit from even low winter sunlight and warmth.

        Hope that’s useful and untangles some of the complexities.




        • #5
          Thanks Bazzaboy, I think I need to sit down over numerous evenings with a glass of red to fully think through the design. But what you say is useful, and it sounds as though I am on the right track. At the moment, all the paths are just trodden weeds - I have a few concrete slabs I saved from the builders to move for the main path, but I was only going to put wood chippings (if there are more left on the site this year) on the side ones. I'll probably have to do that with the back e4nd of the main path too.

          I think salvaging the back door has been knocked on it's head - both practicalities of it and the fact that it should fit in next door's backdoor (maybe - their door is the opposite to ours, but we can probably swop it around to work). As she can't afford a new one (hers is the original, 20+years old and single glazed pine), she's going to see if ours (a replacement bought 5 years ago) will work, and the dining room window too. Which is a use I'd prefer to see it going to if it does work.

          MrsKP, you're right on the compost space - I have a full dalek at home (we emptied it in March last) which is for the garden waste (not that much - we've very little lawn left and not that much other waste), grass from my gran's garden (OH brings back a large sack of it when he cuts it for her - all the clippings on that road go behind the trees on the backroad, and they're useful for us), and the kitchen waste (the majority of the raw material - veg peelings, teabags and coffee grounds, hoover bag stuff, used tissues and hair of my brushes - that kinda stuff). The dalek on the plot is only there since August and has already been filled a couple of times (until it drops with the heat). Prior to that, we piled all waste in a heap - but is was a lot of couch grass and other nasties. I've got a load of old fence boards to move from the side of the house to the plot and I'm going to clear some ground at the back of the plot for these - compost bays will be the end result I hope.


          • #6
            This has been my first year (liek you, since February) allotmenteering and one thing I have learned is that it is very difficult to "design" your allotment. I started out with ideas about what I was going to do, and in the end the plot has been "organic" in more ways than one.

            I have only really managed to effectively use about half the plot this year, but I have already started work preparing for next year. I have a number of projects on the cards for the winter months - mainly construction in their nature, but I can guarantee that there will still be plenty of things I want to do the year after next. My knowledge, like my plants will hopefully grow, and as that does I'll want to do more and more. I'm speculating at this stage because as I said, this is my first year, but general comments I have read on here suggest that to be the case.

            I applaud those that manage to design their plot and create it in such a fashion, but I have found that approach doesn't work for me and that's the beauty of allotmenteering - each of us is different.

            Don't get disheartened.

            There's always next year...
            A simple dude trying to grow veg.

            BLOG UPDATED! 30/01/2012

            Practise makes us a little better, it doesn't make us perfect.

            What would Vedder do?


            • #7
              agree with what's been said ........ I took on a 1/4 plot in May this year and have already re-drawn the master plan about three times. Hard landscaping (raised beds) have taken up a good deal of my time this year, but hopefully by the time next season starts, I'll have a workableish plan to follow.

              Just been out in the garden tonight cutting back and tidying up and have resorted to stuffing huge compost bags with what can't go in the bins and tying them at the top to keep the fruit flies out. When I've turned my three darleks and rescued the cooked stuff for the beds at the lottie (ha ! when am I going to get time for that), I can re-fill them immediately.

              It's good to have a plan though, it's amazing how much you learn about the different veg/fruit just by sitting there working things out .... even if you do change it half way through.

              Good luck and keep plugging away. It's exhausting but fun!

              Catch up with my daily doings at and but wait a while cos these are well out of date ! Don't want to ditch them entirely cos I'll never remember the urls !


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