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Down on the Allotment in May

Welcome to my first blog. I’m Lee and I’ll be waxing lyrical about all aspects of allotments over the coming months!  I’ll also be answering a few questions and offering some pointers along the way.

Allotments have been a big part of my life for over twenty-five years. They have enriched my life in  many different ways. I can honestly say that having an allotment is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. The positive influence is so great.

Allotments offer, fresh air, exercise, a great way to make new friends and of course the chance to grow the freshest, healthiest food imaginable.  It sounds like a pretty good deal and it is! What you’ll need to give back in return, is sweat, (maybe even a few tears, when the slugs strike) some of your time, a firm commitment and a determination to succeed.

This is a busy time of year. It is now when we harden off our young plants, put them out and continue to sow,sow ,sow, for successional crops throughout the year.

A misconception about allotments is there is nothing to harvest during winter. The opposite is true. Last winter I yielded eight different vegetables. With planning and some organisation it is possible to pick something worthwhile all year round.

Winter harvested cabbage, sprouts and many types of purple sprouting broccoli are planted out this month and in June. Covering them with netting or fleece or mesh after planting is a priority to protect them from cabbage white butterflies and also from attack from pigeons.The end of May is also a time to plant out half hardy veg, such as sweet corn, runner beans, courgettes, squash. Gradually harden them off for two weeks before planting out.

But what if you are just taking on a plot this month? Well, it is a time to rejoice, take stock and plan ahead. Take plenty of photographs, have some fun and grab yourself some A4 paper at home and start to make a rough plan. More on this next time…

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About Lee Senior

Lee Senior is an experienced horticultural writer, RHS Yorkshire in Bloom judge and horticultural consultant. He has also had an allotment for over 25 years. After initially spurning horticulture as a career option, to pursue his boyhood dream of becoming a train driver, Lee soon realised he couldn't resist getting his hands dirty to make a living. Horticultural College training led, to getting an allotment at the tender age of 18 (in the days when you could actually get a plot quickly). My gardening hero, is Geoff Hamilton" says Lee. "It was Geoff who convinced me that you didn't have to spray everything that moved in the garden. Watching him on Gardeners’ World in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s was a revelation. I was lucky enough to meet Geoff and I’ve also more recently had the pleasure of meeting Joe Swift. Now over two decades of practical experience has taught me to work with mother nature, not to fight against her and don't try to tame her, as so many gardeners seem to be on a mission to do. Small-scale food growing is my passion and I can't wait for my two daughters, one who is 8 years old and the other who is 5 to hopefully pick up the baton in the future. Nothing beats the flavour and satisfaction of growing your own food. You simply cannot buy the same quality and freshness. Everyone can have a go at growing something says Lee, no matter where they live. Lee has also written his two books; 'Pennine Way, The Highs and Lows' which is a humorous, personal account of walking this momentous iconic walk. His second book 'Walking in the Aire', features 14 short walks in Yorkshire.

2 thoughts on “Down on the Allotment in May”

  1. Lee Senior says:

    Many thanks for your kind comment Jim. I will keep the tips simple as requested. Lee

  2. Jim Morris says:

    Great blog Lee just found it !! Keep up the simple tips as im just starting out 🙂

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