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Feeding The Soil

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Comment from Joanne 9919


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I've just taken on an allotment and want to get digging and planting asap.

I'm going to have potato, legume, brassica and root beds. I know not to manure the root bed, but can I put manure into the soil of the other beds and then plant more or less straight away into it?

I don't think I should really do this, so if not, what can I do which will allow me to plant into the beds this year?

I have a small amount of home made compost, but not enough to cover the entire allotment.


  • Views: 1146
  • Replies: 14
  • Posted: Tue. 24th March 2009 17:11

When to feed?

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Jo,
I, too, would feel hesitant about adding manure at this point. You can add an organic fertiliser such as seaweed meal or blood, fish and bone two weeks before sowing seed. Probably later than you want to sow, but giving it the two weeks would make sure the fertiliser didn't 'burn' seedlings.
Let me know what you decide and how you get on!
Kathy C.

  • Posted: Tue. 24th March 2009 18:19

Blood Fish and Bone

Reply from Joanne 9919

Thanks Kathy,

I'm going to go with your recommendation of bood fish and bone.

Regarding the potatoes, will I be ok to put home made compost into the trench as I'm planting the seed potatoes?


  • Posted: Wed. 25th March 2009 15:21

Planting spuds

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Joanne!
Your instincts are spot on! Put the compost in the trench and scatter an organic fertiliser on the bottom of the trench or in the soil you removed when you dug the trench. That should keep 'em happy for a while!
Kathy C.

  • Posted: Wed. 25th March 2009 20:16


Reply from Joanne 9919

Thanks Kathy.

I've only grown veg in containers before, and it seems so different and there's so much more to think about when you're planting in the ground.


  • Posted: Fri. 27th March 2009 13:00

'Borrowing' your tips

Reply from Fi

Hi Jo
I'm going to confess that I am borrowing the tips you've had - hope neither of you mind!
I don't have an allotment, but have started digging out an area of about 20 sq m at the top of my garden. I've made one large bed, taking half of it, using wooden boards to keep it separate from the paths. This is for runners, peas, mange tout, and tomatoes I think. I have quarter of the plot in semi shade for my potatoes (Charlotte - chitted in the kitchen), and two 1 sq m link a bords (let you know how they do Jo) for herbs, lettuce and the other for brassicas after the early salads have been eaten. Got to try to find room for carrots too.
I'm also planning on growing sweet peppers and chillis, but think I'll do these in pots on the sunny patio. So lots of work to do for me too!
I lost my first lots of seed planting in the gales, so starting again when I can get myself off here.
Will follow your progress.

  • Posted: Fri. 27th March 2009 11:05

Borrowing tips

Reply from Joanne 9919

Hi Fi,

Of course I don't mind, that's the fun of forums. I'm slowly wading my way through all the tips from the open forum. I'm interested in the replies to questions even if I haven't posted them myself!


  • Posted: Fri. 27th March 2009 13:02

Another new 'allotee'

Reply from Linda

Hello Jo, we just got an allotment this week, too. Going up this afternoon to try and clear it a bit and fix shed.

I was also planning to have separate beds, probably raised.

Good luck, Linda

  • Posted: Sun. 5th April 2009 16:18


Reply from Joanne 9919

Hi Linda,

It's exciting isn't it? Did you manage to get much done today?

I've already started digging over a couple of beds and I'm going to get my potatoes in there this coming week.

How long did it take for you to climb up the waiting list? I was waiting for an allotment for 20 months. Some people can wait years though now.


  • Posted: Sun. 5th April 2009 19:54

New plot

Reply from Linda

Hi Jo
I think we waited 3 years! It's opposite Syon Park, near Richmond and Twickenham. We were there from 11 til 6.30 today, with a quick pub lunch. My boy now feels like I've been swimming - all those rarely used muscles! It still doesn't look like much, but we cleared the shed, loads of brambles were growing in the fruit trees - my arms look a bit like Amy Winehouse! (The scratches!) Completely exhausted, but we enjoyed it and forgot the daily troubles.

  • Posted: Mon. 6th April 2009 20:50

New Plot

Reply from Joanne 9919

Hi Linda,

Have you taken some photos before you started?

I'm going to record each stage with pictures, that way I'll hopefully be able to see how far I've progressed.


  • Posted: Tue. 7th April 2009 17:19


Reply from kerry crooks

hi i am 1 year ahead of you as i got my lottie last year. I found chicken manure (dried from b+q) to be beneficial, its not as harsh as cow/horse manure but has enough goodness to last the growing season...then you can manure in autumn with the bad boy manure!!

Congrats by the way, if i have any advice its take one step at a time, don't let the size or workload needed phase you and take lots and lots of pics of your progress....this will spur you on. Good luck
Kerry x

  • Posted: Wed. 20th May 2009 18:47


Reply from Joanne 9919

Thanks for your tips Kerry.

I have been using chicken manure. I'm going to manure with well rotted horse manure in autumn ready for next year.

I'm finding it really slow going getting each bed ready, but we've got a week off work this coming week so I'm hoping to get lots done then.


  • Posted: Fri. 22nd May 2009 08:49

beware of horse manure

Reply from Adam Rubinstein

I've been growing veggies for a while and have stopped using horse manure for 2 reasons.
1. a lot of horses are now kept on wood shavings (it's cheaper) that take ages to break down.
2. Horses eat hay and the grass seed seems to pass through their system intact. They then sprout all over my raised beds.
My most successful crop is garlic. Every year I plant cloves in October and harvest in July (I'm in Cumbria but if you're in the south you could plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest). My mum brought me back 2 huge bulbs from s. of France 20 years ago and I've been eating them ever since, keeping the best 5 bulbs to plant each year. they keep through almost until the next harvest, don't take much space (4" apart in a block), don't suffer from pests (sometimes get rust just before harvest but the bulbs are fine), use the space over winter. They do like a rich soil though. This year I was in Florence in January and bought 2 new bulbs on the market, planted the cloves (about 10 from each bulb) at the beginning of February and they quickly grew and overtook the original ones and ended up bigger. I'll see how the flavour compares and how well they keep but we may be going Italian from now on! You can plant any garlic but choose the biggest ones you can find in the richest soil you can make.

  • Posted: Tue. 21st July 2009 12:35


Reply from Joanne 9919

Thanks Adam.

We don't use alot of garlic, so I'm not planning on growing much, if any. You sound as though you've found a good variety though.


  • Posted: Tue. 21st July 2009 17:50