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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:19 am    Post subject: New project starting. Reply with quote

A friend of mine is learning horticulture. He's sharing a half plot on the local allotments with somebody he doesn't like. We're going to take on a full plot in the autumn. I have a herb garden, 6 raised beds and a small polytunnel. I have the experience/knowledge but three prolapsed discs. He can do the heavy work that I can't. We will be treating both sites as "ours" and splitting planting plans, crops and time equally.

Apart from spuds, what crops would you plant in the allotment, and which in the cottage garden? Just brainstorming at the moment, so input is appreciated.

Also, could we sell surplus at the farmers' market? Anybody with experience of this?
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooh a match made in heaven. Your experience and someone else's back! A win, win situation. Very Happy

There is no reason why there can't be some overlap with the crops, but it is probably best if the bulky, one time harvest stuff is grown on the allotment and the cut and come again salads and the like, in the raised beds - where you can keep an eye on them.

My raised beds are working out very well for some things but growing peas is a bit of a pain in a narrow bed. I think they would be better grown in long rows in an allotment.

Sweetcorn, courgettes, pumpkins all take up a lot of space - allotment again.

Can't advise on Farmer's Markets, but I would have thought high value (not carrots or potatoes) and more unusual veg would be the things to go for. In Belleek there is a guy who sells fresh fruit and veg 3 days a week. At the weekend he has some quite 'exotic' stuff - turmeric root, pak choi, daikon etc. He keeps getting it in so it must be selling.

Best wishes on your venture.

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I go along with what Sue says, but what to plant relies on what the two of you like to eat? You've assumed 'spuds' but, in my limited space, I only grow a few, mainly earlies and second earlies, because I won't spray. Spuds are basically cheap to buy so I tend to let someone else mess up his soil with sprays.

Beyond that, and with economy in mind, I tend to go for a) things that will keep like Onions, b) those that will stand over winter when food prices rise in the shops, e.g. parsnips, leeks, and c) brassicas that, again, will come in when shop prices go up, e.g. Sprouts, curly kale and purple sprouting. There is a fourth category - peas, runner beans and broad beans - that, although they all come in a rush, can be frozen AND cost nothing for seed as you can save your own.

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What size is the allotment?
Look into companion planting and sowing quick growing veg in amongst the slow growing big stuff (brassicas) maximising your use of the available space.

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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks people! The reason I said spuds is because I don't have space at home for them, likewise pumpkins. Might try globe artichokes. Long season crops are also a good idea. I was also considering Fragaria vesca (Wild/Alpine strawberry). My friend has some Jerusalem artichokes from Seed Savers that can be moved. He doesn't like Oca. The plot is approximately 10m square. Was also thinking of summer and autumn raspberries.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raspberries - lovely. But for goodness sake get them properly netted!

I feed the birds all through the Winter and they reward me by scoffing all my rasberries - but not for much longer!!

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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, next question. After initial cultivation and weed removal (thankfully no need to double dig), we plan to sow some broad beans and garlic in Oct/Nov. Now then, green manures for winter. Landsberger mix, or a different one for each bed depending on rotations? Given that this will be year one, so not planting anything else until spring, as I have established beds at home. We are going to do wooden raised beds, mypex and woodchip paths (I have the mypex already, and tree surgery contacts from a past life!). We will need to rabbit fence the plot. I can get free secondhand stakes, and a roll of chicken wire is 50 euros from the coop.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sow brassicas now for spring harvesting. No point leaving the beds empty until spring.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My raised beds were newly built last year so I didn't grow much from seed. I did buy in some spring cabbage. It was worth every penny. I cut the cabbage but left the stalks and have been eating fresh, tender cabbage all spring/summer from just 8 plants. I only got them so the beds didn't seem so empty!

You might also try sowing broad beans. They are pretty tough and should give you an early crop. If not, they would still be storing nitrogen on their roots, which NEXT year's cabbages will love. Very Happy

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all http://wireandfencedepot.ie/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=47 will halve your fencing cost?

Without wishing to be derogatory, your site is only 33ft square and, if you split it into just four beds with a cross-shaped pair of paths, you're going to lose about 12% of it in paths alone if my maths is correct?

As I've said elsewhere, the raised beds concept seems to me to be far too restrictive in terms of ground usage but, if you were to save your mate's back by hiring a rotavator for an afternoon, you could have the whole lot turned into a fine tilth in an hour. Two rolls of black builders' membrane will leave it weed free and loose for when you start planting in the New Year BUT, if you happen to come across a few rhubarb crowns at the end of this summer, they could be slipped under one corner. If you can source a load of farmyard, that could be spread before laying the membrane and avoids the need for green manure. Worms will take it down and, because the membrane will prevent soil compaction by winter rain, you can roll it back at the beginning of March, draw out your drills and plant away. With our weather, it's always a 'ruddy blush' to get ground dug and seeds planted in March so any start you can get must surely be welcome.

You may also need to allocate space for a compost heap. I don't enjoy raining on your parade, Tippben, but I genuinely feel you could get better use from that small plot?

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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot depends on what you want to grow. Yes, runner beans and potatoes are best grown in a conventional plot. But I am a great fan of raised beds for many reasons.

I think I have mentioned that some years ago we built a raised bed for a friend who had back problems. We built it, waist-height, in the shape of a capital G. It is certainly smaller than 33ft square, yet I am constantly amazed at how much she can grow in it (enough for her family and some to give away). She does, however, grow spuds in bags and runner beans in the border.

Some of that 12% would be lost to cultivation anyway - unless your arms are VERY long. Laughing

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Sue, I recall when raised beds first came about for wheelchair users, they were an excellent idea but it seems to me that, like tunnels, they've become a fad. It's impossible these days to go for a bike ride without Lycra, emblazoned with logos, shoes you can't walk in and a helmet, and there's a saying that fishing tackle catches more fishermen than fish.

Formal paths between raised beds will rejuvenate naturally - but will never be used for crops - and, on 10m x 10m, divided by four, they'll still have to walk on the beds to access crops. However, once folk have all the facts at their disposal, they must choose.

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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just checked today. the plot we measured was 36' 3" x 27' 9" (11mx 8.45m) including a central path. I am meeting the head of the committee tomorrow morning. Happy days! :)
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Good guy
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm looking forward to your progress reports, Tippben. Good luck with it.
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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ho Ho! We have a plot 25' x 34' from November. 90 euros. It is currently being cultivated by one of the committee to prevent it going fallow. It looks perfect, no weeds, and I can plot which crops are currently there for rotation. It's in drills/raised earth beds, whatever you call them, so I reckon we'll stick with that rather than making a ton of unnecessary work.
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