advice on downsizing

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retropants
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advice on downsizing

Postby retropants » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:32 pm

You may have read elsewhere that I'll be giving up my allotment this autumn after 27 years :(

I have a few thoughts on how to transfer from having 4 huge allotment plots down to having one very small plot at the end of my garden, but any tips would be gratefully received. It is going to be interesting trying to grow everything that I want to!!
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby Monika » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:33 pm

As you may have read, retropants, we are doing the same. Our garden plot is about 10' x 15'. It is well worked soil and any produce on it has always been plentiful. So, after this year (when we still have autumn/winter brassicas and lots of leeks on the allotment), I intend to get two crops a year out of it, say, early peas followed by winter brassicas, broad beans followed by leeks etc. Potatoes and carrots will go into pots, probably also beetroot and salad stuff. Maybe you could do similar?
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby Westi » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:08 pm

Hi Retropants,

I thought long & hard about what to grow when there was the threat of me having to give up one plot last year. I know I grow too much anyway but was considering things like lettuce, toms, beets etc would all be OK in containers & could make a nice display. And obviously spuds in bags. I love the challenge of brassica's & the brassicas as well so they would have to figure in but was planning on growing mini's so closer spacing for them. I would have kept the asparagus bed even though it is quite big as the saving from not buying that is quite significant, as is the soft fruit which I would have transferred a few to plant along the fence to double as a wind break.

I did look at the square foot gardening idea but decided not for me, so settled on the idea of 1/2 or 1/4 rows of things in longer beds. I was so relieved when I got an invoice for both plots in January. Apparently the committee backed it as there is only 2 of us with 2 full plots and they argued our 2 plots were in better nick than most of the 1/2 plots, but I will be pondering this again at some point in the future no doubt, so look forward to the replies.
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:52 pm

I was going to suggest the square foot idea, or the Chinese version of planting in blocks instead of straight lines. I'm just growing what I really like eating instead of things I've always grow out of habit. And a few spare greens for the hens. Fewer of everything and some inter planting.
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby retropants » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:49 am

thankyou all, PP, interesting thought on growing things out of habit, or just beacause you can. I'll have a good think about what I really need to grow, ie. things I will use the most. First thing would be soft fruit!

The area I will be using is currently poor quality hardstanding, with my old Triumph Herald sitting on it. On one long side (neighbours side) is a 10ft++ long laurel hedge, and it is a monster, so it will have to come out, and I'll have to pay someone to do it, as the trunks are pretty mammoth! One short edge, which is currently the end of the herbaceous end of one side of the garden, is trellis with Ivy & honeysuckle (It screens the hardstanding from the rest of the garden). This will also have to come out. I think replacing the laurel with a wall is preferable (south facing), and then replace the trellis with fence panel (west facing). The other long edge is access for me, and the other short edge is the end of the garden with the garage door (I will be leaving 2ft hardstanding outside of the garage).

I am also thinking of edging the rectangle with either bricks or sleepers. not sure yet. The plot will take up just under half of the hardstanding end of the garden, the other half has my teeny greenhouse and completley overloaded shed! I will try and take some pics later!

sorry for rambling on!
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby retropants » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:40 pm

Not very easy to see the space, because it is mostly all car! However, you can get an idea hopefully!
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby Westi » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:43 pm

That's not a bad size & you should be able to grow a fair bit. Have you thought of raised beds rather than dig out the hardcore? I think Pa posted some pics of his raised bed & had a great variety in them. (I'm sure if you pm him he will share hints & tips). Bit of an investment, unless you are handy with a saw & screws but would be handy as the years creep up & would keep you gardening for longer? Just a thought?
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby Primrose » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:16 pm

Retropants -are the photos showing your front garden or back garden? . Am unsure with the car there.
Do you have a front garden which could give you some more growing space ? I pulled out some manky roses from two front garden borders borders which are exposed to sunshine and replaced them with redcurrant, blackcurrant and goooseberry bushes, as well as as a strawberry bed, and as they look like shrubs they don,t look at all out out of place. This makes the front garden work for its living as otherwise, apart from car parking it would be dead space.

It will be hard work getting the laurel hedge roots out but unless you do the hedge will simply keep sprouting again.
Isnthe proposed veg space a sunny spot? Trying to grow in semi permanent shade will always lead to disappointing crops.
Tumbling tomatoes grow well in big pots and crop earlier than cordons. If you don,t have room for a compost heap, compost veg peelings in them during autumn and winter to keep the compost well nourished in winter. They will have rotted down by tomato planting time and save you from having to keep replacing the compost. This has worked well for me for years.

If you manure your ground well its surprising how. how much can grow in in a small space by planting things closer together than usually recommended. Try and plant the shorter plants at the front where they don,t get shaded out. It does mean that yiu cant manage crop rotation so well but in a small plot, something sometimes has to go.

I concentrate on growing the things I like to have ready at hand, especially in winter when I regularly want to pop out into the garden for kale, chard, leeks for my soup making. I don,t bother with potatoes which take us too much room. A few climbing beans up canes if you like them will allow you to plant in front of them in a border. One mini cucumber plant, if you like salads, will not take up much space and keep you well supplied And always leave space for a few salad leaves and some favourite herbs in pots as they can do much to enliven your cooking.

It will certain,be a challenge. After all these years without an allotment I still get frustrated sometimes that ai don't have enough veg growing space but with age creeping up on me, it,s necessary to be realistic about what I can physically manage. Good luck with yiue new venture. I,m sure we will all look forward to your progress reports.
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby retropants » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:39 pm

Hi Primrose, Thankyou!
It is the back garden, and it gets the sun for most of the day, it might even be the sunniest spot.
I'll get the car advertised before I make too many plans, as it is all dependant of having the spot clear by the autumn.
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby Pa Snip » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:21 am

Westi wrote: Have you thought of raised beds rather than dig out the hardcore? I think Pa posted some pics of his raised bed & had a great variety in them. (I'm sure if you pm him he will share hints & tips). ?



I'd be happy to.

My initial reaction is raised beds would save getting rid of that concrete. Could also bring whatever is planted there up into more sunlight, looks as if it could be quite shaded at ground level.
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby retropants » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:03 am

Thanks Pa :)
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Re: advice on downsizing

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:45 am

It looks like a useful sized space Retro and will look twice as big and useable without the hedge and honeysuckle. Good luck selling the car.

I think I would jot down several options and wait until the space is cleared to make a final decision - which is probably what you're doing.

Must admit the hedge looks a bit of a challenge to remove, but if you don't get the roots out it will waste quite a bit of space. With some good soil in front of the fence you should be able to grow lots of climbing things and more tender plants. Then perhaps a path round a 4 ft wide raised bed. Perhaps the hard standing is suitable for being a path if you don't take it all up.
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