Our New Allotment Trolley

For a while now we have been struggling with moving stuff between the house and the allotment, whether it be seedlings that I have started off at home or larger items like slabs or fence posts.

In my wisdom I bought a fiat 500c, just after we took on the allotment, not a great choice! Despite having a larger car (hubbies) it’s not always around to go ‘allotment shopping’, so these days, whatever I can I order online and have it delivered to the house. The problem had become getting it from the house to the allotment. Only a ten minute walk but it can feel like hours when you’re carrying something heavy!

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Those that know me will also remember that I’m somewhat of an Amazon addict. So this was my first (and only) port of call in looking for a solution.  It was here that I spotted this fantastic garden trolley made by Draper, sold on Amazon and dispatched by Richard Dyer.

I wasn’t disappointed, fast delivery and after a little fiddling with the locking bolts to get the thing together, it works a dream, super sturdy and easy to manoeuvre and can manage weights of up to 200kg!

I now finally feel I can give my car a proper clean and spare it from have grubby allotment tools etc.

All is well again!

You can buy the trolley here.


Attempting a Spot of Fencing!


A half term and bar a few colds we are all well, a rare occurrence indeed! My allotment ‘to do’ list (for which I have been using both Wunderlist and my Bullet Journal ) has been growing by the day, seeds have been arriving through the front door and we hadn’t, until this week, got off our bottoms.

So much to do but hubby’s getting a little frustrated with the amount of stuff I have in the garage awaiting it’s final home at the allotment, so I thought we’d start with the fencing and get some of those larger items shifted!


Having cleared away a large section of the old chicken wire fence (that I have yet to decide what to do with – I’ll find something!) I set about putting my new heavy duty fence post rammer in to action! I had toyed with possibly not using one of these but the posts went in so easily that I’m please that I did. I must admit though that our fence ‘posts’ were actually tree stakes but they are plenty hardy enough for our lightweight fencing, which is more of a barrier and deterrent to entry rather than secure fencing and a lot cheaper too when covering such a large area.

I had also ordered some fencing nails but along with some wire, I think they have been eaten by the garage monster, they will no doubt turn up when the fencing is complete. Being the inpatient creature that I am I set to work with the wire fence and the staple gun, which surprisingly gave a really secure attachment, I may go over with the fencing nails when I find them but I think it will be ok without.


I have to say that I’m really pleased with how it’s gone so far! I’m about half way and that only took around an hour or so. I’m really looking forward to getting the rest done for the complete look!

I’ll no doubt share some pictures of continued work in progress and when I’ve finished. Follow on instagram and facebook @diggingtheearth.

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A Brand New Year at the Allotment!

Happy New Year!

After a really difficult 2016, unfortunately our time at the allotment tapered off in the last quarter of the year and boy did I miss the place. Now here we are, a brand new year and a fresh start, I’ve been doing a spot of allotment shopping and I can’t wait to get cracking!

Initial plans are to replace the makeshift fencing that we made when we first got hold of the plot with something a little more permanent. I’ve bought some green coated wire fencing and plenty of posts.

Plans also involve all of the winter digging, chicken poop spreading and covering the beds to hopefully warm them up so that they’re all prepped and good to go as soon as spring arrives.

In order to get myself through the cold days, I’ve invested in a small camping stove for the shed, just to warm the place through and get some coffee on or maybe some soup. Little touches that just make me more likely to head up to the plot on days when I might otherwise have been put off.

All in all, there’s plenty to be getting on with!

Sarah x

Catch Up

It’s been well over eight weeks since I last worked at the allotment, it has been such a rough time for much of the Autumn that my gardening has taken a hit. Those that follow me on instagram (@diggingtheearth) will know that I had been supporting my Auntie through her end of life care. Something that was all consuming and obviously very important to me.

It’s time now to try to move on and get things moving again and what better therapy but to get back to the plot!

I’m going to be taking a good look around, snapping lots of photos and make a jobs list (which despite the season, I’m sure will be extensive)!

As I have mentioned to my customers (www.evokevisual.com) my fresh start just won’t wait until 2017!

I look forward to keeping you updated!

Sarah x

Making a new strawberry patch…

Now that the strawberries have well and truly “gone over” I decided to tidy up the patch by cutting back all of this years foliage, along the way I gathered up the multitude of runners that had developed. Most of them had rooted within the straw of the bed and were easy enough to put to one side.


With the current patch tidy, and a mass of healthy runners, a new patch was in order! We didn’t manage to completely fill the plot this year (although we did come close) so I felt we were able to allow another bed for our fave fruit!


After weeding the bed that I had in mind, armed with a board to stand on and a little trowel I popped in quite a few rows of little plants.

img_0031After gaining a little more experience in this allotment business we have learnt to not necessarily try to grow everything but to focus more on the foods that we really enjoy. We’re also beginning to get a feel for the kind of yield we can expect.

As I have said from the moment we began though, we’ll just get stuck in and learn as we go!

Sarah X

The Raspberry Glut

It’s blissful to be back on the plot again, and I’m beginning to understand the “gluts” that people have spoken about. Our first year “in production” gave us some fruit and veg which I was thrilled with but definitely not more than we could cope with.

I am noticing though, that our raspberries are very productive this year, I can clear the bushes one day, go back the next and there are another few punnets ready again…fabulous stuff!!

We’re very keen on the nutri-bullet in our house, so the main thing for us is to get them washed and into the freezer ready for those winter smoothies and a taste of late summer! Maybe it’s me but I have noticed that when pulled off the plant, the fruit turns very quickly and we often see it go to waste, I think in snipping the fruit off though (like dead heading) it does last a little longer. I’ve also read that a white vinegar bath can help preserve fruit naturally.


People complain that shop bought fruit goes off quickly, when that happens to me, it’s a reassuring sign that not too many nasties have been sprayed on it!

Now that we’ve got the plot in ‘proper’ production my thoughts are turning to other ways of using our berries…flavoured vodka, cakes, puddings, jams and ice-creams maybe?! We will certainly continue in our organic ways and work out how to speed up our storage process!

Sarah x


A Busy Little Plot!

The plot has been fantastically busy of late and we are taking home lots of fresh fruit and veg! Such a great feeling after so much work! There’s even been enough to share with friends. I thought I’d give you a little update of how things are going!

Firstly, like most other gardeners we have been tackling the weeds and lots of them, I don’t think this has been helped though by our decision to use horse manure, we now have lots and lots of grass in big clumps that constantly need trimming and turning over. In some places this is fine, as it serves to create grassy areas where we want them but in others, it’s a nightmare. I will be using other means of soil improvement in the future.


The Fruit Cage
Around the fruit cage we threw down some poppy seeds which have given a good show but they are now going over, the bees seemed to love them at their peak though. In the fruit cage the gooseberry bush is looking healthy, no fruit yet though. The new redcurrant and blueberry buses that we planted are looking strong and much bigger, I’m hoping they will fruit next year. There’s quite a bit of open ground in the fruit cage, where I am allowing the grass to grow around the bushes, I’m keeping this down by strimming.

The Rhubarb Patch
Now, I have been told that I probably have too many rhubarb plants and I must admit, we haven’t gone short! It is something that seems to be gratefully received by friends, so until I feel that I need the additional space, I’ll let the current plants do their thing. Around the rhubarb we managed to squeeze an early row of crimson flowering broad beans, but I did make the mistake of not giving them enough support and they did get rather battered by winds earlier in the season. Along side the rhubarb we also managed a couple of teepee structures, one for runner beans and one for kelvedon wonder peas, both of which are producing aplenty! We also have two rows of red onions in that are too, which we are now taking as required.


The Herb Patch
The herbs are one of the few things that we haven’t moved around since the first layout of the plot. We find that it’s working well having the herb garden next to the entrance to the plot, for those days when you just want to dash and grab for tea! So far we have rosemary, thyme, peppermint, marjoram, sage, a gorgeous lemon balm (great for tea), oregano and curry leaf. I’m also going to move the bay tree up into this area, when I take the peas out.

To the right of the entrance, up until last week we had our early potatoes which we are now eating. There are also two other locations on the plot which have a healthy show of spuds, we haven’t touched these yet though. Next year this funny shaped bed will be our cut flower area I think (I have been know to change my mind though!).

The Children’s Plots
I have been amazed at how well the kids have responded to having a little piece of ground of their own. Their plots have been entirely planted and maintained by themselves, giving them a huge sense of pride in their areas and a grin from ear to ear when anything actually produces food! All they were given were a few seeds or young plants and some basic instructions as to what that plant would need and away they went! I will be moving them onto another area in the spring to ensure good rotation.

Mixed Veg Areas
We have probably been a little unconventional in our layout, in that much of our plot is a mish mash! Down the right hand side we now have shallots, radish (not doing to well), corn on the cob, beetroot, dwarf runner beans and broccoli. These are all youngish plants that I’m not quite sure if they will produce much at this time of year, but it’s worth giving it a go! To the left we have celery, more peas, kale, tomatoes, courgettes and leeks and potatoes.


I’m really pleased to say that this year we are having much more luck with our cabbages, in that we have cabbages! Edible cabbages! We also have some healthy looking romanesco, cauliflower, sprouts and more broccoli.

This has been an ongoing thing for us, we are slowly improving with our succession growing and have had some really tasty lettuce and spring onions. We have unfortunately had an entire batch of baby gem wiped out by slugs, so armed with ‘slug gone’ are giving them another go. In the communal greenhouse, we have some slow to get going toms, but are now looking great and will hopefully ripen before then end of the season. We also have toms on the plot that are looking good too. I really must label things with a little more detail now that we are getting into it though as I really can’t remember what varieties we are growing. There are clearly differences, but I labelled them all ‘toms’!

Aside from the fruit cage bushes we are also growing summer and autumn raspberries and strawberries. The strawberry runners are working themselves into a row of peas so that’s top of my to-do list to pot some of those runners and get rid of the unwanted ones, seems a shame but there’s so many it’s difficult to keep them all. I may add in strawberry plants in between my raspberry canes though.


The Wildlife Area
I think this little spot deserves a post of it’s own, but in short, I couldn’t be happier with the way it has turned out, poppy’s, nasturtiums, cornflowers, lots of wildflowers and weeds have completely brought the area to life. We have been rewarded with little frogs and many different mini beasts, I’m hoping this little corner will give great balance to our plot naturally (I hope the frogs eat the slugs!).


The Shed
Since taking on the plot I have been desperate for a shed! Finally we got there, after a day of flatpack hell, I now have a little spot to shelter from the rain, grab a brew and change my wellies. It’s made a big difference in our ability to ‘pop in’ to the allotment rather than hauling lots of stuff with us each time. The shed warming party went down a treat too! Next on my shopping list is a greenhouse, maybe in the sales…we’ll see!


There’s lots of other little growing nooks that we have created including out teepee grow house but I’ll cover some more in another post. Well done and thank you if you have read down this far! I’d love to hear how you are getting on too!

Sarah x



Walks in the Rain

A birthday party invite last weekend took us out into the pouring rain to drop our little man off for fun in the woods (great party idea by the way). Not having a lot else to do myself, hubby and little lady thought we’d take a nature walk of our own.


Despite the opening of the heavens we donned our coats and wellies and headed of into the woods in the area of Milltown, Derbyshire, the home of an old quarry “Milltown Quarry”. A gorgeously green and lush area that still bore the marks of quarrying days gone by with some ironworks and tunnels that nature has long since claimed back.


We came across lots of easily accessible streams which proved a great hit for a paddle (wellies on!) and a huge amount of wild garlic that filled the air with it’s scent, amplified by the rain. Some gorgeous trees and flowers were also spotted (please comment if you know what they are).


The rain eventually went off and the walkways began steaming, all in all, I think we were reminded of this quote…

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”
Alfred Wainwright, A Coast to Coast Walk: A Pictorial Guide

…and in future, we’re not going to let a bit of rain stop us from getting out and about!



The Allotment in Spring Time! 

A frosty morning in Derbyshire

It’s been a busy time of things here! This spring is the first that I’ve actually been able to get some seeds started ready for the allotment and we’re all finding it very exciting!

Our first spring on the plot was a little less organised, not for lack of hard work, but we just didn’t have enough ground dug to think about much else. This time last year was all about the clearing!

I’m really pleased to say that at this current point in time we are pretty much in top of things! There’s still so much that I’d like to do with the space and obviously get lots of food growing but that feeling of being completely overwhelmed has begun to subside. With my experience gained last year  I now realise that just a couple of weeks of neglect and the weeds will be back in charge so I’m doing my very best not to let that happen!

The past month or so we have managed to get a good amount of seeds started, flowers and veg. I’m going to experiment with getting some started early in our little greenhouses and starting others a little later straight outside. We’ll see!

We’ve managed to start shaping our wildlife area too, this is going to be a fun project that the kids are really enthusiastic about!

I had managed to clear much of my  compost heap, using much of the fab stuff that came from it to shape the area where the pond will be. That was until the very spot was filled with a trailer load off free horse muck! Too good an offer to be fussy about my freshly cleared ground!

I’m not sure if the muck has rotted down enough to use straight where I’m growing but I have plenty of areas that would welcome a good layer of muck mulch, which can be dug in later in the year!

I mentioned to my husband when I wondered how things had changed in life that I was so excited at the prospect of a truckload of free poo!

Nick Bakers Worm World / Worm Farm


I thought it would be a great idea to ask Father Christmas to bring my little man a one of these fantastic sets to create his very own worm habitat! 


It’s all very good telling the kids what a great invaluable job all of the worms in the soil but nothing quite gets the message across like seeing it in action.


We had our Worm World set up in just about half an hour and hope to make some interesting observations over the coming weeks!

You can find out about this set and others here, including a video of Nick Baker showing you how to set up the Worm World.