One Man & his organic plot - Part Five

  • Last updated: 22 November 2022
Our Head of Organic Horticulture, Chris Collins takes us on his allotment journey...
Chris Collins in his winter garden

The phrase ‘you reap what you sow’ certainly rings true in August and suddenly I’m drowning in courgettes, this really is the plant that keeps on giving and I am struggling to stay on top. It has opened up a new front on my allotment activities though and it’s at home in the kitchen, where my culinary skills have been in action in order to make use of the five marrows I collected last week. I would not describe the marrow as the tastiest of my produce but stuffed they do go down well.

Now I have the prospect of drowning in French and runner beans, as I mentioned before, these crops are everywhere on my allotment site and I can’t help wondering if Barrowell allotments could keep the whole of North London in green beans for the rest of the year. It’s great to see successful results though and I have one or two heritage varieties from GO’s library in the mix, which I’m quite excited about. Let’s hope the rather rickety bamboo frame I’ve built holds up under the weight of these happy looking plants.

Another crop that has done well this year are the tomatoes. We have had lots of sun this summer and that combined with a regular feed of liquid seaweed and comfrey extract some very vigorous plants have been produced. They are now full of trusses and young tomatoes. I will head down to the allotment today and start cutting away the foliage to allow the light and enable ripening. This is going to be a fundamental job if I want to avoid them staying green on the plants. The sun has been a bit absent in the past few weeks and so when it’s out I want it working on reddening those tommie’s. I do have one dilemma with the tomatoes though and that's on the balcony, they really have taken over, they almost look like a hedge! I’ll be out there with the scissors this week for some delicate surgery. I absolutely love a tomato so I’m determined to crop all my bounty.

It’s worth just a mention also that I have a bumper crop of citrus lemon cucumbers, these are fantastic. They have been easy to grow outside and are the ultimate thirst quenchers, thus saving me quite a lot of money on bottled water. I note also that these are popular with the Growth growers at Ryton and I wonder if they have been munching on them too.

Suffice to say all the hard work from earlier in the year is paying off and every time I head down to the allotment I am coming home with two full carrier bags of food, not only is it delicious to eat but it’s saving me some of my hard earned coin too. Although my battle with the mares-tail continues, I have to say some of my favourite moments of this year have been on that allotment site.

However, I’m already planning for the development of my plot this winter and casting an eye over the catalogues.

A good gardener always thinks ahead.

Happy Gardening, Chris Collins

Take a look back at the last editions

One Man & his organic plot - Part One

One Man & his organic plot - Part Two

One Man & his organic plot - Part Three

One Man & his organic plot - Part Four