In my last blog post, Derry’s Field Part 1: Bursting the allotment site bubble, I was completely side-tracked by the revelation that different allotment sites may get stuck in ruts of repeating and replicating the same plot plans. As a result, I never got around to actually sharing the notes and photos I made of the plants and techniques I unearthed at Derry’s Field.
So, “Part 2: Derry’s field – the highlights” is below.
I saw lots of interesting things on my Derry’s field trip, but I’ve chosen three highlights. Some of these ideas I’d like to use next year, some are just interesting and intriguing, and some are so far outside the bubble of my own allotment site that they are actually banned. As such, I have included one idea I can’t use, one I won’t use and one I definitely will use. Regardless of my own plans, maybe these ideas are something you are already using, can use, would like to consider, or debate in your own mind.
1. An idea I can’t use: Low cordon apple plot dividers
Admittedly, I’ve seen this idea in one of those allotmenting books that I’m am sure we all have under our coffee tables, but seeing cordon apples as a step-over plot divider, in practice was a real treat. It seems to be such a good use of space as they are basically fences that produce fruit and of course they would look so pretty in spring when they are covered in blossom.
Unfortunately at my site we are not allowed to grow trees of any form, even cordon or espalier, on our plots. There is a separate orchard area for fruit trees. So, although I love this idea, it’s not one I can add to my plot plan. If I ever own my own garden I would use this for sure.
2. An idea I won’t use: Spraying copper sulphate on tomatoes
I was warned off growing tomatoes during my first tour of the allotment site, and I now realised that this warning was the first potential entrapment inside my allotment site’s bubble. Apparently blight is so common on the site that there’s little point even trying to grow tomatoes. This does not seem to be the common understanding at Derry’s Field, where most plots contained tomatoes growing in the ground, or in green houses.
I was most impressed by the multitude of tomatoes varieties grown in huge rows by an Italian gentlemen. On closer inspection there was something alien about his crops. They were all mottled blue! Turns out, he sprays his rows and rows of tomatoes with copper sulphate. I’d never heard of this. I’m not saying I’d ever use it, as for one it looks like poison, but I’ve learnt something new. Upon further reading I’ve learnt that Copper sulphate is toxic to humans, animals and aquatic life and so it’s not something I would employ on my own crops.
For more information about spraying with copper check out this page by tomatodirt.com
3. An idea I will use: Growing Morning Glory through climbing beans
This is such a simple, but effective idea, to grow morning glory (such as Morning Glory “Lazy Lux“, or “Hazelwood Blues“), up and through the canes supporting the climbing beans. I imagine this technique serves two purposes: one, the large flowers would help attract pollinators to the beans and two, it looks beautiful. I’m definitely going to copy this idea on my own plot for next year.
Are you using any of these techniques? How successful have they been?