What would you grow in your ideal allotment?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
This is Lifeguard 1980- I am not sure what an allotment is , but I'm assuming that you have a parcel of land that you can garden on. Lucky you, since I live in West Hollywood which is a city within the greater Metropolitan Los Angeles area, and parcels of land here are part of privately owned homes, and are VERY small. I live in an apartment, and there is no way to grow, in fact our land lord has the gardeners hack the grass to where it won't grow, because she doesn't want to pay for the small amount of water some of us used after seeding, and actually getting a lawn started.
I have always daydreamed of owning my own restaurant, w/ a fusion of S.E.Texas, East Coast and California cuisine's, and growing a garden on the rooftop. Have you heard or seen pictures of doubling/tripling your space by using hydroponics-growing on inverted V shaped racks 6-8ft high- 6ft wide, and 10-40ft long? You can grow pretty much any type of vegetables, but melons/squashes (vine vegetables) would need to be grown on separate racks, retained in their area, & fruit/vegetable mesh holders used to hold them up/supported so they don't prematurely fall from their own weight. By using this growth method would increase your growing area by 4-6x, leaving you more ground space for some lettuces/greens, corn, chives, shallots. potatoes, and if you have the space some miniature fruit trees. You could, for reasonable cost covert the hydroponics area to a green house, using clear plastic tarps well affixed to the ground to keep heat in, and continue growing by heating the water flowing thru the tubes, placing black plastic on the ground beneath the racks to absorb an retain heat, which would be released from the ground in the night, during winter.
It would cost some, and you would need access to hydro, but by shopping smart & looking up the designs (I decided to leave that to you, since it's only of value if your interested). If you have a friend who is a welder, then your investment cost would be limited to the raw materials, a pump, and beer for your friend(s). You would be able to grow your own vegetables, herbs, & some berries year round, & only go to the market for protein, and the things you can't grow. Your imagination really is the limit of what you can do, and in the end you may grow enough that you can sell it at the market, year round, make your allotment, a money saver, & earner.
Any chefs interested in this & Have Access to their roof (you need to be sure of weight limitations of the roof): Please contact me as I would like to partner on this type of project, and would gladly/Volunteer to do the work required myself (short of welding), so that you have a wide variety of herbs, more vegetables than you can imagine, and a unique & great way to promote and market your establishment. What I ask in return: access to cook in your kitchen to grow my business, which could be done during the hours you're closed, and would provide my own raw materials(need a place to store), and would guarantee your kitchen be as clean if not cleaner than when you closed. I majored in Business Administration M.S., and Marketing B.S., so if you do have the roof and the access, I know just what a great way to Market your business this is, and we might be able to work out a deal w/ my no charge to advise on Marketing, and the possibility of cross-marketing; which would benefit us both greatly. (Contact lifeguard1980) BEST of LUCK!, Simplehomecook, -Do Not under estimate your self, or the health & expense benefit!! I sincerely hope this will be of interest, & recognizable benefit to you, lifeguard1980
I remember I always wished to have an allotment when I was living in London.
I had a mini balcony, which I made best use of. Here are a few things that grow well in the UK, and then some I wished I had space for:
- Chillies grow amazingly well, don't keep them in full sunlight
- as well, peppers do just fine.
- Oil based herbs like thyme and rosemary will do fine, again, not in full sunlight to start with. These are hardy, but most don't like frost, so keep them in pots and bring them back in for winter.
- Always had trouble with water based herbs (parsley, mint, basil especially), maybe my balcony was too much in the shade...? Careful to keep mint in a pot, under control. Left to its own, it will spread like weed and become hard to get rid of.
- Squashes and pumpkins will do great, but take a lot of space in your garden. If possible, allow them to climb on whatever wooden frame you can build, they will save you ground space.
- Frames could also come in handy for garden peas or French beans, which are sometime quite pricey when bought fresh.
- If you have the space, root vegs, but I think these are good and cheap already in the UK, so no need to bother.
- Get a small greenhouse, and get tomatoes going, these are extremely rewarding. They also become quite bushy, and can easily hide one or two less "legal", but fun, plants, if you're into it.
- On the edges, get some strawberries going, and some raspberries and other bushy currants close to the borders, where you don't need to walk across.
If you're gonna be there everyday, get a few cages and put some rabbits in there, they will eat all the veg peels and leaves you won't. and will do for a great stew come winter (but that's getting closed to substantial farming, not just for fun, and not for everyone)
That's pretty much how I'd do it :) I hope this helps
Spring crops- peas,spinach and lettuces, other greens. When it gets warm enough for your summer crops you can really crowd them in next to the spring crops that you will harvest before the new plants need the room. Well I can anyway. Maybe you can grow my spring crops all summer?
I don't bother with potatoes, onions or carrots. They are cheap and readily available in the store and root crops don't do well in my clay soil. In your area these might be great though. I've heard in milder climates you can cover them with straw and dig them most of the winter. Probably can do that with rutabaga, turnips and beets too.
Green beans, tomatoes, okra, basil and peppers do great in my climate. They produce like crazy and freeze well. Summer and winter squash and melons take up too much room for me. Courgette (we call them zucchini) do produce like crazy though and aubergines (eggplant!) should do well for you. Cucumbers are easy, and you can make pickles.
I grow chives, garlic chives, oregano, thyme, sage, dill and mints. They are compact, (if you keep them in line) pretty, and perennial. I grow lavender just because I love it. Parsley and cilantro always wilt on me.
Strawberries because you need something to make for dessert. My mom has raspberries, they are a pain & we never get much from them. Her grapes are nice but they took a lot of years to get going.
I love all the cabbage family. I've only grown broccoli and kohlrabi. Kohlrabi takes a lot of room for little return. Cabbage is huge and I've heard you have to cover cauliflower heads.
This year I promise myself I will finally plant asparagus. I can find it wild but its never enough. I want to try fennel, the kind you grow for the bulb.
When can you start planting? April for me.
Lifeguard 1980, I love the LA area, my son and daughter in law live there. There are lots of area there you can have a garden. Do you have a roof top that you can get to. Build some planter boxes and have at it. Also do you have a patio or balcony again planter boxes. I have a couple of planter boxes and large pots where I live and grow enough food for myself. I hope you start growing and enjoy what you produce.
I grew ghost peppers from seeds (long term project- kept them in the house the first year and on a heat pad over winter). As soon as I planted it it took off producing upwards of 170 peppers!
Other than that we did tomatoes, bell peppers, habaneros, cucumbers, and eggplant.
Adding on to XiaoAn, my ghosts did get burned a bit, the pods turn purplish in spots not a more obvious black color. Similar thing happened to my cactus though it quickly changed to more obvious sunburn shades.
The Italian parsley was awesome. I harvested the last bunch in late September and it was still fresh in the fridge until the end of January.
Lol, my young cat shredded the curry plant. The little one is weird.
Parsley is immortal. Mine survived -20°C in the garden and still tries to take over the bed. Well, it can battle it out with the peppermint.
My wife & I have 24 acres(9.712 hectares), most of it was lift to us when our fathers past.
My problem is we live in the city in South Carolina,USA.
The 3 lots are not together & they are 18 miles from my house.
I can & do have a garden, small orchard, some grape vines.
But I can not have animal that far away from my house.
I would love to raise fish,quails, pigeons,doves,rabbits & chickens.
Maybe a goat or two.