Byelaw Men's Field

Recent articles

  • Clearing up the site 14th June 2014

    Some photographs from our site clearup day on Saturday 14th June 2014.
  • SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

    For several years now I have involved my grandchildren in my allotment but as two live in Sheffield and two live in Newcastle this has not been easy. Nonetheless they have a few raised beds in their gardens. I have one 9 year old grandson living in Leeds who sometimes helps especially when the strawberries, raspberries and peas are ready for picking. This year I came across the concept of ‘square foot gardening’ by Mel Bartholomew and decided to try it out although I had to call it ’30 centimetre gardening’ so my grandchildren could understand the idea. On my allotment plot I divided a six foot by four foot bed into twentyfour and my Leeds grandson planted these up with lettuce, radish, carrots, beetroot, a cabbage, a cauliflower, a broccoli, a tomato, a cucumber[this will grow up a frame rather than run along the ground], French beans, a sunflower, parsley and runner beans. My grandchildren in Sheffield and Newcastle have done something similar. Usually a bed is four feet square and to  maintain a steady supply of produce more than one bed will be required but a regular contribution of salad is already proving worthwhile. To find out more about this method visit:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_foot_gardening. I intend to add my comments during the growing season, my first observation is that to grow at these spacing and to grow organically the ground should be very fertile. I will be comparing the produce with produce planted elsewhere on the allotment at the same time. My initial impression is that it is useful to grow in this way when space is limited and it is particularly helpful in engaging children in growing vegetables. I have been gardening almost 60 years and the pleasure of hearing a grandson say to his mother ‘here you are mum lettuce and radish I have grown’ is beyond measure. Perhaps as they grow older they might leave gardening behind for a while but hopefully it will be there for them as adults. For me coming along are my two youngest grandchildren, a baby and a two year old whose introduction to ‘granddad’s allotment’ has been to eat peas and raspberries.     Autumn 2011. This has proved to be an excellent method of introducing children to gardening. Apart from the French beans which really required several blocks for a worthwhile crop everything grew amazingly well and would have fared better if I had been diligent with the watering. For those with a small garden but space for a few beds it would work very well especially with salad crops which, with a bit of planning should provide salad almost all year.
  • Recent sowings

    Sowed Tomato,sweetcorn, courgettess, squash and sunflowers. All these placed on a windowsill to germinate.
  • Recent planting

    Two beds of potatoes planted,Red Duke of York and Lady Chrystal. I am taking a chance because last year we had a heavy frost, on the 16th May and this cut back the growth resulting in the crop being later. I have now planted a bed of onion sets and spaced them six inches apart in staggered rows to try and minimise the threat of white rot even though this particular bed has not had onions in it for at least 12 years.Onions from seed which was sowed on the 24th December are now growing on in a coldframe but will not be planted out until late April.
  • Planting By The Moon

    The notion of planting by the moon goes back to ancient civilisations. You may be familiar with how the movement of the moon influences the rising and the falling of the tides. This influence is not restricted to tides only but actually affects plants and the soil they grow in.
  • ROOT CROPS

    My attempts to grow root crops by sowing seed in the open ground have either failed or germination has been erratic. Also, I think slugs and snails have eaten the seedlings as they emerge from the ground. Yet plot holders on each side of me seem to have no problems! It must be my sowing technique.
  • Carrots. Success at last.

    After minimal success in previous years with growing carrots, I decided to go down the designated carrot bed to be covered from sowing to harvest with Environmental netting.
  • Newsletters

    Byelaw Men's Field Newsletters
  • Growing onions.

    Growing onions from seed and sets.
  • Cabbage Root Fly

    A Tried and Tested Way to Prevent Attacks By Cabbage Root Fly.
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Carrots. Success at last.

After minimal success in previous years with growing carrots, I decided to go down the designated carrot bed to be covered from sowing to harvest with Environmental netting.

With the invaluable help of Reg Gledhill I constructed a new bed and filled it with equal parts of compost and sand, raking it well to a fine tilth.

Reg constructed a platform for the netting to ensure it covered the entire bed and we kept it in place with hooks attached to the sides of the raised bed.

I planted my first carrots, two rows of Early Nantes, in the last week of February, germination took place within a month. Yellowstone was my second crop planted on the 7th March, this proved to be an excellent carrot for both taste and yield and will be grown again this year but a little later because of the cold damp weather and late spring.

Rainbow and a carrot called Purple Haze were my next seeds sown a week later, lovely roasted whole or tossed in butter, giving excellent colour contrast to any dish, Yummy!

Sugar Snax and Chantonnary Red 2 followed two weeks later. Germination on all the crops was excellent and I thinned out the seedlings as they got bigger and had an excellent crop of both baby and mature good sized carrots throughout the season.

After clearing the early carrots (E/Nantes) I sowed a further two rows of the same and had carrots throughout the winter, lifting the last at the end of February this year

Throughout the year I kept the netting on the bed only lifting it to thin seedlings, weed and harvest my crops and have not had a single one lost to carrot fly or other pests. I would consider the new bed a resounding success.

Big thanks must go to Reg for his help advice and support and to other members of our little family of growers for their feedback too.       Fran Brain. Plot 9s.

Carrots. Success at last.

After minimal success in previous years with growing carrots, I decided to go down the designated carrot bed to be covered from sowing to harvest with Environmental netting.