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Need some motivation please!!!

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rosie383
rosie383 Posts: 4,981 Forumite
We are in the very lucky position of having a smallish garden with a few small veg plots and also an allotment. I have had no 'get up and go' to get going this year!!
I am put off doing much in the garden as the allotment seems to be hanging over my head as a big project without much reward apart from nettle stings and eaten plants.
We had the plot last year, and realised that once the trees along the bottom are in full leaf, our plot is the darkest in the place. It is also the furthest away from the water tap, car parking space etc.
It is closest to the fence and the wood from whence the deer come and eat anything remotely edible. DH won't spend money on it and I don't know what to do. The other plots near us have put up that orange plastic fencing to protect theirs, which makes our unprotected plot all the more enticing. The cheapest we can find the fencing for is about 25 pounds which I can't pay for.
The only thing they didn't eat last year were the spuds and the tomatoes. The potatoes did OK, but took many, many hours of very hard work and I got about the same return for my money as if I had just gone and bought the potatoes.
There were plenty of tomatoes, but very limited sun meant I was making lots of green tomato chutney instead of enjoying nice ripe tomatoes.
Any suggestions welcome as to how to fence off the place, what veg to grow without much sun. Anything else that would help.
I have asked before on freecycle for things for the lottie, but apart from a few flag stones still embedded in someone's garden, I haven't had any success.
Father Ted: Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These
(he points to some plastic cows on the table) are very small; those (pointing at some cows out of the window) are far away...
:D:D:D
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  • annie123
    annie123 Posts: 4,256 Forumite
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    Have you considered Bamboo stakes with pea netting across the bit that the deer lean over and eat maybe? both available from 99p store or poundland.

    Redcurrents, raspberries, gooseberries, rhubharb would all be fine in shade/semi shade and less watering once established.

    I'm sure lottie holders will be along soon to give you some good advice.
  • splodger_seedswapper
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    i sympathise with your downhearted feelings - i have a plot that was being got at by the deer - and it is so frustrating

    so last year i put up a simple barrier along the side where the deer used to access most often - and i planted a few cultivated blackberries along the edge to make use of the space - it has definitely worked on my plot

    here is a pic of the fenced area (in the background) - it is only a basic barrier - and not a great pic - but trust me - it has stopped the deer ;)
    909b.jpg

    i don't have any spare cash - so all of the stuff i use / make on the allotment has to be free to me - i am fortunate enough to be able to get chestnut stakes for free, everything else has come from freecycle, skip diving and most of all - from asking people (mostly tradesmen working on a site) if i could have any offcuts, left overs etc once their job has finished. it really is amazing what you can get for nothing - just by asking nicely ;)

    i also share another plot that is very shady and dry - so i have planted fruit on this plot - as they will do better than veg in shady areas

    try not to get too downhearted about the allotment - it is supposed to be a hobby and pleasurable past time - try to enjoy the experience ;) and instead of feeling frustrated - especially with the deer - make it your mission to beat them - and try to enjoy the challenge
    saving money by growing my own - much of which gets drunk
    made loads last year :beer:
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,764 Forumite
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    Find out where that netting comes from? We have several contractors as pot holders and they can oten source the orange netting you refer to or the taller green nettig that is used round scaffolded building, for free, at the end of a job.

    You may have to mend a few holes but it would work.

    With respect ot the trees, I know what you mean, because my first plot on the current site was like this.

    Do have a go at the committee/council employee responsible for the site; they may eventually cut them back a bit.

    Unless you are very unlucky, there will be sun at the beginning and end of the day in the summer, so you can grow things that manage in semi shade.

    And if you appear to be making a go of it, then it is time to start negoitiating for a better plot come the autumn.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • rosie383
    rosie383 Posts: 4,981 Forumite
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    Thank you for the encouragement. The thing is, we may move this year, or early next year, that is why I don't want to invest too much if I have to go away and leave it. I like the idea of just using sticks and maybe some wire if I can find some to make a sort of fence. I did try using bamboo canes and pea netting last year and it sort of did protect a wee bit, but I didn't know how to get it standing up nicely and firmly where I needed it. It just ended up as more of a floppy thing that the weeds and beans very happily got entangled in. Maybe if I can figure out how to do it very firmly it might help.
    My neighbour told me that there is some wild rhubarb growing on the lottie on the bank beside my plot. I will try to lift some to put on my plot as I love rhubarb. I did notice lots growing at the edges of plots last year and they just went to seed. I didn't know if I could just take a bit. Will ask the site manager if I can.
    Father Ted: Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These
    (he points to some plastic cows on the table) are very small; those (pointing at some cows out of the window) are far away...
    :D:D:D
  • splodger_seedswapper
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    if you just need some robust sticks / posts for a short time (like this season) why not ask a tree surgeon - if you see one working in you area - they usually have to spend hours chipping all the brash that comes with taking down trees - and they might just be willing to let you take a few bundles away (asking costs nothing and the worst thing to happen is they say no ;)) anything twiggy will do - especially ash, hornbeam, sweet chestnut, hazel even birch - avoid conifers and avoid fresh cut willow (unless you want willow all over your plot ;))

    to get things into the ground a bit deeper - you need what i call " a hole pole" this is basically a heavy iron bar that you can ram into the ground - to make a deep hole - you could use canes as a barrier - if using a hole pole - but as canes are skinny - they will be loose fitting in the hole that you make - instead of trying to backfill the hole - by hand - just use the metal bar (hole pole) to make another hole next to the one with the cane in it - then use the pole to press the soil from one hole to the other - to fill in the gaps and make the cane more secure

    i hope that makes sense :D
    saving money by growing my own - much of which gets drunk
    made loads last year :beer:
  • Sambucus_Nigra
    Sambucus_Nigra Posts: 8,669 Forumite
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    I love my lottie; but Rosie - is it not worth you actually just growing at home and giving up that plot - if your heart isn't in it then it will just be a burden on your growing year. Grow a small amount of quality veg at home, and put your name down for a lottie if you move.

    However, if you do stay on the lottie:

    For a cheap fence; you can just use chicken wire and canes; with a few pallets as compost bins at various places to keep the fence up...and you can cover the plot with cardboard, weight down with soil or bricks/stones and plant potatoes, squashes, brassicas, tomatoes; pretty much everything except carrots and onions, through the cardboard with a bulb planter. Then, pop netting over it kept up with canes with cane toppers on [wilko do these].

    And ask the site manager about the trees - if you never ask you will never get....
    If you haven't got it - please don't flaunt it. TIA.
  • rosie383
    rosie383 Posts: 4,981 Forumite
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    That again is very helpful advice. I will have a nosy and see how much chicken wire costs and try the cardboard idea. I bought a bulb planter at the car boot for 10p!! So at last I could have a use for it.
    I would love to just concentrate on my garden instead, but as we already paid the rent on the plot for this year, my dh is determined to keep it. He is right, I suppose, if we put in the effort, we can use the space to grow our food and save money for a long term goal we have.

    I have always been reluctant to go up to a tree surgeon and ask for anything, but I suppose they have to pay for disposal, so they may be happy to donate some.
    I will go on freecycle today and ask if anyone has any spare chicken wire around. I suppose that is the sort of thing that people do have odd bits of.
    Father Ted: Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These
    (he points to some plastic cows on the table) are very small; those (pointing at some cows out of the window) are far away...
    :D:D:D
  • valk_scot
    valk_scot Posts: 5,290 Forumite
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    You can use pallets for fencing. Damaged ones are usually free for the taking if you've got a supplier near you. Either break them up and use as uprights, with wire or rope for crossbars, or bang a few pieces into the ground and slot the pallets onto them. This last is how I make my compost bins, wiring the corners together. You could build compost bins along the fence line to add stability.

    Or start searching in skips? Nearly all my wood and hardware on the allotment has come out of skips. And I found an old water tank which, with a bit of ingenuity, collects rainwater from the half lids that cover the compost bins too. Sometimes I borrow a few hoses to connect together and fill it up from the distant tap in summer.

    As to the actual begs it's often useful to insert canes at intervals round the edge of the beds or plot areas then add string between them at knee level and tie on strips of plastic bags etc. It doesn't so much protect the beds as act as a deterrent, but every little helps.

    TBH though I don't think your heart is in it and if so plus you're going to move anyway, why bother? None of your problems are insurmountable and lack of budget just means you have to turn into a lateral thinking opportunist-scrounger (like me) but if you've gone off the boil on it, you'll just end up thinking of it as a chore rather than a challenge. It took me four years of fairly hard work and scavanging to get my plot up to reasonable productivity and if I hadn't been really keen I'd probably have packed it in tbh. Also, I didn't have a garden of my own to worry about or to take up my interest in gardening.
    Val.
  • rosie383
    rosie383 Posts: 4,981 Forumite
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    I think you have hit the nail on the head Val. My heart isn't in it. I don't want to be seen as lazy either by my dh or my neighbours, who are also my lottie neighbours! I remember the site manager when we took the plot on last year, saying about young couples taking a plot for a year and finding it's too much hard work.
    I am going to have to keep it now and do the work. I have the seeds potatoes bought and chitting. I think I have looked at it as a massive project that was very difficult last year.
    I am going to go tomorrow ( I literally have not got time today) and start to weed an area ready for my spuds.
    Then I can clear maybe a smaller area to fence off and use for courgettes and peas, beans etc.
    Father Ted: Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These
    (he points to some plastic cows on the table) are very small; those (pointing at some cows out of the window) are far away...
    :D:D:D
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,909 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    edited 20 April 2011 at 12:07PM
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    I found this which may help with your shade problem once the deer etc are sorted out.
    http://organicgardening.about.com/od/vegetablesherbs/a/shadeveggies.htm

    The other advantage with quicker growing crops is that you can grow in succession throughout the season so if one lot goes pear-shaped, the next is already on the way.

    Edit -if the full plot is a bit much at the moment, could you get some carpet off freecycle to cover parts of it over? That way you're suppressing the weeds and it looks to the neighbours as if you're doing something constructive as opposed to letting it run wild. Then if you find you're coping and want to take a bit more on you can expand a bit more - better than planting the lot then getting discouraged if you don't have the time or inclination keep it all under control.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
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