Wednesday, 2 January 2013

History and about Bebington Road Allotments.

Dear Diary.

Bebington Road allotments are in Rock Ferry, Wirral (CH42 4QE). 
The site has 260 potential plots it's the largest site in North West, England. The site is surrounded by the houses on Bebington Road, Alexandra Drive, Princes Boulevard, Cavendish Drive and a little bit of Borough Road.

The main access is hidden between 184 and 186 Bebington Road, (this is the entrance that I take) a second is equally well hidden between 65 and 67 Alexandra Drive and a third on Borough Road between 847 Borough Road and 1 Kings Way, less hidden but used only for pedestrian access.

The site has a heavy soil; on virgin plots it's 25 cm of claggy fertile soil over brick making quality clay, on worked plots it varies, with the best being excellent.

The Council purchased the site in 1929, so some plots could have had over 80 years of more or less continuous cultivation, others have laid dormant for many many years! Some still do, but for someone up for a challenge they're available. The site has an Allotment Society with an active, if somewhat introspective, committee whose activities include, amongst others: organising social events, tool hire and running the shop.

The plan above shows a total of 260 available plots, with a further 11 plots worth of community space. The plan is slightly out of date but is 99% accurate. I have highlighted my plot, number 342.

Of the 260 plots 20 or so are in such a bad state that no one has taken them up in recent times, though occasionally some pioneer plot holder will take on one of these plots and bring them back into the mainstream.


The Bebington Road Allotment site was acquired by the Council on 24 July 1929 from R. G. Orred , deed reference O.5.17. That land included not only the allotments but also the land where houses are now built on Bebington Road and Alexandra Drive.

Prior to 1929 the site was farmland, possibly a farm specialising in pig breading. Prior to 1929 the site was farmland, possibly a farm specialising in pig breading. The map below shows how the area looked in 1889, with the allotment site comprising fields 74, 76 and 77.

There are stories about the site being owned by a railway company for its workforce back in 1907/08, but there is no known documentary evidence for this; perhaps the company rented land from the farm. There are also stories that railway carriages were used on site during the 2nd World War.

More detailed information can be found on

Quite an interesting read! It makes me really proud to be apart of the allotments and to be part of the history in years to come.

I hope you enjoyed reading and maybe learned something new.

My next post, Excited about seeds.


Preparation for the new season.

Dear Diary.

Welcome 2013! A brand new start. Lots of preparation to be getting on with. In a way, I feel somewhat behind already. I suppose when the new season begins, the list of jobs is greater and time is precious. Ok, here is what I have been upto so far.

Forcing Rhubarb.

I noticed that my rhubarb had started to make an appearance after being dormant for several weeks. I was pleased that something was starting to show on the plot. I cleared round the base of the crowns, taking away any little weeds. Using a bin, I placed it over the rhubarb to exclude the light. Hopefully they will be ready to harvest in about eight weeks.

Just a quick peek at the shoots that have been forced for about a week now.

Planting Garlic.

A few weeks back, I planted my garlic cloves. I have noticed that a few have come through and the rest have yet to join in. I hope to get some good bulbs from this years crop. I tried to grow them last winter and had no success, sadly.

Planting Onions.

About the same time as I planted my garlic, I also planted my onion sets. Slowly but surely they are rising. Ready to harvest by the summer. Japanese onion sets usually provide a harvestable crop in June, a month or two earlier than spring planted sets.

Not the best picture, a bit blurry but you can see a section of my onion sets.

Starting leeks off.

I have been saving the cardboard insides from toilet rolls (something my missus, Hayley has been shouting at me for... leaving them around the house!). Eventually, I took them to the allotment so I could use them to plant my leeks, giving them a head start. The idea of using the cardboard insides is so I can pick them up as they are and plant them straight into the ground without disturbing the roots. The cardboard will soon rot away. Iv'e never done this before, so it's a little experiment...

They are currently in my friends greenhouse. After several weeks, if they have taken off, I Should be able to transplant them safely into one of my beds.
I bought Hayley a pair of wellies and she is made up. We can head down to the allotments together, it will be good to get her involved and she will learn more about how vegetables are grown. Think she will be shocked that they don't come already wrapped like in the supermarkets!
My next post, History and about Bebington Road Allotments.
A bit of bed time reading!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Coffee beside the log burner at the allotment.

Dear Diary.

During the winter season of 2012, most of my time was spent in the shed with my good mate Carl. After the jobs were complete, we put the kettle on and lit the log burner. It has truly turned into an allotment tradition!

The trouble is, once you are settled in your chair with a hot drink and the warmth from the fire going, It's hard to want to do anything else! Carl made the log burner himself, by using recycled materials. He is a very talented man.

The materials used, as you can see in the picture are: an old gas bottle, a steel pole and chopped up logs to make the fire. It doesn't half give off some heat!

The kitchen area in the shed. Nothing beats a nice hot cuppa!

Carl has been kind enough to make me my own log burner for when I manage to get a new shed, hopefully this year. Check out the masterpiece below...

A friendly warning to anybody who is thinking about making their own log burner using these materials. Be careful, without good knowledge and the correct equipment, it could be dangerous. Please message me or leave a comment if you have any questions.

My next post, Preparation for the new season. Lets get started!


Sunday, 30 December 2012

Frosty allotment in December.

Dear Diary.

I didnt expect the allotment to look like this when I pulled up to my plot! It had been cold for a few days and the grounds were frosty. I hadn't gone to do any work, only to feed the chickens and let them run around the plot.

It was beautiful. Peace and quiet, just the sound of birds and the crunch beneath my feet. A blanket of white dust. It was one of those mild days, not too cold. It made me happy, a new season was shortly about to come. All of this would soon be just another allotment memory.  

My chickens didn't seem to be bothered by the frosty ground, infact they were curious to explore!

I have enjoyed my first year at the allotment, turning ideas into actions.
I feel like my plot is telling a story, each chapter gets better and I can't wait to turn the page. To all my readers, have a wonderful New Year and all the best.

Keep reading for more adventures down at the allotment!

My next post, Coffee beside the log burner at the allotment.


D.I.Y runner bean frame.

Dear Diary.

This was a quick and easy little project. The runner bean frame. Probably took me a day to build. I was going to go with the normal kind of frame, made with canes and string but I came across some cable wire dumped in a skip. This gave me an idea, I guess nobody wanted it so finders keepers, I took it home.

The other materials I used were from the freecycle website that I picked up, not intent for the frame at the time. I just pick stuff up that may come in handy!

I buried two long wooden posts into one of my beds and strengthened each side with skinny sticks of metal for support. I cut out notches in the top of both posts for the scaffolding bar to sit on. With sharp scissors, I then cut long pieces of the cable wire and made sure they were near enough all the same length.

I wrapped the cable wire round the pole and secured it with a knot at the bottom onto bent pieces of metal and placed them firmly into the ground. This is probably a good idea, considering how windy it gets. More sturdy than using string!

And thats how easy it was! Originally, I built this on the right side of my plot (above picture) but moved it to the left in October to be closer to the greenhouse (which is an ongoing project).

As you can see, my plot is coming on nicely. It's taking shape now. All in preparation for the new season 2013. A big difference if you go back to my first blog of when the allotment was a mess. Can you spot my my mate Carl?

Only a few more tasks to do now, finish the ongoing greenhouse project, which you can see behind the runner bean frame. That should be finished next year. I need to plan what is going where regarding the location of crops and what seeds I need to put in the ground straight away.

Its nearly New Year. Hopefully we will get some good weather!

My next post, Frosty allotment in December.


Meet my allotment buddy, Carl.

Dear Diary.

When I first got my plot at Bebington Road Allotments, it never occurred to me that I would meet or become friends with anybody. I thought it would be smile and nod, the odd hello there. Maybe because it was me, thinking I was only 23 and too young to hang out with the grandads. (No offence, I love the old - they know their stuff!)

But actually, I quickly realised that the community was full of all ages, ladies and gents too. I made myself familiar with the allotment grounds and which route to take to get to my plot. I think there must be over 260 plots at Bebington road site.

At the allotment is where i met my buddy Carl. He had not long joined the allotment himself. I think it was October 2011 when he got his plot. He's alot like me, so of course he got stuck into it. His plot is looking pretty fantastic and is ready for the new season of 2013.  Here is a picture earlier on this year... Carl's Plot.

Since getting to know Carl and his lovely family, I consider him to be a great mate of mine. My missus Hayley gets on really well with Carl's other half Julie. They also have two daughters, Lauren (who is our little helper down at the allotment) and Katie, the cutest little girl. She calls me Rob the chicken man! We often get together at Carl's house in the evening to have a few beers and talk business! The women chit chat over a glass of wine or two, three.  

We basically talk to each other everyday, either in person, on the mobile, on facebook and recently on our Blogs - he felt left out and made a blog not long after I did! All part of the allotment fun, eh mate! Check him out, here is the link to his blog site.

This is Carl! He got himself in a sticky situation here! At my plot, helping me out with planting some fruit bushes. We both can't wait for the New Year, looking forward to the journey ahead, sharing our handy tips and tricks, playing the Chuckle Brothers - 'to me, to you'! Just a quick shout mate to say thanks for all the help this year.

My next post, the D.I.Y runner bean frame.


The ever-growing compost heap.

Dear Diary.

I knew I wanted to have good soil for 2013, so in the beginning of January 2012, I started to save my kitchen scraps and take them down to the allotment.
I threw all sorts onto the heap... potato peelings, vegetables, egg shells  e.t.c

To make the compost heap, I found some old pieces of corrugated metal sheets lying around the allotments. I thought this would be great to use as it wouldn't rot away like wood. To start the heap off, I managed to get hold of some horse manure from a friend.
It soon started to pile high. My grandad keeps pigeons and he asked me if I wanted the pigeon poop for the heap. It's a natural compost breakdown accelerator and supposed to be twice as potent as chickens. So it all got thrown in!
I collected grass cuttings from my local bowling green, they were happy to give it to me for nothing. So for about 10 months, the heap has been breaking down into lovely rich compost. A task for December was to spread it out onto the beds for 2013. I was surprised how much compost it made. I even gave some to my allotment buddy, Carl. He said it was good stuff!
I can't wait for the new season to begin. I hope the compost does me proud!
Just need to start over and pile that heap high for 2014!
My next post, Meet my allotment buddy, Carl.