1  What grows well for you, and what does not? Keep us all updated on the best varieties for our plots.
2  Weeds - guidance on Glyphosate herbicide.
3  Links to useful sites. Send me your suggestions.
4  How to add your tips - see right.

1  What grows well for you?  What did badly?

Let's share tips and make each year better!  Send your tips, details in R column.

Potatoes first early

 (2011) Ulster Sceptre, organic from Tuckers. Adequate, some slug damage, one or two plants got blackleg. Planted March 21, lifted June 21. Helen & Terry KH plot 1

Potatoes second early

 (2011) Charlotte did well both last year and this, though succumbed to blight of course. Some slug damage. Helen & Terry KH plot 1

Potatoes main crop

 (2010) Sarpa Mira, new-ish red skinned blight resistant variety. Grew prolifically and did resist blight, but tubers very badly damaged by slugs and some rot. Taste average.Helen & Terry KH plot 1

Potatoes planted onto cardboard and manure, 'earthed up' with straw - used to clear ground. Not the best potatoes, but a fair crop and the ground got cleared to boot! Simone Wilkie KH


  (2011) Tomatoes - succumbed to blight. Simone Wilkie KH (they almost always do – Helen)

Root veg

carrots copyright-free (2011) Carrots- interplanted with onions and leeks to disguise the smell from carrot fly and worked on them in the evening when the fly isn't supposed to be carrot fly! BUT I didn't get very many seeds to germinate or plants to thrive. Used organic Nantes from Tuckers. Bed had a steep slope, water ran downhill, the ones at the bottom were better.  Simone Wilkie KH


No, this rabbit is not on our allotment field! I just like the picture.


Onions garlic leeks

 (2011) Onion sets Red Baron: almost all went to seed. Helen & Terry KH plot 1



Peas and beans

 (2011) Cherokee beans thrived with little or no watering, work best using beans for drying - can anyone recommend another good bean which has been developed for the purpose of drying for storage?) Simone Wilkie KH

 (2011) Runner beans - can't fail with these! Simone Wilkie KH

Other veg

 (2011) Sweetcorn 'Swift' grown for 3 years now, on allotment and in garden: good. Start in modules at home.

First crop planted out May 17  good crop. Second crop a month later, only got a few cobs.

Seaweed from beach, rinsed and put on corn as a mulch, helped it grow really green and vigorous.

It's worth staking corn so it doesn't blow over. Helen & Terry KH plot 1

 (2011) Squash - Burgess Buttercup from 'Real Seed Calalogue' - big rambling plants, out of two I got just 5 squash. Gorgeous tasting, weigh about 3lb each, good keepers. Simone Wilkie KH

 (2011) Courgettes - not many, despite sun. Simone Wilkie KH

 (2011) Spinach and chard- did well everywhere! Simone Wilkie KH

Simone's amaranth 2011Simone's Amaranth






Amaranth- fascinating to watch develop into tall and beautiful plants with multi-hued seed heads. I have used the leaves cooked as I would spinach and juiced with apples- supposed to be a superfood? Now have the promise of seed to use as a grain, though I'm not counting on a large harvest (from 'Real Seed Calalogue'). Simone Wilkie KH

Simone's amaranth full grown 2011

Simone's Amaranth, full grown






















Flowers & Herbs

Simone's poppy 2011 (2011) My poppies that I just scattered seeds on empty beds have been AWESOME and filled my heart with joy, attracting bees galore! (there are also antirrhinum, lavender, borage and marigolds for them - I've just loved having bees around!) Simone Wilkie KH

Simone's poppy



2  Glyphosate guidance

Glyphosate herbicide is the active ingredient in brand names ‘Roundup’ and ‘Tumbleweed’. It is also available unbranded (cheaper).

Glyphosate can be invaluable if used carefully, eg. on neglected land. But there are 2 risks:

1  Careless use can damage neighbour’s crops more easily than you may think.

2  Glyphosate is far more toxic and persistent than the manufacturers have lead us to believe.

Always use other methods of weed control if you can

o   Manual weeding – pull or dig in wet weather, hoe in dry weather.

o   Cover the ground with plastic, weed membrane, card, paper, carpet, mulch.

o   Use green manures.

o   Try spraying with vinegar

o   Boiling water or a flame gun.

o   Water only the plants you want; dry soil surface discourages weeds.

o   In a hurry? Just cut the tops off.

Guidance for glyphosate

Some plants (roses, raspberries) and all seedlings are very sensitive: drift in amounts equal to 1/1000 of typical application rates will damage them. Damage may not be apparent till the following season.

Glyphosate formulations are toxic to fish, water creatures and amphibians.

o   Avoid spraying if there is ANY wind.

o   Remember spray drifts, even on calm days, and you can’t see it. Drift can travel 20-40 metres. If you must treat up to the border of a neighbour’s land, cover their soil first.

o   Use a watering can rather than a sprayer.

o   Only use when daytimes are warm, and no rain forecast.

o   Spot weeding with glyphosate is preferable to spraying.

- buy a ready made ‘stick’

- make a small mixture with wallpaper paste

- spray down a tube eg. toilet roll tube or cut-off bottle

How does glyphosate work? 

It doesn’t destroy plants directly. Instead it opens the door to disease-causing organisms in the soil, and at the same time wipes out plant defences against those diseases. The mechanisms are well-documented, but rarely cited.

1 Glyphosate chelates minerals, ie. binds them, depriving plants of minerals. It was originally patented for this property in 1964, and not as a weedkiller.

2 Glyphosate kills soil organisms; this weakens plants.

3 Glyphosate can interfere with photosynthesis

4 Glyphosate can reduce water efficiency

5 Glyphosate can shorten plant root systems

6  Glyphosate may promote insects, because they seek out sick plants.

Persists in soil, plant, animal and manure
Courts in the US and Europe found Monsanto guilty of false advertising. In fact, Monsanto’s own test data reveals that only 2% of glyphosate breaks down after 28 days. Its half-life may be up to 22 years.

It can be released from dying weeds.

Glyphosate can also accumulate for years inside repeat-sprayed perennials. It has been found to persist in foods, manure, and animal tissue.

Risks to humans

Anyone involved with regular spraying/commercial use should get guidance.

In most humans the main risk is from eating treated corn or soya. We have as yet little information about the long term effects of genetically engineered crops, which are designed for use with, and resistance to, glyphosate.

Evidence is increasing about the following risks of glyphosate:

Endocrine disruption/DNA damage/Developmental toxicity/Neurotoxicity/Reproductive toxicity/Cancer

Clearly the occasional use of glyphosate on our own plots is not as severe as the rocketing quantities used by US farmers. But this information is still important. It’s not on the packet, is it?

3  LINKS to useful growing sites

Kilner jars available from Tuckers, Ashburton, and Fermoys, Ipplepen.

Growers Organics  good quality organic plants in modules, I've grown loads of them. Available Totnes Friday market; Tuckers; Riverford; direct from nursery at Yealmpton. Helen S. KH plot 1

Real Seed Catalogue recommended by Simone Wilkie.

Like to add your tips?

Please send to:

Helen Swan



01803 840284

Include the variety and any relevant growing info. Please state which site your plot is on, or if the crop was in your garden. You can include your name if you wish. I reserve the right to edit if needed, and I may not be able to include every tip.

You can include pictures. Please make sure they are your own, definitely NOT copyright to anyone else, or taken from another website. Please resize before sending if you can: if you can't resize, I will do it. Best size for middle column, approx 4-500 pixels. Best size for side column, approx 250 pixels.

Like to change the layout of these pages?

All suggestions welcome, contact as above.

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