Plot Notes

A personal journal, open for the world to read, recording the progress of a novice allotmenteer on his allotment.

Weed it and reap.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Pumpkin Surprise!

A few months ago I made an early start in preparing a special bed for pumpkins. I dug a load of horse manure and home made compost into the bed and then I excavated a short trench down the centre of the bed which, over the course of a few weeks, I filled with kitchen waste from home. 

We keep a small plastic bucket with a screw-top lid in the kitchen into which we put various bio-degradable fruit & veg off-cuts, peelings, scrapings etc for composting. Each week I would tip the contents of the bucket into the trench and cover with a layer of soil until I was left with a nice mound of rich rotting waste covered in soil down the middle of the bed. Since then I have left the bed, undisturbed, to rot down whilst I have grown the pumpkin plants from seed in the greenhouse.

I had almost forgotten about the pumpkins until this weekend when I noticed them looking slightly pale and pot-bound fighting for light under a canopy of 5ft high tomato plants. Meanwhile the pumpkin bed had become a mass of weeds which were clearly thriving in the nutrient enriched soil.
A few weeks ago I had noticed that amongst the weeds there were two or three bushy growths which looked very much like potato plants. I assumed that there must have been some potato peelings in the kitchen waste from which potato plants had sprouted. I paid no attention to them; as far as I was concerned they were weeds. In April and May when I tenderly wrapped my first earlies and main crop potatoes in fleece I ignored these pumpkin plot invaders. In May and June when I have given an almost daily drenching of water to my official potato bed the pumpkin bed has been left parched. Any weeds which have dared to raise their heads above neat rows of potatoes in the regulation potato plot have been quickly yanked out and thrown onto the compost heap whereas the weeds in the pumpkin bed have just been left to get on with it.

This weekend I removed all the weeds from the pumpkin bed in readiness for planting out the pumpkins and was surprised to find that I have accidentally grown a lovely crop of new potatoes some of which were consumed with my Fathers' Day Sunday dinner today.
It does make me wonder if all the careful preparation of the main potato plot is really necessary. Why bother with the double digging, marking out, trench digging, spacing out, mounding up, wrapping in fleece, watering and weeding when you can get such delicious results by simply chucking a bucket full of kitchen slops into a hole.


  1. It seems it is always the way that things just grow when you least expect it and the stuff you spend all your time on seems to struggle! All part of the fun I guess

  2. Wherever You plant potatoes, they will always come back.You think you got them all out , and all it takes is one little bit. Best of luck Roxy