I’m continuing my celebration of National Allotment Week 2011 with a look at Garden Organic’s ‘model’ allotment at Ryton Gardens in Warwickshire. Pete and I visited on Tuesday, and there have been a lot of changes since my last visit.

Allotment

One of the key features of the Ryton allotment is an abundance of flowers, which are grown around the edges of the plot and around each separate bed, to attract beneficial insects and confuse the pests. It leads to a riot of colour. Perennial plants of all kinds (fruit, flowers, vegetables) are in permanent beds around the outside of the plot, and the central beds follow a crop rotation.

Protection

New compost bays were under construction when we arrived, and the brassicas were wrapped up safely against pests.

Two sisters

The sweetcorn was underplanted with squash. I didn’t see any signs of beans, so this is only two of the ‘Three Sisters’ (far easier to manage in our climate).

Support

The plot now has a new greenhouse, which sported a lovely homemade support up against the back window.

Pond

It also has a pond surrounded by flowers in a wildlife area…

Straw bales

…and a polytunnel that has been planted up in strawbales. Their aubergines were doing well in these conditions.

If you are in to Grow Your Own then the nice thing about Ryton is that almost everything there is either edible or useful (although there is also some lovely large-scale naturalistic planting) and you can pick up plenty of ideas and see both common and unusual edible plants. Pete and I also saw the new Exotic Garden, so I’ll put up some photos of that next week.



My latest book, The Allotment Pocket Bible is out now, with all the essential information you need to know about allotment gardening in a handy, easy-to-read and durable hardback.

Publisher: Crimson Publishing
ISBN-13: 9781907087219
ISBN-10: 1907087214
192 pages, Hardcover
RRP £9.99