For more information on self-sufficiency take a look at my eBook
After much debate, I’ve finally decided to offer users of my gardening apps, eBook, web site, diary and my youtubers the opportunity to support me via the site Buy Me a Coffee. Thanks so much for all of your support!
If you have questions, we have a FAQ document and video, which you can find here: https://steves.seasidelife.com/2020/01/20/allotmentfaq/
If you are new to my allotment videos you might find a bit of context useful. We live in the north west of England, in Lytham St Annes, which I believe is the equivalent of USA Zone 8. The garden is about ½ a mile from the sea, the allotment about a mile, it’s fairly mild, but very windy.
A lot of people ask about the databases and apps that I mention in the videos, I make these are freely available, for more check out these blog posts https://steves.seasidelife.com/category/airtable/
We used to have three allotments in my family, mine (Steve), my wife’s (Debbie) and my middle daughter’s (Jennie) and you will see these featured in many videos. We’ve recently handed Jennie’s back to the council as over the years we now grow more on the other two plots than we did on all three a few years ago. We also have a small kitchen garden at home.
All of the plots are managed in an integrated fashion, so don’t expect to see the usual mix of veg on each plot. I do most of the planning and seed starting. We each have our own plots, but we all help each other out.
Debbie’s plot is mostly full of perennials, it’s an ornamental plot. We did a lot of work to keep the weeds down and Debbie’s approach is inspired by the TV programme The Ornamental Kitchen garden.
My plot is all about experimental growing, maximum productivity and year round abundance. As with all of the other plots I did a lot of work to control the weeds, but it’s a high maintenance plot. I’m always planting, harvesting, experimenting and generally having a great time.
Collectively the plots deliver an amazing abundance of fruit and veg all year round. Debbie, Jennie, Jon and I are effectively self sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit for much of the year. During winter we sometimes have enough surplus to feed our local family. During the rest of the year when the surplus from our house garden comes on stream we have surpluses in some crops for quite a few friends as well.
This video provides an overview: https://youtu.be/q1k-2vIoSQ8
I do an update of the allotments, roughly twice a month, you can find the tours here:
Our approach to allotment life is to: grow as much as we possibly can, to be self-sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit in season, to give away our surplus to friends and family, and to have as much fun as possible. For more on self sufficiency check out these videos:
We are not slaves to gardening though, I spend about 12 hours a week on the plots (on average) Debbie and Jennie a lot less. We keep nudging that down as we eliminate non-productive work: like grass cutting, weeding and watering as much as practical. We are newbie gardeners, only starting the allotments in 2016.
I’m a bit obsessive about the nutrient density of the veg that we grow and making the plots easy to work because it’s through this allotment lifestyle and food that I’ve overcome a debilitating auto-immune disease.
I’m always aware though that it might not last so I make sure that I don’t work too hard, eat as much organic fruit and veg I can and design the plots so that I can still work them when I flare up.
Steve’s Seaside Kitchen Garden & Allotment