In total we have about 30 fruit trees scattered around the allotments and the front and back garden. This video is about the handful of them that are growing in containers.
Containers constrain the roots of the trees and as a result restrict the growth of the tree, beyond what would be expected with the dwarfing root stock they are grafted onto.
I’m particularly fond of the cherries, because even though the trees are old and unhealthy we’ve loved being able to open the kitchen door and pick fresh cherries.
We don’t normally net all of our cherry trees, we rely on the local cats to deter the birds a little and we also pick the cherries a little early, when the are crisp and sweet, but not quite red enough to attract the birds attention.
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. Fairly mild, but very windy.
For more details on the databases that I use to manage my allotment, check out these two blog posts https://steves.seasidelife.com/category/airtable/
We have three allotments in my family, mine (Steve), my wife’s (Debbie) and my middle daughter’s (Jennie). We also have a small kitchen garden at home. They are all 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.
Jennie’s plot has been designed as a traditional allotment, but we put a lot of focus on minimising the work we do there. It’s basically a plant and forget it plot, full of garlic, leeks, onions, beetroot, brassicas, squash, beans and fruit trees. It’s heavily mulched to reduce weeds and to reduce the need water.
Debbie’s plot is mostly full of perennials, it’s an ornemental plot. Again 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:
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 14 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 both 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.