Neil Robertson is one of our lead allotment tester. By day – Farplants Marketing Manager, come the evening – a Grow Your Own aficionado. New veg or fruit varieties need to pass muster on Neil’s plot to make it into our catalogue.

Neil Robertson, Farplants allotment tester

Neil’s top tips from the Farplants Allotment:

Now that the night temperatures are finally on the up, we can finally get planting those veg plants in the ground. Fork over the soil, incorporating some compost and general fertiliser, such as Growmore or Blood Fish and Bonemeal. This will help maximise your yields. Then rake the ground to break up the lumps and level it.

Planting out

Veg pack - Lettuce Lollo Rosso
Lettuce – Lollo Rosso

Water the plants well so the plants’ rootball holds together. Then carefully remove each cell from the tray. Most varieties can be carefully split into individual plants but a few varieties like Onions, Beetroot, and Radishes can be planted as whole cells with 4-5 plants close together in a group.

Spacing

Planting out Beetroot Rainbow Mix
Beetroot – Rainbow Mix

Check the label for spacing distances and plant then with a trowel, firming them in gently. Water them in well. For earlier crops, or on cold, exposed sites, I would recommend covering newly planted veg with a cloche. This will give them a flying start and can be simply made from tantalised roof batten costing about £1 a metre and some outdoor grade polythene sheeting. The one in the picture is 8 years old and still going strong!! This can be removed after a couple of weeks or later if you want earlier crops.

Support for taller crops

Neil supporting taller crops

Those taller crops will need some support so they are easier to harvest. For Broad Beans, I insert stout canes every metre or so then run string down the row between each cane, tying as I go. For Peas, I prefer pea stick (hazel branches) that the plants grow up through. Pea netting can also be used but it is tricky to separate the old stems from the netting when the crop has finished.

I will be back every fortnight through the season with more seasonal allotment tips.