Welcome to Lesley Upton’s allotment blog, where she will look at life on her Berkshire allotment, from the veg she is growing to how people are living with the threat of coronavirus. Here she looks at sweetcorn, peas, broad beans and pumpkins.


The sweetcorn went in on Sunday because the plants were getting too big for their pots. This year I’m growing ‘Swift’ on the allotment, and I planted it in three rows of three, nine plants in all.

'Swift' sweetcorn planted out with a squash plant on the right.

‘Swift’ sweetcorn planted out with a squash plant on the right.

As sweetcorn is wind pollinated, planting in blocks rather than rows is better for pollination. I planted a butternut squash at the end of the row and will train it to grow between the sweetcorn plants. I have also placed a stick near the squash so I know where to water once it starts trailing over the ground.



'Meteor' peas starting to flower.

‘Meteor’ peas starting to flower.

My ‘Meteor’ peas are growing well and some are even in flower. I had covered them with fleece to protect them from pigeons and any frosts, but now they’re flowering I’ll have to leave them uncovered so they can be pollinated.


Broad beans

'Aquadulce Claudia' broad beans.

‘Aquadulce Claudia’ broad beans.

The ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ broad beans I planted out on the allotment last year have lots of flowers and the bees are visiting them. I hope to have some beans ready to pick in a few weeks’ time.



Pumpkin in a grow bag on top of a compost heap.

The pumpkin in the grow bag on top of the compost heap.

I like to grow a lot of courgettes, squashes and pumpkins, but they take up a lot of space. So, when I found a growbag that I hadn’t used from last year, I thought I’d try to make use of it. I put the growbag on top of my well-established compost heap, cut a big hole in the bottom, cut another hole in the top and placed the pumpkin inside.

The idea is that the pumpkin will use the nutrients in the growbag (assuming there are some as it’s last year’s bag) and then grow into the compost heap to find more nutrients. I’ll water it regularly and see what happens.


Watch the weather
I have planted out sweet peas, squashes, courgettes and a pumpkin, and my potatoes are starting to poke through the top of the soil on the allotment. And now the weather forecasters are predicting a very cold spell next week!

I’m going to have to cover as many plants as I can to protect them. I knew I was taking a risk, planting out early, so it’s my own fault! I’m also hoping the peas will survive…


We are here for you

Although many people are coping well with self-isolation, others are really struggling and feeling completely forgotten and alone.

Here at AG we are doing our best to keep connected to our readers though the magazine, this website and also through social media.

John Negus, questions, answers

AG’s agony uncle John Negus is still answering your questions and solving your problms

Our gardening ‘agony uncle’ John Negus is also still working hard. Send him your problems and questions, with pictures if you can, and he will get back to you with an answer withing 24 hours, as he has been doing for decades. Contact him using the AG email address at: amateurgardening@ti-media.com


We already have thriving Facebook page but are also on Twitter and Instagram. These sites are a brilliant way of chatting to people, sharing news, information, pictures and just saying hello – we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Best of all, as gardeners are generally lovely folk, more interested in plants, hedgehogs, tea and cake than political shenanigans and point-scoring, so the chat is friendly and welcoming.


So please drop by, follow us, ‘like’ our posts and say hello – the Instagram feed is in it’s really early days so the quicker we can get that going with your help and support, the better!

You can find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/AmateurGardeningMagazine

Twitter: Twitter.com/TheAGTeam