Thursday, 31 May 2012

Jed's Shed

Many of you will be aware that I have recently spent some time helping my MIL to re-establish herself in her own home after a spell in hospital. Unfortunately, although she is better in many respects she still needs a lot of help with mobility. She is very fortunate to have a real friend living next door, who assists her with lots of things, on a regular basis. This is Jed Higson, who describes himself as my (deceased) FIL's best mate. "We were like this.." he says, crossing his First and Index fingers in the traditional sign of closeness.

Jed is the best sort of neighbour you could possibly wish for, and even better (for me at least), he is an avid veg-gardener! Even while we were staying he came round bearing gifts of leeks and rhubarb. Jed and I (obviously) got talking about gardening and he offered to give me the guided tour of his allotment, and this of course was not the sort of thing I would ever refuse...

Jed and I evidently have some things in common when it comes to gardening  - for instance his preference for growing edible plants - but we also differ in some respects. Case in point: Jed's shed:

I think this is what you might call "boutique style" or "eclectic"! Certainly nothing like my bog-standard 6x4. Notice the rainwater collection arrangement on the front. Jed told me that once he found a couple of down-and-outs ensconced in his shed supping the stale beer he was saving for slug-traps.

Jed grows a wide variety of crops on his plot in the Allotments. Actually he has several small plots within the same Allotment area, so for me it was hard to identify exactly which was his bit, and which belonged to someone else. No doubt about these potatoes though:


Jed's gardening style is one of "Laissez faire". He doesn't rigorously remove all the weeds. He just takes out the biggest ones and lets the veg fend for itself. I was surprised though to find that Jed does not support his peas in any way; they are left to sprawl - which is in a sense more natural - but probably makes them more vulnerable to slug damage.


Shallots and onions

This is a general view of the corner of the Allotment area in which Jed has most of his ground.

See that brick wall in the background? It is the last remaining part of a recently-demolished factory. I commented to Jed that it must be a useful feature for providing shelter to the plots, but he was more concerned that the demise of the factory had brought an end to their previous water-collecting arrangements. Apparently all the water from the factory roof had been diverted in to a series of water-butts to provide a supply for the Allotments, but now that is no longer possible. Allotment people are normally pretty ingenious types, so I expect they will soon come up with some suitable replacement method!

The Great Wall

This well-organised coldframe and raised bed set-up belongs to one of Jed's plot neighbours. (You can see Jed's shed in the distance).

Just look at the depth of that raised bed! You ought to be able to grow some prize-winning parsnips in that.

Good use of recycled materials has always been a primary characteristic of Allotmenteers - as is well demonstrated in the next photo. (Nice scarecrow leaning on the fence too.)

At the time of our visit, Jed was busy trimming his Leek seedlings ready for planting out, "topping and tailing" them with a pair of scissors. [Why a procedure like this is good, I know not, but that's what leek-growers have done for ages, and it evidently works.] He was also proudly showing me the place where he is about to plant four Marrows. Not many people are particularly enthusiastic about the culinary advantages of the Marrow, but Jed is obviously knowledgeable here, since he was waxing lyrical about the virtues of stuffed Marrow.

On a rather less attractive note, it was a bit depressing to hear from Jed about the instances of vandalism and theft that the Allotmenteers have had to endure, but then this seems to be a very common problem, judging by what many fellow bloggers write. Nevertheless, we both agreed that veg-growing has to be one of the most rewarding (and healthy) pastimes you could hope to participate in.

Thanks for the tour, Jed. I hope the Marrows produce some whoppers.


  1. We should have allotments here. I don't know why we don't.

  2. What a wonderful shed! Great tour around this allotment too, always interesting to see different approaches... Glad that you found some r&r while away too, talking gardens.

  3. What a lovely blog Mark, Jeds shed is just like a guys on our site we call him `Shanty John` since his shed is held up on a wing and a prayer or more accurately propped up with old tree branches

  4. Jed sounds like my kind of guy - I like that his methods are laissez faire - but he seems to be doing alright even so.

  5. Must admit we never top and tail our leeks so I'm not sure why it makes a difference. On our site we are supposed to only erect commercially produced buildings so Jed would have to redesignate his shed as a work of modern art!

  6. Allotments are interesting...I am not sure I like the sound of the word, but I would like for people here to be able to garden in public places unused by other things. Maybe call it "garden gift plots" or something. And I guess beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder, as many find Jed's shed quite artsy. It seems he is able to harvest quite a lot of things there in has space. Are his peas setting on now?

  7. I love the British allotments; there's that "Dig for Victory" tradition in them that makes them so very different from the Danish version known as "garden colonies". In Britain it all began as a food source, whereas here in Denmark the focus has been as much on getting people out into the free air as on growing crops; this explains why the Danish colony gardens will almost invariably have a small house on them, perhaps even a lawn and definitely ornamental flower beds. And a terrace to have an al fresco lunch with friends and family.

    It's wonderful how history can be read in the different national garden styles. It emphasises how gardeners are never isolated, but always part of a continued history that stretches from the time we stopped being hunter-gatherers and took on the husbandry of plants and animals alike.

  8. Thanks for a great post Mark...Jeb sounds such a character. But of the very best and generous kind of course. A perfect neighbour in fact.
    Well except for that shed....I think it would drive me crazy if it was in my eyeline ;D
    I had to smile as I thought of your garden compared to about chalk and cheese, but then it's good to mix because there's always a tip or technique that you may not have heard about that will be worth trying.
    Enjoy your wonderful weekend :D

  9. Hi Mark, I think Jed's shed is really quite cute. I really enjoy seeing pictures of other people's gardens. You can always learn from it. I wish I had that much room for potatoes, as I really love them. As I always state, gardeners are the nicest people and clearly Jed exemplifies this :) Cheers, Jenni

  10. Great looking allotment and what a shed! I'm growing marrows too, they're great and much underated.

  11. I love looking around other people's gardens and allotments, there's always something which catches the eye. It's good that your mother in law has such a good neighbour, it will also settle your's and Jane's minds when you leave her that she has someone to rely on.

  12. Jed has some interesting techniques, I like his style.

  13. Many thanks for this Blog Mark, it is great to see Jed's Shed has made it into cyberspace and appreciated by so many! He certainly does have a syle of his own that can only be described as 'awesome'!


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