It’s that time of what has been an unusual year. Socially difficult but crop wise good. See our Christmas fare harvested this week. The potatoes are stored in the shed at home in a frost free environment. Hope you all are doing as well. It’s time to think and plan for the 2021 season.
The vaccines may be just round the corner and many of us are in the vulnerable age group. But whatever our age or health we must stay vigilant and follow all the social considerations until at least April when hopefully the population has been vaccinated and we are in a more normal way of life. I would like to say a big thank you to all for following all the Covid rules we’ve had to follow in 2020 and to continue until we have some control of the Virus.
We are currently experiencing a high level of demand for plots. Therefore, please bear with us at this unusual time. We are working through plot requests in order of receipt and will get back to you as soon as possible.
Saturday we were down on our plots and we have never seen so many on site for ages. Spring is suddenly showing signs, its sunny and dry in the day time and we want to get on.
However Coronavisus is lurking in background with all life restrictions. It may be a place of our respite and outside self-isolation. However I plead to all plot holders by all means talk to your neighbours as you are used to do but keep at least 2 metres apart.
At least we can keep our heads down and prepare our plots for vegetables that we will seriously need this year. So despite the world around us “Get digging and enjoy your allotment!”
Its Spring around the corner. However the ground is very wet and even the weeds are not showing, so it must be too cold to think sowing. Although if you have raised beds or can put a wide plank across your plot you could plant some onion sets. But a job you could be doing, is sort out your Compost Bins. Depending on what you use follow the following suggestions.
1) Black Dalek type, Look in the inspection hole at the bottom. If there is nice black compost. Then get ready to harvest. Lift off the bin and place close by. Put the top material that is not ready yet into the bin as a starter as it will have bugs and bacteria in it . Then use the black material either spread on your plot or left to one side to deal with later.
2) Pallet Bin type, check the compost and if it’s ready use, use it direct on your plots or easily available to when you are ready. If not just move it into the next empty bin. This will charge it up to face the coming warmer weather for harvesting in the autumn.
In the Autumn Compost Corner I mentioned Leaf Mould. If you have been collecting for a few years this material may be ready for using directly on you plot as Leaf Mould is very good for moisture retention through out the growing season. If you only started recently you could give a turn to give an assistance in the composting process.
Have a good composting year.
For more information on how to produce excellent quality compost visit our Compost Corner page.
Plot holders, come along and meet us and make some friends. On the last Sunday of each month 10-12am. Tea, coffee and cakes are provided. Everyone is welcome and we hope that every plot holder can at least devote 1 or 2 Sundays per year. It’s all about making our site something to be proud of and those that attend enjoy it.
Winter is now with us. This is an important time of the year for gardeners and their compost bins. Checking the state of the compost in containers. If it’s dark and well rotted it’s time to harvest it and lay it over cleared ground as a mulch. This has the advantage or suppressing weeds and adding humus to the soil. Next if it still needs more time, physically move it into another bins next door. This will give the heap the more oxygen and put into a better position for using in the spring.
This should give you more space for putting the waste material that comes off the plot that has been all the part of enjoying a good harvest. Remember most waste can go in but any stalks like sweet corn, Brussels etc using secateurs or suitable cutters. Reducing the stalks to no more than 10 cm and in some cases hit them with a hammer to flatten them which helps the rotting process.
Leaf mould is also a valuable mulching material and this is the time of the year to collect it. It can take 3 to 5 years to rot down , depending on the tree/leaf type. However its well worth the wait. Over the last few years I have shortened the time by putting the leaves into builders bag with holes punched in the bottom with a fork. It works because the outside does not dry out like in a wired area. You can find these bags discarded in many a skip.
That very precious commodity that we tend to take for granted. We just turn on a tap and it’s available. If we have no water meter we tend to not worry how much we use. However those with a meter know that the more we use the more we have to pay, Lansdowne Allotments are no exception and we will be billed by the water company for whatever we use.
This year we have had the longest dry spell since 1976. The last real rain 25ml we had was the 4th June and about 20 ml at the end of July but it has still left the ground very dry. One could say we could go another 40 years but weather conditions are never certain so we must plan for the worst scenario.
The committee is committed to having a tank or storage area at every tap on the sites. This way we just need to get our watering cans full by dipping into the tank.
For plot holders who are some distance from a tap we suggest saving rain water on your plot. This by guttering sheds or a water collecting devise to run the water into a barrel. We have guttered our shed and can run the rain water into a) a 800 litre tank and also into a 400 litre bath. This on normal years ( ha ha, not a drought year like this year) is enough for our usage.
Watering: There is watering and there is watering. If you use a hose pipe and spray over the ground or the crop, that is a waste and not good practise. a) you lose water through evaporation, especially on a sunny day. b) the water is not going directly to where the crop needs it ie the roots. c) too much watering the crop directs its roots near to the surface instead of down and is more susceptible to not coping with dry conditions.
The things that you can do to limit the watering you need to do, are when sowing seeds water the drill, sow and cover with soil. However a tip from our experience on the allotment we propagate eg carrots, beetroot, parsnips at home in the greenhouse or the kitchen window in 2” modules or 3” pots, sprinkle a few seeds on the top. When germinated with a good root structure plant out without splitting up and plant in a well watered hole. The use of compost especially on areas that have had some rain or water this acts as a mulch and helps retain the moisure.
Next time the plant can benefit from a drink is when like peas and beans are podding up nearer to harvesting. We look forward to tips and points of view regarding water catchment and water saving.
In essence we should take care how and when we water and do not take the supply for granted.
On Saturday the 23rd June was the 1st Social Event for the new Lansdowne Allotment Association, organised by Jenny and many willing helpers.
Held in one of our community orchards in the afternoon. It was a super attendance with about 50 plot holders, family & friends. They came laden with savoury dips and a wide range of delicious home made cakes and biscuits. With cups of tea provided by Pete.
It was a great opportunity to sit, eat and chat about all things allotment wise. It established that the new association is a community of like minded plot holders that enjoy growing and eating tasty vegetables.
Denham Allotments, in South Bucks, have recently had a break-in where a number of lawnmowers and cultivators were stolen. Please can all plot holders take sensible precautions when using equipment such as keeping valuable equipment hidden and locked away.
Ideally keep a log of these details so that they could be identified if they are stolen: