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am pleased to be back for another year and hope you will join me down
on the plot for another challenging year.
2017 has started very cold
and foggy; the plot is not the place to be for now but as soon as the weather
improves I shall carry out the last of the winter pruning to the fruit trees
and check the grease bands are free from any debri. I
have arranged to have my fig tree professionally pruned towards the end of the
month; it has got too large and out of hand for me to deal with. Any winter
digging if conditions allow should be finished this month and spent crops
consigned to the compost heap. Continue to check over regularly any fruit and
vegetables in store.
28th and little
has been done on the plot; the very gold frosty weather has continued only
beginning to warm up at little now. Because of the frozen ground I have started
off my shallots in the greenhouse in small 3” pots. Onion sets can be started
in the same way in cell trays. I am continuing to harvest parsnips which have
been some of the best I have grown.
The month has started mild but very wet it is still impossible to get on
the plot but signs of spring are beginning show with the daffs poking through
now. It is still far too early to be sowing any seeds even in the greenhouse,
the light levels are very low and anything that germinates will only become
leggy; wait till the beginning of March.
20th and it is amazingly warm for the time of year; I have
been able to get all my grow frames, runner bean frame etc. erected in good
time so they are ready and waiting for use later on.
This is the month to finish any pruning to apples and pears while they
are still dormant and check all soft fruit is tied in against strong winds.
Give the strawberry bed a good tidy up now by clearing away dead and dying
leaves and weeds.
In the greenhouse I have laid out the seed potatoes to chit. This can be
done in egg boxes or cell trays. If there is a threat of frost cover with
fleece or newspaper. Prepare pots and
trays ready for the first sowings in March.
The plot is beginning to come alive again with all the spring bulbs
giving some welcome colour to brighten the dull days.
March has blown in like a lion and is very cold so don’t be in a hurry
to start sowing or planting outside yet. Frosts are forecast so keep the fleece
or newspaper handy ready to cover potatoes or anything tender in the
greenhouse, I am making a start in the greenhouse with the first seeds, sowing
broad beans Robin Hood, 1 seed to a 3” pot,
peas Hurst Greenshaft 5 seeds to a 3” pot,
beetroot sowing several seeds in a 24 cell tray, leeks, cabbage,sprouts,
lettuce and celeriac in a small seed trays; covered with a fine layer of
compost all covered with a propagator lid till they germinate. Tomatoes,
Fandango, Mountain Magic, Cherrola and baby plum Santonio I have sown but keeping them indoors till they
germinate as my cold greenhouse is not warm enough.
Annual flowers can the sown this month continuing through to April; I am
starting off with French Marigold and Statice.
16th I have been let down by the tree specialist who was
coming to prune my over grown fig tree; I decided to tackle it myself and
although it did take several days I am quite pleased with the result. Hopefully
it will now be easier to maintain.
We have had some very warm days and spring has finally arrived to the
Taking advantage of a very warm
day I have planted out the shallots which I had started off in pots and sown a
double row of parsnip tapes under a tunnel of enviromesh
to protect them from a very active fox. First of the second early potatoes
‘Foremost’ have been planted now and I shall continue with main crop.
The last week in March we had unusually high temperatures for the time
of year and now the beginning April is continuing the same.
Sowings made in the greenhouse last month have come on in leaps and
bounds; I am planting out peas, broad beans and beetroot. Some of the early
potatoes planted last month are already showing their first shoots and will
need earthing up.
Daffodils are starting to go over and will need dead heading regularly,
remove the whole stem and leave the greenery to die down naturally; this will
feed the bulbs for next year.
April is a busy month in the greenhouse, seedlings will need pricking
out and those already pricked out potted on into 3” pots. This month all the
vegetable and annual flower seeds can be sown now. I am sowing Courgettes,
Butternut Squash, beetroot, lettuce, and French beans and Peppers; Runner Beans I
leave till May when I will sow direct into the ground.
Spray Chrysanths that have been over wintered
in the greenhouse will be making good growth now; cuttings will root quickly;
take a 3” new shoot, removing the lower leaves and inserting about 5 or 6 round
the edge of a small pot. Place in a cool part of the greenhouse till rooted
then pot up.
Weeds are also growing well so keep the hoe going even on vacant ground,
this will chomp off any emerging before they get a chance to take hold.
Easter week-end and with virtually no rain this month the ground is now
getting very dry; however the nights are chilly and unless you can cover plants
there is still as risk of frost. I have planted out Onion sets Rumba and Fen
Globe which I first raised in cell trays, also Broad Beans.
There is still plenty to do in the greenhouse, potting on tomatoes,
celeriac, leeks, cabbage and sprouts. My butternut squash has failed to
germinate so I have made a further sowing. Although I am still harvesting
Purple Sprouting I have sown a few seeds for next year.
Asparagus is starting to crop now and needs to be cut regularly.
Strawberries are in flower and if you have not already done so, tidy up
the plants and remove any weeds.
28th Bank Holiday week-end; with the recent frosty nights the
potatoes have had their foliage clipped but they should soon recover.
I have planted out the sprouts ‘Montgomery’ but because of the lack of
rain and the ground is so dry, I dug a deep hole first for each plant and
filled with 2 watering cans of water, allowed to drain before setting the
plants deeply up to their seed leaves, watering again very well, firming in
with the heel of my boot and mulching; finally covering with netting to deter
Bank holiday week-end and at last we have had some very welcome rain but
nowhere near enough. This is the month when most of the major planting takes
place so it will be a busy time. With the threat of any frost now gone I shall
be setting out tomatoes, courgettes and beetroot, sowing runner and French
beans and my second sowing of carrots and lettuce,
Now is time to hang up the
Pheromone Traps in apple and plum trees to prevent the codling moth and ensure
grease bands that have been applied are free from any debri.
The blossom has been wonderful this spring so we are hopeful of a good fruit
harvest this year.
foliage on the early spring bulbs and wall flowers are starting to go over now,
leave the bulb foliage to completely die back before removing but the
wallflowers can be cut back or removed to the compost bin; all the time the
bees are enjoying them I shall leave for a bit longer. The ground can then be
forked over ready for further planting.
of the month and after a prolonged dry spell we have had some much needed rain.
Everything including the weeds are now growing well.
While the soil is now nice and moist I have mulched the onions and as much
ground as I can. This will also help to keep the weeds down and the moisture
in. Potatoes are ready to be earthed up, peas are in flower, tomatoes are ready
to be tied in as they grow now and the side shoots removed. I have made a
further sowing of carrots, lettuce, beetroot; sown runner beans 2 beans to each
cane. Planted out celeriac and now gradually planting out bedding plants. French Marigolds, Impatiens, Statice and Antirhhnums.
the fruit plot the strawberries are starting to ripen; I am removing any
runners. If new plants are required they can be left and pegged down later to
root. Aphids are becoming a nuisance on the plums and cherries and it can help
to deter these by pinching out the tips.
am continuing to harvest the asparagus and now the first baby beetroot and
A selection of photos taken on
Flaming June is true to it’s
word and has started being very warm indeed; this is the month when harvesting
really gets under way with the first of the early vegetables being the
tastiest. Every year it is still a thrill after all my years growing vegetables
tasting the very first baby carrots which I think are my favourite. But it is
still time to be sowing more for an ongoing supply. I have sown autumn cabbage
Unicorn in a seed tray in the greenhouse and more lettuce; Lettuce like cooler
conditions to germinate this time of year. For some reason quite a few of my
runner beans have failed to germinate so I am sowing more of those, it is not
too late and also French beans can be sown direct this time of year too. Turnip
and Kohl Rabi are quick growing crops for sowing now.
June is the time when we can enjoy our plots
but do not be too complacent the weeds will keep growing so keep the hoe going
on all vacant ground and hand weed where necessary.
New canes are now growing on the soft fruit,
loganberries, tayberries and blackberries, these need to be tied back sand
supported to avoid being snapped off. New growth on grapes should be pruned
back to 1 or 2 bunches of grapes. Prune new growth on red
currants by about 2 thirds to expose the fruit to ripen. Netting may be
needed to deter the birds although I do find very few are taken.
18th and the hot dry spell
continues; watering is a priority to vegetables that are cropping now, such as
peas, courgettes, French anmd Broad beans, beetroot.
Water copiously every few days rather than a daily dribble so the roots stay in
the cool rather than being encouraged to come to the surface for moisture and
getting burnt in the hot sun. Hand weed where possible to avoid disturbing the
soil to keep as much moisture in as possible. I have now stopped cutting the
asparagus, allowing it to grow to make fern. This will feed the crowns for next
year’s crop. 2 of my strawberries beds are finished. I have given the plants a
good ‘hair cut’ and weeded well. They will soon make new growth for next year.
Remove any runners as they appear unless you need them to make new plants in
which case they can be pegged down to root. Tomatoes are growing well and need
to be tied in and their side shoots removed on cordon varieties.
I am now harvesting, carrots, beetroot,
lettuce, cabbage, peas, broad beans, potatoes, raspberries, loganberries,
tayberries and red currants.
26th – After the blistering heat we
now have cooler weather but no sign of any rain, most things seem to be
surviving, I have picked the last of the peas and broad beans, the last of the
lettuce bolted but has been replaced with new plants. I have also panted out
winter cabbage Unicorn, but first filling the planting holes with water and
allowing it to drain several times, setting out the cabbages, watering well
again and mulching to keep the moisture in. All the soft fruit needs regular
picking now; my new bed of Malwena strawberries and doing
very well considering they haven’t been watered at all. Continue to cut back
any excess foliage on the grape vines and water well. Courgettes are cropping
well now and a good soaking once a week is better than a daily dribble.
It is now
cherry picking time; to enjoy these at their best always cut with scissors to
avoid damaging next year’s buds.
July is the month when harvesting is in full swing and
keeping on top of the fruit picking and vegetables is almost a full time job.
Give priority to the soft fruit but don’t pick in wet weather as it will soon
go to mush. French beans, peas, courgettes that grow quickly will need to be
harvested almost on a daily basis now. Outdoor tomatoes are starting to fill
out now and will need regular watering to swell the fruit.
Try and make final sowings this month of salad crops,
beetroot, peas, beans, and main crop carrots. Plant out leeks, winter cabbage,
kale, sprouts and purple sprouting.
In the greenhouse, prick out seedlings of Sweet Williams
and Wall flowers into cell trays and grow on to plant out in September.
21st. After only one heavy down pour we are
desperate for rain. Now the first of my soft fruit, loganberries, tayberries
and raspberries are finished I have made a start cutting out all the old
fruiting canes, selecting the strongest ones for next year, removing any weak
ones and tying in; first making any repairs to the supports and wires. The
grape vine needs to be kept watered and the grapes thinned carefully with
pointed scissors taking care not to damage the fruitlets left to develop.
I have made a start now lifting main crop potatoes
Desiree; leaving them in the greenhouse for a day or so to harden their skins
before storing in hessian sacks in a dry cool dark place such as the shed or
garage. Use any damaged ones first as they won’t keep. Tomatoes are starting to
ripen now too; remove some of the lower leaves to give them full sun.
Onions will be bending over now, don’t force them allow
it to happen naturally.
A reminder first of the G.A.H. & G.A. Annual show
is to be held at St. Mary’s Parish Centre, Alverstoke
on 19th August.
Anyone is welcome to enter; there are classes for
adults and children. It is intended to be a fun day out for all the family.
Show Schedules are available at any allotment store or on line at http://www.gosportallotments.btck.co.uk/
Back on the plot, the end of July saw the return of
cooler weather with very heavy down pours. This has caused some tomatoes to
split, these should be picked and used as quickly as possible as they won’t
keep. Onions and shallots too will need some extra warmth to ripen. Ease them with
a fork to break the roots and either leave in the sun or transfer to the
greenhouse to finish ripening and the skins are papery. When they are
completely dry they can either be plaited on to
strings or put into nets and stored in a frost free shed or garage. Only store
those with thin necks.
I am continuing to lift main crop potatoes Picasso,
finishing them off in the greenhouse for a day or two to allow the skins to
harden before storing in hessian sacks; Use any damaged tubers first. Leeks can
be earthed up now. Keep picking French and runner beans and courgettes to keep
It is not too late to make final sowings of salad crops,
beetroot and quick maturing carrots.
On the fruit plot, most of the soft fruit is going over
now, raspberries, loganberries etc. the old fruiting canes can be cut to the
ground then select the strongest new canes to be tied in for next year;
removing any weak ones but first making any repairs to the frame work. Continue
to prune the new growth on apples and pears back to a pair of outward facing
leaves to encourage fruiting spurs for next year.
17th and the Blight has
arrived. Some tomatoes have been affected more than others, Fandango and Cherola have succumbed but so far the Mountain Magic have
stood well and showing no signs as yet. Fortunately I had lifted all my main
crop potatoes before it struck. If you have been affected, all plants should be
lifted and either burned or disposed of. Do NOT compost and make sure any
canes, secateurs etc. have been thoroughly washed.
With the Show only 2 days away I have been lifting
various vegetables to enter. I am particularly pleased with my large carrots
this year, onions have faired well and so has the
The badgers have been active and overturned one of my
water butts, 40 gallons of water wasted and a lot of clearing up to do but
luckily no damage to any crops as yet.
Bank holiday week-end and it is now very warm. The blight
has taken all my tomatoes except for the Mountain Magic which are still holding
their own and looking good. Not the tastiest of tomatoes and with slightly
tougher skins I think they are still worth growing.
Seed catalogues are starting to drop through the letter
box already with lots of new varieties to tempt us with but time enough to
study those later on; for now there is plenty to do still on the plot before
any bad weather prevents from getting on the soil.
Many of the winter crops already established such as
leeks, sprouts, cabbages, parsnips will need to be tidied up; remove any dead
and yellowing leaves and consign to the compost heap. Make sure sprouts are
firmed in and given any support to stop the roots rocking in the winter winds.
Continue to cover brassica’s with netting as the cabbage white butterflies are
still about and birds will soon damage the tops.
Clear away any spent summer crops and fork over the soil,
keep weed free by hoeing regularly now. Or use the space to plant out spring
cabbage, broad beans, onion sets and garlic. I shall also be planting out
Wallflowers and Sweet Williams to flower next spring.
Try to finish cutting down summer fruiting raspberries, loganberries
etc. and tie in the strongest new canes for next year. Finish any pruning to
apples and pears. Harvest apples when they come away in your hand easily, pears
are a little more difficult as they ripen from the inside out. Better to
harvest while still firm and ripen on a sunny the window sill. Strawberries
that have finished fruiting can be given a good ‘hair cut’, and remove any
runners that are not needed to peg down to make new plants and consign to the
compost bin. They will soon make new growth for next year.
Last week of the month and with the weather still warm
and moist it is making for ideal growing conditions. Broad Beans, onions and
garlic can all be planted up to the end of October and even into November if
conditions ae still right. Vacant ground should now be kept weed free and if
possible cover with a good thick layer of well rotted
compost. I have taken delivery of a fresh load of horse manure which I will be
layering with all the green waste I have from the annual weeds, peelings from
the kitchen, flowers, dahlias etc. This will rot down over winter to give me
plenty of good compost to use in the spring. I also dig a deep trench where I
can on vacant ground and fill this with any waste before filling in.
reminder it is the Michaelmas Fayre at Alverstoke on
30th September when the G.A.H. & G.A. will be holding their
usual stall selling produce, plants, flowers, jams etc. If you have anything to
spare please bring along on the day or hand to any committee member or storeman.
This is our main fund raising event and will be gratefully received.
Shallots, Butternut and chillies prepared ready to take to the Fayre.
Thank you to
all those of you who contributed to our fund raising stall at the Michaelmas
Fayre; despite it starting off very wet, it did dry up by about 1 o’clock and
the visitors started to arrive; I think we exceeded all expectations by selling
Back on the
plot a damp start to the month and the weeds just seem to keep on coming.
Annual weeds can be dealt with by hoeing and if possible a good mulch of
compost laid now should keep them at bay for the rest of the winter. Anything
perennial will need to be dug out first.
My first job
this month is to remove the old Tayberry which has been in now for about 25
years and past it’s sell by date. The fruit has been very small this last few
years and it’s taking up too much space for very little return. I will also finish
pruning the apple trees. Conference and Concorde Pears are ripening now, pick
while still firm and finish off in the greenhouse or a warm window sill.
and a reminder it is the G.A.H.
& G.A, Pumpkin Fayre on Saturday 29th at the Alverstoke
Parish Centre. Anyone is welcome to enter and classes cover a wide range of
baking, preserves, wines, spirits and cider to fruit, vegetables and flowers. A
show schedule can be obtained from any site stores or on line at http://btckstorage.blob.core.windows.net/site9028/pumpkin%20and%20produce.pdf
Back on the plot the weather is still un-seasonally mild
and the soil is ideal to plant onions and broad beans to over winter if you
haven’t already done so.
I am now continuing to compost all spent flowers except
for the dahlias and chrysanths which are continuing
to give a lovely display, layering well with horse manure which will help it to
rot down for use in the spring. Wood chippings that have rotted well on my
paths I have scraped off to mulch the flower beds and then topped up the paths
with fresh chippings.
I have harvested all the chillies now but still have
plenty of leeks, parsnips, celeriac, cabbage, carrots and sprouts to see me
through the winter with potatoes, onions, shallots and butternut in store.
Care should be taken to see that any bonfires are damped
down and put out now before leaving. Water that is normally turned off at the
beginning of October has been left on for now and the Council will monitor its
Now the clocks have gone back and the days are shorter my
thoughts are turning to the maintenance jobs that need to be done before any bad
weather sets in for the winter. I am spreading a good layer of compost on as
many beds as I can and repairing and replacing any edgings that have rotted.
The shed has had a good turnout, my tools cleaned and where necessary oiled and
stored for the winter. Canes can be plunged into a bucket of disinfectant, pots
and trays washed and stored ready for use in the spring. I find my Enviromesh is easy to clean washed
on the cool cycle in the washing machine. I will also be giving my shed and
compost bins a coat of wood preservative to.
morning before it cleared to a very bright and warm day.
Last week of the month and I am well up to date with the
maintenance. Wood chippings laid on the perimeter paths,shed and compost bins painted and edgings renewed
where they had rotted. Leaves are late to fall; I have one plum tree almost in
full leaf still but those that have fallen have been gathered up and added to
the compost. I have been lucky enough to have been given some wood ash which
has been sprinkled on the beds I plan to grow brassicas next year also on the
It has now turned bitterly cold but I am pleased to say I
am well up to date with the plot this year. Other than expecting a delivery of
manure to refill my one empty compost bin there is little for me to do other
than harvesting vegetables when needed. I have carrots under enviromesh, leeks,
parsnips, celeriac, cabbage and sprouts and in store potatoes, onions, shallots
and butternut squash.
Now it is time for me to plan ahead to the spring and
decide where I shall plant and sow in the New Year. All the new seed catalogues
are out now and although I have ordered my main seeds through the Allotment
Association I like to browse as many as I can to see what’s new and maybe try
I think on the whole it has been a very good year with
little damage from the badgers; tomatoes did succumb to the blight but I was
very pleased with Mountain Magic which held out the longest; one to grow for
next year. My first attempt at growing chilli peppers were a great success.
We are pleased to have welcomed lots of new plot holders
this year and wish them well. The council now have a new contract with the
grass cutters and so far our paths and car park have been improved greatly.
Long may it continue.
What more can I say except to wish you all a Happy and
peaceful Christmas and lots more good gardening in 2018.
I shall be back again then and hope you will join me.