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  2022][Typical Plots on the Elson Site] [Wild Life Area] [Conservation Project] [Badgers] [Ray's Plot]
Welcome to a New Year back on the plot. We
have many new plot holders now; and it is good to see more younger
families taking up the challenge to grow
their own food. We wish them every success.
The month has started very wet and cold; there is still
time to complete any winter digging provide it is not too wet or water logged
to get on the soil; and clear away any spent crops.
Finish any pruning to apple and pear trees but not any
stone fruit. Check all soft fruit canes are tied in securely and any dead and
dying leaves around strawberry plants should be removed and composted.
I am still harvesting, leeks, cabbage, carrots,
parsnips and celeriac. The celeriac ‘Asterisk F1’ has exceeded all expectations
and grown to an exceptional size, standing well; some I had dug, trimmed of roots and foliage
put in a box in the shed before Christmas are keeping well.
Seed potatoes will be available later this month and
should be laid out in trays to chit in a light but frost free place.
20th and the month is proving to be very wet
and cold. Little can be done now. I have cut back the old stems on the Sedums
and carried out the last of the pruning to the apples and pears. Bulbs are all
showing through now, crocus, daffs and snowdrops so hopefully spring is not far
away. Continue to check vegetables and
fruit in store for any that are rotting before it spreads.
Weather is proving to be a major factor in preventing getting anything
done this winter. Ground is so water-logged best left alone till it has
drained. I am managing to keep the weeding under control by reaching in from
the paths and not treading on the beds at all.
Autumn fruiting raspberries should be cut the ground this month; they
will fruit on new canes which will soon start to emerge.
Still too early to be sowing in the greenhouse but I have laid out
potatoes to chit, covering with fleece to keep them frost free and put a few
shallots in cell trays to start them off.
Onion sets will be available in the stores later this month.
Welcome respite from
the relentless wind, rain and cold is a couple of fine sunny days in the middle
of the month.
One side of the plot and a patch of leeks still waiting to be
FOR YOUR DIARY
G.A. are pleased to welcome Dr Alick Jones to give a gardening talk on ‘Weeds –
can we ever win?’ at HEDCA on Tuesday 17th February at 7.30 pm.
Admission free to members and £1 to non-members with the usual light
refreshments and raffle. All are very welcome.
Well, with the whole country covered now in a blanket of snow, ice and
cold winds who knows when we will be able to get on the plot again. Don’t try
digging frozen ground it will only do more harm than good. It is tempting to
start seeds off in the greenhouse or a sunny window sill but I would be
inclined to wait; light levels are rising but not really enough yet to prevent
any seedlings emerging from getting leggy. Later sowings will catch up once the
soil and temperatures have warmed up.
15th of the month and temperatures are at last rising but I
am still erring on the side of caution. First and second early potatoes can be
planted now if your soil is right and not water logged. In my cold greenhouse I
have planted onion sets and a few more shallots into the cell trays; sown the
first of the more hardier of seeds, cabbage, leeks, lettuce and celeriac. Peas
I will sow in pots in the next week or so.
Pleased to say at last I have made my first picking of Purple Sprouting
which has made a very welcome change.
Spring has arrived at
29th and I think perhaps I spoke too soon as we are now
almost under water from the very heavy rain and the cold with no signs of it warming
up over Easter either.
On one of the warmer days I planted out the shallots, put some Parsnip
seeds in and a few carrots, both under enviromesh for protection. Have a
feeling I shall be re-sowing later but we can live in hopes. I’ve cleared the last of the leeks which have
been very good this winter – one crop that has enjoyed the cold.
I’ve been checking over the onions and potatoes still in store. Both are
starting to shoot but with the potatoes the shoots can be rubbed off still
leaving a very usable potato. The onions will need using soon but the shallots
are keeping well. I have sown tomato seeds but keeping them indoors in the warm.
‘Mountain Magic F1’ which faired very well last year being the last to succumb
to the blight, Fandango a blight resistant delicious large tomato and Cherrola
my favourite cherry type.
A reminder first
that the G.A.H. & G A, AGM will be
held on 24th April, 7.30 at HEDCA. Depending on the council’s
decision there should be plenty to talk about.
Easter Sunday was a beautiful day here so I was able to get on and start
planting the main crop potatoes starting with Picasso one of my favourite
all-rounders for cooking and storing well; I am still using last year’s crop,
then I will follow with Desiree when we have another good day. The rain really
is relentless this spring. However I am now using the time to get sowing more
in the greenhouse. The peas I sowed about a week ago are now up so was the
cabbage but unfortunately I have detected a slug which has been enjoying his
breakfast on them. The peas will survive but I have re sown the cabbage and
scattered a few slug pellets around and will keep a more watchful eye out from
now on. I am sowing now, turnips and
beetroot in cell trays, autumn cabbage ‘Attraction’ and the winter Savoy
‘Resolution F1’, this is a new one for me to try. All the annual flowers can be
sown now in the cold greenhouse to.
The chrysanths I have over wintered are making good growth now and need to
have their tips pinched out to make good bushy plants ready to plant out next
month. The daffodils are still giving a glorious show but those that are going
over I am dead-heading.
13th and although the plot is still pretty soggy, the beds
are draining and I have been able to plant the last of the shallots and made a
start on the onions.
The greenhouse is a busy time now, tomatoes have been pricked out into
3” pots, celeriac, lettuce into cell trays and I am continuing to prick out all
the bedding plants.
The purple sprouting is producing lots of young tender spears now and
needs to be harvested almost daily to keep them coming.
21st. After some very warm days I have now planted out the peas, giving
them with plenty of twiggy branches for support then covering with some netting
to keep the birds off. Also the first of the beetroot, turnips and Little Gem
lettuce; all grown in cell trays. These I have covered with enviromesh till
they are well established and any threat of frost is past.
On the fruit plot the trees are now bursting with blossom and the Wall
flowers have taken over from the spring bulbs to give a very vibrant display.
In the greenhouse it has been difficult to keep it well ventilated
during the hot days, some seedlings were suffering and had to be moved outside
in the shade during the day, however we are back to ‘normal’ temperatures for
this time of year and hopefully all will be well. I am continuing to pot on
tomatoes, cabbage, celeriac etc. as and when necessary.
April ended very wet again but the start of May temperatures are at last
warming up, the soil feels warm to the touch so planting and sowing can now
begin in earnest. Tender vegetables will need to be hardened off first,
allowing them a few hours out of the greenhouse each day before setting out in
their final positions. Runner and Broad Beans can now be sown direct in the
soil. Just keep an eye on the night temperatures as it is still possible to
have a frost in May. Potatoes are starting to come through a good earth up may
be necessary. Draw the soil from either side to cover any foliage showing.
My Purple sprouting is coming to an end so that is being cut down and
consigned to the compost bin. Unless you have a shredder the thick stems do not
compost well those I dispose of at the tip.
The fruit blossom has survived the strong winds and the bees are loving
the wall flowers; fingers crossed for a good fruit harvest.
I have been checking my water butts for slugs and snails, they love to
over winter under the inside rim and lid. Also any watering cans left outside
16th and planting is now in full swing but beware some of the
nights are still cold and any tender plants such as courgettes, tomatoes and
squashes will need to be protected. Runner beans can be sown direct in the
ground now; I sow 3 beans to each cane about 2” deep.
The greenhouse is starting to empty but more sowings can be made of all
the salad crops, beetroot and turnips in
cell trays; also the winter crops of purple sprouting, kale and winter cabbage.
Time now to hang up the Pheromone traps in apple and plum trees to
prevent the codling moth and ensure any grease bands that have been applied are
free from any debri. Next years’ canes are starting to grow on the soft fruit
so make sure there is room to tie them to one side out of the way of strong
winds to avoid them snapping off.
Spring flowers that have gone over can be removed and consigned to the
compost bin but leave any bulb foliage to die down completely first. This will
feed the bulbs for next year.
I am now enjoying the first asparagus; spears need to be cut regularly
as they grow so quickly. Keep the bed hand weeded to avoid damaging the
19th Beautiful warm
sunny day. Planted out the Celeriac before watching the Royal Wedding on TV.
May ended with some very welcome rain the plot was getting quite dry
again; the benefits mean I am now
harvesting lettuce, radish and baby turnips together with the asparagus and the
first Marshmello strawberries. Summer has arrived at last. But no let-up in
things to do, tomatoes will need to be tied in regularly as they are growing
well, peas Hurst Greenshaft are in flower a regularly supply of water will be
needed to swell the pods once they have formed. I shall be planting out leeks
and sprouts this month together with the courgettes and butternut squash. The rain has also made the weeds grow away
again and a hoe to all vacant ground will help keep the moisture in ready for
later crops. Slugs and snails are also out in force and your preferred method
of control will be much needed now.
In the greenhouse I have made
further sowings of lettuce, autumn cabbage and turnips. The purple sprouting I
sowed last month now needs to be pricked out into 3” pots.
June is the month to be planting out all the bedding and annual plants
now the threat of any frost has gone. Some of the perennial plants may need
some support and staking now.
8th and it is now time for me to stop cutting the asparagus
and let the spears grow on to make fern. This will strengthen the crows for
next year’s crop. The peas have set their pods and need plenty of water to
swell the peas. The Sweet Williams now in full flower are giving a brilliant
display and the bees are loving them to.
24th and it is now well over a month since we had any rain to
speak of, the ground is very dry and priority must be given to crops that are
now ready to harvest. Today I have picked a large trug full of peas having
given them a really good soaking first a couple of days ago. I find it best to
cut them rather than pull them off as it stops damaging the plants. The leeks
also have been given a good soaking and now mulched well. My next priority will
be the celeriac which is starting to suffer from lack of moisture. Courgettes
are cropping well and again a good soak once a week is better than a daily
The first strawberries have finished and have been given a good ‘hair
cut’; all the old foliage consigned to the compost bin. New growth will soon
Soft fruit, raspberries, loganberries etc., currants and gooseberries
are all ripening now and need regular picking.
I am now harvesting my second early potatoes Foremost. Only take what
you can use in a couple of days, they will taste so much better. All the other
summer vegetables are now ready, beetroot, lettuce spring onions, courgettes,
cabbage French beans etc., enjoy them while they are young and tender and at
July is usually the month we can sit back relax and enjoy the fruits of
our labours, unfortunately with the continuing heat wave no such luck. With
water restrictions soon to be in place every drop counts. Some plants are
really suffering the strawberries I cut back after fruiting are dying back and
a soaking really is necessary to save losing them; soft fruit such as
raspberries and loganberries are very small and need the moisture to swell the
fruit. It is difficult to decide on priorities but try and only water down each
plant rather than all the soil as this only wastes water. Hand weed to keep what moisture there is in.
I am enjoying my summer cabbage now although they haven’t had a chance
to develop much of heart they are still tasty and tender. I have made the final
picking of the peas, cut the vines off at ground level the roots will put back
valuable nitrogen in the soil, the vines have gone in the compost.
On the fruit plot, I have picked what cherries the birds have left me
and what little soft fruit there is. The gooseberries and purple raspberries
seem to have fared the best. Grapes are forming their bunches
now and have been given a good soaking.
16th and the hot days continue. I have been able to keep the
tomatoes watered regularly and they are now starting to ripen. This one is Cherola a cherry tomato which for me I think has a better
flavour than Gardeners Delight and always seems to ripen first.
If you have been able to keep the Celeriac watered now is the time to start
removing the lower leaves as they bend down this will encourage the stem which is the edible part
it to swell and not the root. My French
beans are coming to an end but the beans are setting on the Runners now so will
turn my attention to them from now on with the watering.
Onions are ripening, gently ease with roots with a fork and lay in the
sun to finish ripening until they are brown and papery. Use any with thick
necks first as only the thin necked ones will store well through the winter.
End of July and we have had some very welcome rain at last. Don’t think
in my 27 years on the plot have I seen everywhere so dry and we have struggled
to keep plants alive. I have planted out the last of my turnips raised in cell
trays. First drawing a shallow trench with a rake and watering very well before
planting and then watering well again; covering with dry soil to keep as much
moisture in as possible. Turnips like to be kept moist at all times to avoid
the G.A.H & G. A. will be holding their annual summer show on the 18th
August at St. Mary’s Parish Centre, Alverstoke.
Anyone of any age including children is welcome to enter. A show schedule and further information can
be obtained from any allotment site store or by visiting http://www.gosportallotments.btck.co.uk/
viewing is from 12.15 pm Teas and light refreshments are available.
I have been doing some
summer pruning to the fruit trees, cutting back the soft growth to keep them in
shape. All soft
fruit is now finished with the exception of the autumn raspberries; The old
fruiting canes can been cut out now and the new ones tied in and given a good
soaking if possible. Black currants are slightly different to red and this
year’s fruiting branches should be cut out as they will fruit on new wood,
whereas red currants will fruit on old and new wood so cut to keep the bush
airy and in shape. Keep removing the new
growth on grapes to allow the grapes to ripen. Careful thinning can be started
now too. Use a lollypop stick or something similar to hold against the fruit to
Tomatoes are ripening quickly
now, some cherry varieties are inclined to split but these can be frozen and
used in soups later on. Runner beans will need regular watering and picking to
keep them cropping.
9th and we have
had some very welcome rain; not nearly enough but better than nothing. On one
of my vacant beds I have dug a big trench and now filling with green waste from
spent flowers, fallen apples etc. adding more till it is full then I will fill
in. This will rot down over the winter and will provide added moisture and
goodness to the soil for next year.
In the greenhouse I have
been potting on Sweet Williams and Wall Flowers to plant out next month.
25th and it is
bank holiday week-end already. I can’t believe how quickly this summer has
gone. I am now already putting some of the beds ‘to bed’ for the winter by
giving them a good thick blanket of rotted compost. This will keep moisture in
and prevent a late covering of weeds and should only need a rake down in the
spring ready for planting and sowing again.
The Sweet Williams have
made good growth in the last 2 weeks so these I am now planting out as space
becomes available. With the rain we have had and now cooler temperatures some
of the bedding has revived and giving some welcome colour. French Marigold,
Antirrhinum, Geranium and Bizzie Lizzies to name but
a few and also some of the perennials, Dahlias etc., Runner Beans have picked up preferring the
cooler temperatures and will need watering well to keep them cropping. All of
the winter brassicas, cabbage, kale, sprouts, celeriac, leeks and parsnips
don’t seem to have suffered with the lack of water and looking good also a late
crop of carrots.
Continue to remove the lower leaves as they bend down on the
celeriac to encourage the bulb to swell and now is the time to thin grapes
carefully with pointed scissors.
How the months are flying
by now although summer is still with us; next years seed catalogues are
starting to drop through the letter box with lots of new varieties to tempt us
to try. I am still clearing spent crops
and flowers to the compost heap and ordered my first small load of manure to
mix in with it; this will all rot down together for good compost for next
year. Repairs to the beds are needed and
now is a good time to go round the plot and check all edging boards. Make a
note of any that need replacing and make sure you have sufficient materials to
do the job while the weather is still good.
I have cut my first
bunches of grapes but the figs just refuse to swell or ripen this year. Autumn
raspberries are not fairing any better than the summer ones either. But my
apples, Rev. Wilks and Charles Ross are a very good size and although some are
falling I have a very good crop. Both are good eaters and cookers but of the
two Charles Ross does not store as well.
I have permanently got a
pair of secateurs in my hand, dead heading as I go round to keep colour for as
long as possible. Those plants that have really gone over are consigned to the
compost and I am continuing to plant out the last of the Wall flowers.
23rd and a very
wet week-end but still much needed rain. I have been lucky to refill 2 of my
compost bins now with horse manure layered with plenty of green waste. This
should give me plenty of compost to use next year. Brassica leaves that are
yellowing need clearing up and composting and with the strong winds make sure
kales and spouts have strong stakes to stop them rocking.
the G.A.H. & G.A. will be holding their usual stall at the Michaelmas Fayre
on Saturday 29th September, at Alverstoke
Village, selling their usual produce,
fruit vegetables, flowers, preserves and plants, Anything you have to spare
will be gratefully received; please hand to your storeman or bring on the day.
The month ended with a
beautiful sunny day perfect for our day at the Michaelmas Fayre. Many thanks to all who supplied us with the produce to sell;
raising £494 for our funds.
The days definitely now
have a feel about Autumn; crisp mornings but
pleasantly warm during the day. I am adding a few more bulbs for some early
spring colour next year; making a start on cutting down the asparagus fern as
it changes colour, hand weeding well so as
not to damage the crowns, giving it a dressing of wood ash then when we
have had some rain will add a good layer of rotted compost.
Onion sets, broad beans
and garlic can now either be started off in cell trays or planted direct in the
ground; while the soil is still warm they will get off to a good start. Pick up
and either use or compost fallen apples and pears. Do not leave any rotting on
the tree to mummify as this will cause disease for next year. Small amounts of
leaves can be swept up and composted but large amounts should be used to make
leaf mould in a separate wire bin.
Continue to clear spent crops, dig over and add a good layer of compost
if you can to vacant ground.
A reminder the
G.A.H. & G.A Pumpkin Fayre will be held as usual on Saturday 27th October
2018 at St Mary’s Parish Centre, Alverstoke
are available from Stores or the website. http://www.gosportallotments.btck.co.uk/
Time to show off your Creative Pumpkin Carving, Best Baking, Brilliant
Boozes, Charming Chutneys, Juicy Jams, Marvellous Marmalades, Voluptuous
Veggies, Fantastic Photos and more. Anyone is welcome
to enter, classes for adults and children.
13th and it has been very warm for October,
I don’t think I have ever had such a good display of flowers. I have kept the chrysanths well dead-headed and it really has paid off.
Even the dahlias are just as beautiful.
I have also dug my first parsnips ‘Gladiator’,
they are as sweet as a nut and showing no signs of any canker.
end of the month has seen the return to more normal temperatures for October
and now we are seeing some night frosts which is cutting down
These can be added to the compost and then given a good
thick mulch. I have been able to save
most of the chrysanths, cut back and potted up to
over winter in
the greenhouse. They will need very little watering and only just a drop now
and then to keep them going. I am now getting on
maintenance jobs, the
shed and compost bins have had a coat of wood preservative and the shed given
good turnout. Tools I will not be using over winter
cleaned and hung
The month has started cold and wet. Bare rooted trees and
soft fruit will now be lifted and despatched and can be planted anytime,
provided condition are right,
till next March. I have some new Marshmellow
Strawberry plants waiting to go in which I have covered the roots in a dry
compost till I can get them set
out. Trees, and all the soft fruit can be heeled in. Grease bands can now be applied to tree fruit
and should be checked regularly for any debris which might get
stuck to it
I am continuing to clear up spent crops, canes that have
been used steeped in a bucket of bleach or disinfectant to remove any disease,
dried and stored for next
year. Make sure snails are not over wintering in watering
cans or round under the rims of plant pots. I am keeping my water butts topped
up before the water is
for the winter.
23rd and I have harvested my first sprouts;
not the best as my ground is really now too soft for them although staked and
firmed in they have ‘rocked’ in the
strong winds. Squirrels have been enjoying my carrots although with heavy
bricks round the enviromesh they still manage to get
in. I have now lifted what
left and all the undamaged ones stored
in a box of dry compost and kept frost free should last well into the New Year.
26th/27th Not a very pleasant theme to end the month on but
it is that time of year when we must be vigilant; 2 nights running our sheds
have been broken into.
The heavy rain and winds have not deterred them. Little
has been taken but locks broken and extensive damage.
The month has started still mild but wet and windy. I am
more or less up to date now with the plot. If you can continue to dig over any
vacant ground clearing
perennial weeds and incorporate some well
rotted compost. Gather up any rotting brassica leaves and compost them.
Keep checking any stored fruit and
vegetables for any that are showing signs of rotting and use up first.
With Christmas not far away now there will be other
things on our minds. I think although we have had a very long dry summer this
year it was the soft fruit that
the most. I had a very short raspberry and strawberry crop even the blackberries
were not their usual plentiful crop. Only the black currants
surprisingly did very well. I
have planted up a new strawberry bed with Marshmello
and hope we have a better year in 2019.
I still have some very good parsnips this year to
harvest, celeriac, leeks and savoy cabbage. In store carrots, onions shallots
and potatoes. My one disappointment
the sprouts but I think my soil is now too light and sandy for them.
Now is the time to be cleaning tools not in use to store
for the winter. Make sure there are no slugs and snails in watering cans or
round under the rims of pots.
Clean canes and stakes not in use by plunging them in a
bucket of bleach or disinfectant. Check shed and any edgings, frames etc. for
repairs that might need
doing; make sure
any grease bands are free from any debri and continue
to check on any fruit and vegetables in store for rotting.
Now we can take a well earned
break, sit back and enjoy all the new seed catalogues and plan for a good
harvest in 2019.
My Best Wishes to you all for a Happy Christmas and a
Peaceful New year.