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to another year down on the plot. This will be my 30th year at Elson
with all its ups and
downs I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have met many
delightful people and
learned a great deal from them. I hope this year will be no
exception. Come and
join me and see what it holds.
My plots are changing as I no longer
need to grow so many vegetables but they are still a major part and I hope to
carry on growing a good selection for my own needs.
The New Year has started with the plot
still under water from the torrential rain we had in December. Slowly as it
drains I will be able to get started again; in the meantime I am in the
greenhouse preparing and organising pots etc. for the first early sowings
towards the end of Feb/March. Keep
checking any produce still in store for signs of rotting. Potatoes maybe
starting to shoot but these can be rubbed off and the tubers still usable.
The month has started very mild but
still very wet, spring bulbs are now beginning to show their first fat buds and
should soon burst into spring colour; Snowdrops and crocus already being the
Seed potatoes are now widely available
and at all allotment stores. Lay out in trays or egg boxes in a light frost
free place to chit ready to plant out next month. Because of the mild weather
weeds are starting to grow and will need hoeing out if you can or lightly turn
top over to expose roots which they will then die off. I’ve decided to remove my old strawberry
plants, they have reach the end of their time of 4 years and having been water
logged all winter really won’t produce anything this year. The vacant bed I
will prepare with some Sharp sand ready to sow carrots at the end of March.
I still have plenty of leeks and
parsnips to use which have survived the wet and the purple sprouting is just
showing their new early tender shoots.
14th and the plot is still
being battered with strong winds and rain and with Storm Dennis forecast for
this week-end there is no let-up in sight.
I have managed to plant up my new
strawberry bed with Strawberry Malling Centenary with
bare rooted plants from Marshalls. Not one I have grown before but decided it
was time for a change from Marshmello.
There has been a lot of damage from
the strong winds on our site particularly plastic greenhouses; I have been
fortunate and only water butt lids went missing but I have been able to find
them and hopefully for this week-end I have anchored them more firmly. Flooding
I think will be the main problem again as the plots are so saturated.
February is ending with the plot so
saturated it is going to be well into March before I can get on the ground
I have a mouse in my shed which is
making himself very cosy and nibbling my gardening
gloves, some old sacking and fleece. I have several times placed a small piece
of chocolate in the humane trap but he is very clever and seems to manage to
retrieve the chocolate without springing the trap.
My early Plum Beauty tree is in full
blossom now, the spring bulbs giving some very welcome colour; we just need
some respite from the continuous rain.
I still have some leeks left and the
Purple Sprouting although late is just starting to produce some nice tender
spears with onions, potatoes and butternut squash in store.
This month I shall
now start to get under way with sowing seeds in the greenhouse. Peas ‘Hurst Green Shaft’ first, sowing 5 peas to a 3 inch pot.
Beetroot ‘Pablo’ in cell trays, Cabbage, ‘Pixie’, Lettuce’ Little Gem’,
‘Celeriac, ‘Prinz’, Leeks ‘Winner’. This one is very
hardy which I grew for the first time last year and I am very pleased with the
results, Good strong stems that have withstood the dreadful wet winter we have
had. . Tomatoes, Honey Moon, Fandango, Cherrola and Santonio (baby
plum). These I shall bring indoors and put the tray on top of my boiler for
some gentle heat to germinate.
French Marigolds and Statice and geranium plugs have been pricked out into cell
The first early
potatoes Pentland Javlyn I
have planted on my highest bed and covered with enviromesh;
I shall continue with the second early Foremost as conditions allow.
GARDENING TALK – This has now been cancelled and will be
re-arranged for 17th November. This date has still to be confirmed.
20th of the month and with
Coronavirus now affecting all our lives the allotment is a good place to be;
the water levels are down and the soil is now starting to warm up and the first
and second early potatoes can be planted. I have also sown 2 rows of Parsnips
giving them some protection as our resident fox is still around and likely to
dig them up. The ground can now be weeded and prepared ready for later sowings
and planting in April. If it is still sticky I would wait a bit longer to
finish draining and drying out.
There is much to do in the greenhouse,
seedlings are growing well and need pricking out into cell trays or 3” pots.
The nights are turning much colder so keep some fleece or newspaper handy to
cover at night for added warmth and protection.
A reminder the stores are remaining
open and are well stocked now with all your needs. Please support them if you
Any potatoes still in store will need
regular checking now as long shoots will soon grow and need rubbing off. They
will still be usable tubers.
28th – Sorry Folks but in
keeping with government guidelines stores have had to close until further
notice. But the good news is we can still visit the allotment as part of our
daily exercise. This last week has seen almost perfect weather with warm sunny
days although still chilly at night. I have really been able to get on and get
the beds well prepared and made some sowings and planting. All I have covered
with enviromesh. Parsnips from seed, Peas ‘Hurst
Green Shaft’ which I had started off in pots, given them some twiggy supports
before covering with netting and then an old enviromesh
cover which I will remove later, Beetroot ‘Pablo’ started off in cell trays and
radish also under cover.
Taking advantage of the good weather I
have several beds that need the edgings renewed. Amazingly the soil is now
drying out and some plants need to be kept watered while they are still young
to get established, peas and beetroot and the new strawberry plants. My onion
sets have finally arrived from Marshals and I shall be starting these off in
Straggly raspberry canes are starting
to come through and to keep them from spreading chop them off with a sharp
Dead head daffodils that are going
over if you have time. Don’t cut the foliage or tie in knots, leave them to die
down naturally. This will feed the bulbs for next year.
Easter week-end and with the lock-down
still in place and lovely warm weather, everything is growing well now in the
greenhouse so plenty to be getting on with picking out and potting on. I have
also sown Butternut Squash ‘Metro’ and yellow courgettes ‘Floridor’
which is a round one; Savoy cabbage and Purple Sprouting to crop in the winter
and next spring.
Beds renewed with some
old scaffolding boards.
Surprisingly now the
plot is very dry; it is quite a while since we had any rain and what I have
sown or planted needs to be well watered till established.
this amazing warm weather continues with no sign of any rain on the horizon.
Plants are really growing well in the greenhouse now and I am taking a chance
and planting out celeriac ‘The Prinz’, watering well
and mulching. Cabbage ‘Greyhound’, onion sets which I started in cell trays,
‘Rumba, ‘Early Fen’ and ‘Red Fen’. The first tomatoes, Cherolla,
Fandango and Money Moon; I will keep some enviromesh
handy just in case there is a threat of a late frost..
Pleased to announce
we now have a new Storeman, Mark at Elson and he has been given permission to
open up should you require anything. He can be found on site most days usually
beavering away on his own plot 30; anything not in the stores can be ordered
from the main stores at Brockhurst as before. Mark
will also renew any subscriptions and welcome new members to Gosport Allotment
Holders and Gardeners Assoc. which will give them access to the stores and all
the benefits of buying cheaper seeds, potatoes etc,
as the seasons progress.
There is now also new
click and collect service for Association members available from the Brockhurst stores with a reduced stock list. Details can be
found on their website http://www.gosportallotments.btck.co.uk/
With some very
welcome rain, the weeds will soon be popping through, keep the hoe going on all
vacant ground but carefully hand weed any emerging seedlings, Slugs and snails
will be about to so use your preferred method of control. They will soon chomp
their way through new seedlings.
The asparagus season
is in full swing now, cut spears daily when about 8” tall just below the
surface, taking care of any new spears coming through; always hand weed.
Cabbage ‘Golden Acre’
which I planted and protected with netting earlier is now growing well and I
have set out new plants ‘Greyhound’ to follow on.
The deep blue Iris is giving some welcome colour to the plot now the
daffs have finished.
May is the month when
most seeds can be sown directly now, the soil will be warm and we have at last
had some very welcome rain. Beware the slugs and snails that will soon demolish
any emerging seedlings. I shall be sowing Runner Beans this month 2 beans to
each station plus 2 at the end of the row in case of any loss. All the squashes and courgettes, broad beans, French beans,
carrots, beetroot and salads. Continue to plant all main cropping
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.
the new soft tips on plums, cherries and damsons; this will help to deter
aphids that leave a sticky residue on the leaves.
- With no rain now for more than 2 weeks, watering is becoming very hard going.
I try and water only those that really need it giving a good soaking once a
week which is better than a daily dribble.
now setting so these will have priority for the water to fill them out;
squirrels can be a big problem for us so making sure they are well netted and
pegged down securely.
made a second sowing of carrots and as it is so dry sprinkled a little Ant
powder down the row to deter them as they will soon carry off the seed for
themselves; covering with enviromesh as always.
and for some reason my Runner Beans have failed this year. Maybe the squirrels
have had them I don’t know. I have now sown a few in pots in the greenhouse and
hopefully they will come up in time to plant out later next month.
I am now
eating my first new potatoes, Pentland Javlyn, just taking enough for what I need each day. The
asparagus is still cropping well and I have baby new carrots, Little Gem
lettuce and the first strawberries.
The main veg plot at the end of the
month; peas now setting.
May was the driest month on record I
believe so no rest for the wicked. Watering is still a priority on the crops
that really need it. Tomatoes are now setting so a good soak once a week should
be all they need. Any seeds sown directly now will need the drill really soaked
first. I shall be sowing my main crop carrots. All the soft fruits will be
ripening now; protect from the birds if necessary and harvest regularly.
Trained pear trees can be pruned to keep them in shape; leave apples till
14th – I have made my last
cut of the asparagus; will now let it grow into fern. This will feed the crowns
for next year. When it turns a bronze colour in October/November it can be cut
to the ground and mulched well. We have
had some rain but nowhere near enough but it has freshened the plot up; peas
are starting to fill out and will need checking daily before the squirrels get
to them. Sweet peas are flowering now
and they too need to be cut regularly to keep them flowering.
I am now harvesting my first cabbage
‘Golden Acre’, beetroot, carrots, onions, second early new potatoes ‘Foremost’,
lettuce and strawberries.
25th – It has turned very
hot and dry again. My peas are finished now all safely harvested and in the
freezer. I have replaced with the Purple sprouting.
First the pea vines have been consigned to the compost, the ground dug over and
lots of good compost incorporated. A deep hole filled with 2
watering cans of water first then setting the plants deeply and firming in
well. Another good watering and well mulched, adding a strong stake to prevent
the plants from rocking in the autumn winds; before covering with netting to
keep the butterflies and birds out. This should be all they need now till the
Strawberries too are finished, they
will be given a good ‘hair cut’ and the old leaves cleared away, weeded and
mulched with fresh compost. They will soon make new growth for next year.
I am now harvesting my first French
beans, picking them regularly and while about 6-8 inches long to enjoy while
they are young and tender.
Should be the month when we can sit
back and enjoy the fruits of our labours but there is always something that
needs doing. Harvesting is taking up quite a bit of time, picking the soft
fruits to enjoy at their best and freezing the surplus to be made into jam
etc., later. Onions should be filling
out nicely now, don’t be tempted to bend the tops let them fall naturally.
Tomatoes need to be watered and fed regularly; a good soak once a week should
suffice. Celeriac leaves will need removing as they bend down, this will help
to expose the stem to fill out. Still time this month to sow main crop carrots,
beetroot, Kohl Rabi, turnips and all the salad leafy crops.
This year as an experiment I am
growing Sweet Peas with the runner beans; so far I have had some lovely Sweet
Peas and the Runners are now almost to the top of the canes.
I plan on growing a new bed of
strawberries ‘Elsanta’ I have chosen this time. I have
cleared and prepared the bed well with a good layer of fresh compost ready for
when the bare rooted-plants are delivered.
16th New bare rooted
strawberry plants have arrived, they have been planted with their roots spread
out, keeping the crown above the soil and very well watered
in. We are still desperate for rain.
Potato haulms are going over now so I
have started lifting main crop Desiree. They are very clean with no signs of
scab or slug damage; left over night in the greenhouse to harden their skins
before storing in hessian sacks in my garage; Any
other cool dark frost free place such as the shed will do.
Last day of the month is proving to be
very hot again but I have continued to lift main crop Picasso potatoes and
again they are proving to be a good clean crop this year. I am well satisfied.
Onions are ripening early, wait till the tops fall over and start to dry off,
gently break the roots with a fork and leave in the sun to ripen and dry off
completely, they will become brown and papery,
before storing. Only store those with thin necks and use any others
first. They can be stored in onion nets or can be plaited
on to strings. To see how I do this, go to http://www.saundersallotment.co.uk/September.html
My experiment to grow sweet peas with
the runner beans I feel was not successful. I had some lovely sweet peas but
the runner beans have suffered; the sweet peas have been consigned to the
compost heap and now thankfully the runner beans are picking up and flowering,
hopefully I will be harvesting soon.
Tomatoes are now ripening, remove the
lower leaves to give them full sun, water well and feed once a week.
Any herbs will benefit from being cut
back now particularly, lavender which can become woody. New growth will soon
Continue to harvest any soft fruit if
you are lucky enough to still have some, mine is all but finished now except
for blueberries and later on will be the grapes. Prune the new soft growth on
apples and pears.
Although I have been unable to keep up
with the watering of the flowers this year I am surprised how they have
survived with so little and really brightening up the plot.
My first project for the month is to
dig out the root of the old Blackberry. Very little fruit these last few years
I think it has come to the end of its life. As we are now coming to the last
few months of the year I think it is time to take stock of what I want to keep
and what not to and perhaps plan for something new for
The blackberry root came out relatively
easy, it was really quite rotten. I have renewed the soil
with some good compost and decided to plant a Honey Suckle; one which I had at
home in a large pot that wasn’t doing very well. Hopefully it will like
its new spot and thrive. I have made a frame work for it to climb.
I am now harvesting Victoria plums;
unfortunately some have the pink worm inside even though I had hung the Pheromone trap up, but the majority
are good. Tomatoes too are ripening quickly now so I am continuing to remove
the lower leaves to expose the fruit to the sun.
12th with scorching
temperatures continuing for the last few days it has been difficult to do even
the minimal of watering. The 2 yellow round courgettes have been producing so
many fruits I have taken one plant out. Onions have really dried and ripened
well; I have now brought home to store just in case we have a thunderstorm I
would rather they didn’t get wet. But I am
pleased to say at last I have runner beans, slow to produce but now producing a
22nd – The Herb bed was in
need of a good tidy up but instead I have decided to renew some plants; the
lavender was getting very woody and so was the sage and the Thyme had all but
disappeared. The Chive was very congested but I was able to dig the clump and
divide into several smaller plants. Now is a good time to take cuttings of
things like the sage, curry plant, lemon geranium and Rosemary. Take new non
flowering growth, remove the lower leaves and place several round the outside
of a pot containing and 50/50 mix of compost and vermiculite. Water well and
place in a cool place till rooted. The lemon geranium is not hardy and needs
either to be transferred to a frost free place for the winter or as I do take
cuttings, which I find root very easily. Never add mint to the bed as this will
take over. Grow in a separate large pot.
Come next spring this
will all start to grow away and soon cover the ground again.
Bank holiday week-end
and it has turned quite chilly. I am pleased with my crop of butternut squash
this year and have cut back some of the foliage to expose the fruits so they
can ripen and harden their skins in the sun ready for storing. I am surprised at how quickly my tomatoes
have ripened this year; all but the baby plum have been harvested, plants
removed and composted. Runner Beans are now doing well in the cooler
temperatures and starting to crop at last giving me some tasty tender beans.
With the threat of
the carrot fly now over I have removed the enviromensh
cover and given it a good machine wash before storing for next year.
Some of the summer bedding annuals have now gone past their best and I
am gradually removing and composting.
Dahlias need to be dead headed regularly; cutting back to a leaf joint
to keep them flowering. The Spray Chrysanths are
starting to flower in clusters of bright autumn colours.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
A reminder seed catalogues are now available at all site
stores and new members can join now and receive the 2021 card to take advantage
of the 40% discount on Seeds. Broad beans and onions sets will be available
soon all at very competitive prices together with a whole range of gardening
products. Please support your stores.
A display stall was
held at Gosport Market to raise awareness of the allotments and what they can
offer. All thanks to Steve and Jim for putting on such a wonderful display.
Some of the winter
brassica leaves will be rotting now; gather up and compost; remember rotting
leaves cause diseases. There is a good crop of apples on the trees this year,
pick when cupped in the hand they come away from the tree easily. Although the
ground is still very dry it is a good practice to hoe all vacant ground if you
can to keep the weeds down.
The end of the month and it has now
turned very cold. I have emptied one half of my compost bin and made some
repairs; it is now ready to be refilled.
I am still enjoying a late crop of
runner beans, picking them while still small.
There are plenty of onion sets,
shallots and broad beans available at the stores. Plant now to over winter while the soil is
still warm to get them established; and plant out spring cabbage. Finish
lifting main crop potatoes; leave in the sun for an hour or two to harden their
skins and then store in hessian or paper sacks in a cool dark frost free
place. Continue to keep any vacant
ground hoed regularly to avoid the weeds taking hold again and add a good layer
of compost. Remove any dead and dying leaves round leeks and brassicas.
Asparagus fern will be turning a
bronze colour this month, cut down to ground level, hand weed to avoid damaging
the crowns, water well and add a thick mulch of compost.
Dahlia and chrysanths
are really flowering well now but still need to be dead headed to keep them
going till the frosts.
17th and I have been taking
advantage of the beautiful Autumn sun we are having
and doing some maintenance jobs. The shed and compost bins have been repaired
and a good coat of wood stain applied. Giving the inside of the shed a good
turnout, cleaning and oiling any tools I won’t use over the winter; Canes to be
stored for next year should be plunged into a bucket of bleach or disinfectant.
Any pots, trays etc, washed ready for next year.
Last week of the month and the weather
has really changed to wet and windy. Not pleasant to work in but I have put
final touch to the shed a new down pipe on the guttering. Also taken delivery
of more manure so I can keep the
layering going in the compost bins with the green waste and leaves I have
We are fast approaching the end of
another year but still time to get those onions, broad beans and garlic planted
if you haven’t already done so. All the squashes should be harvested now
cutting to leave about 2 inches of stem; harden the skins in the sun then store
in a frost free place for winter. Continue to check on any fruit and vegetables
in store for any that are rotting. Carry on winter digging if the conditions
are right, leave in large clods and let the winter weather break it down. You
will also be feeding the birds with snail’s eggs and insects too by bringing
them to the surface.
My two successes this year I think are
the celeriac and Savoy cabbage, despite the long dry summer, both have done
exceptionally well. I still have ‘Sweet Candle’ carrots, kale, leeks and
parsnips to see me through the winter months.
For some late autumn colour the small chryanths are doing their best to shine on the dullest of
Now we will be lock down again this
month it is still good to know we can get out on the allotment.
24th and coming near to the
end of lock down and the end of the month but although we have had some very
wet spells in between it has been warm and pleasant to get out on the plot and
do some repairs to the edgings. The wood is rotting and has needed to be
replaced. Weeds are still growing so a good idea to keep the hoe going or hand
weed to keep on top of them before they seed.
. . . . .
December already, where has the year
gone? Coping with lock downs etc., and although we will be in Tier 2 for a
while now it has been good to get out on the Lottie all this time and enjoy our
gardening; a place to forget all the trials and tribulations of the world for a
while and grow some good produce into the bargain.
The year has had its failures like
most years and I think for me it was the beans. Runners just didn’t take off at
all and the French didn’t do much better. I think the early long hot dry spell
was to blame. The rest of the vegetables have been very good indeed
particularly the celeriac , carrots and savoy cabbage.
Soft fruit too was disappointing, raspberries really failed to produce anything
worth eating and the rest, loganberries and blackberries were dry and pippy.
All put down to the lack of rain. All
the tree fruit has been very good apples plums and pears. Cherries I think the
birds did very well as I failed to net them this year. And the flowers in their
glorious colours kept us cheerful through the hard times.
Continue to dig over vacant ground as
the weather allows leaving the soil in clods for the weather to break it down.
Check over any fruit and vegetables in store, removing any that are starting to
rot; Finish any winter pruning.
December is time to reflect and plan
for next year, all the seed catalogues are out now and just waiting to be read
to see what new and exciting varieties there are to try.
The year ends with us all now in Tier
It only remains for me to wish you all
a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas, stay safe and I shall look forward to
being back on the plot in 2021 to do it all over again. – Beryl.