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With the Covid
still dominating our lives it is good to know we can still
get out on to
the allotment for our daily exercise; so come and join me down on the plot for
which as always
will probably bring more surprises.
We start the New Year still in Tier 4 with all the
restrictions and later to a national lockdown. . Very cold and frosty but so
far no snow like the rest of the country. I have dug the last of the parsnips
but still have leeks, celeriac, savoy cabbage and kale to keep me going;
Potatoes, onions and butternut squash in store. Continue to check over any
stored fruit and veg and remove any rotting or use up quickly. There is little
for me to do now till the spring but if you can continue to dig over and leave
soil in clods for the weather to break it down; it will also bring any slug or
snail eggs to the surface for the birds to eat.
Finish any winter pruning to fruit trees while still
dormant and cut down autumn fruiting raspberries to the ground.
Seed potatoes are arriving at Garden Centres if you
didn’t order from your Allotment stores which should be available soon.
Last few days of the month the weather has turned very
wet again but still cold. If you can get on the plot strawberry plants will
benefit from a good tidy up, removing all the dead and dying leaves; they will
soon make new growth as the weather warms up.
Keep any bird feeders clean and dispose of any seed
that is starting to rot and replace with fresh. I also hang feeders filled with
fat balls but I am sure the squirrels are getting to them. Please email me if
you have any tips to keep them at bay.
The cold wet weather
continues and there is little for me to do on the plot for now. I am making
good use of the time in the greenhouse preparing pots and trays, compost etc.,
in readiness for sowing next month.
If you can get on the
plot any old crops should be cleared now and the ground turned over. Finish any
winter pruning to fruit trees except stone fruit which should be carried out in
late summer. Make sure soft fruit canes are well tied in on strong supports
against the winter winds.
Elson Allotment now
has its own Facebook page to become a member click here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/427007701875535
A reminder that
subscriptions to the G.A.H. & G A. are now due and can be renewed at any of
the site stores. Onion sets, shallots
and spare seed potatoes are also available. The Association has relaunched
their new website. For information on events, shows etc. and how to become a
member click here www.gosportallotments.co.uk
This last month the weather has
thrown just about everything at us, from rain, bitterly cold winds, sub zero temperatures and now this last week positively
balmy with temperatures into double figures. Last year I lost my summer
raspberries to a virus and did say I wouldn’t plant any more but have changed
my mind and prepared a new bed, one half will be Raspberries Glen Ample Floricane and the other with more Strawberries ‘Red
Gauntlet. An old variety I have not grown for quite a few years. The bed has been dug over with plenty of well rotted compost incorporated, with supports and canes,
ready now for when the new plants are received.
The month has started with still very mild days but beware of making
early sowings in the ground yet, the nights are cold. The hardier plants like shallots, onion sets
and broad beans can be planted now but I like to start mine off in the cell
trays to plant next month when they are about the size of a spring onion.
My new fruit canes arrived and I have now set those out together with
the strawberries. Raked in some horticultural sand in preparation for where I
plan to grown carrots this year. Carrots do better sown next month when the
soil has warmed up more. My soil is well drained now and good for planting my
first early Potatoes ‘Pentland Javlyn,
setting the tubers a good spade depth, earthing up
and mulching well, to keep them frost free. If your soil is water logged, still
from the heavy rains wait till conditions are right for you. Parsnips ‘Tender
and True’ sown and covered with some enviromesh. This
is mainly to stop the fox digging them up as they can take up to 6 weeks to
germinate. I am also erecting the
support frames in readiness for peas tomatoes, beans etc.
March is a good month to make a start in the greenhouse, with peas
‘Hurst Greenshaft’, 5 peas to a 3 inch pot. Beetroot and Silver onions in cell trays. Lettuce
‘Little Gem’, cabbage ‘Greyhound’ and French Marigolds.
19th and the first day of Spring; and my early Plum Beauty is
now in full blossom, and thankfully no threat of frost so I am hopeful of a
good crop this year.
I am continuing to plant potatoes
with 2nd early ‘Foremost’ and will then carry on with main crop,
Desiree and Picasso. I have set myself the task of digging out some very matted
clumps of Grape Hyacinths which have seeded themselves and now becoming a
nuisance. The tiny bulbs spread everywhere.
In my cold greenhouse I am now sowing tomatoes but keeping an eye on
night temperatures as they do like warmth to germinate, keeping the fleece
handy to cover them should it be necessary; also sown Dwarf Green Curley Kale,
and Sweet corn Minipop which is the baby corn. I’ve
not grown sweet corn for a good many years because of the badgers but this one
usually ripens early and harvested before the tassels open. Fingers crossed for
some success again.
End of the month and the weather has turned really warm, and I have
planted out my onion sets which I started off in cell trays; peas, Hurst Green
Shaft, beetroot started off in cell trays, silver onions and Little Gem
lettuce. All have been covered with enviromesh but
don’t get caught out by Easter week-end temperatures will drop sharply again.
Easter week-end is proving to be lovely during the day but night
temperatures are still very low. Very tempting to plant out but my advice would
be to hold on for another week or so.
April is the month when most things can be sown
in the greenhouse now but with temperatures set to plummet again keep the
fleece handy to cover seedlings at night to protect from any frost. I am
potting on tomatoes now from their 3” pots to the larger 6”. They should have
reached a good size to safely plant in mid-May onwards. I am also thinking
ahead to the winter months for a good supply of vegetables and sown Dwarf Green
Curley Kale, and Savoy Cabbage. My ground is now too light for tall vegetables
like the Purple sprouting and Sprouts which need a
good firm ground.
Surprisingly we have had little rain now for some time so I am having to water my new strawberry and raspberry plants to
stop them drying out; also the Sweet Peas.
Wallflowers are coming into flower now, the bees are loving them
including the purple perennial one; they really do have a lovely scent; taking
over from the daffs which now need dead heading on a daily basis to stop them
going to seed. I also have some new Dahlias to plant out.
. . . .
Half way through the month and it is still very cold with very low
temperatures at night. Anything in an unheated greenhouse needs to be covered
with fleece for added protection from the frost. I am holding back planting out
my summer cabbage for another week and continuing to pot on where I can to keep
them going. Hand weed if you can to keep any moisture there is in. Do not mulch
till we have had a good amount of rain.
The blossom on the plum trees is beautiful now and if the bees do their
job it should be a good harvest. Prepare your Pheromone traps ready to hang
next month which will lure the male moths in plum and apple trees.
The month has started with some much needed rain, not enough but over
the Spring Bank Holiday more is forecast. The nights are still very cold so it
is best to err in the cautious side for planting anything very tender. I have
now planted the summer cabbage ‘Greyhound’, and Curley Kale, Dwarf green.
Asparagus is now starting and will need to be harvested regularly. Cut
the spears about 2 inches below the surface.
Fruit trees are glorious with their blossom and May is the time to be
thinking about hanging the Pheromnone Moth Traps up.
They lure the male moth but do not affect any beneficial insects. One trap will cover several trees.
Spring bulbs are going over now; they are best left to die back
naturally. Big clumps can be lifted, divided and replanted.
16th and we have had some much needed rain but still the
strong winds are causing some problems. I have now finished planting out
tomatoes, giving them as much protection as I can against the winds. Runner
Beans I have sown direct in the ground 2 beans per station. Some of the hardier
bedding plants like the Statice and French Marigolds
I have put out. The Geraniums I have found do not like the winds so keeping
them in the greenhouse for a little longer.
Try to keep on top of the weeding by hand or with the hoe. With the rain
now they are growing very fast and need to be dealt with before the seed.
I am harvesting asparagus and some lovely tender rhubarb to enjoy both
of them at their best.
After some welcome rain and some warm sunshine
the plot is now starting to come alive again, albeit a little late this year.
The last week in the month and we had very strong winds which almost
up-rooted my 2 pear trees. I managed to save them by removing some of the
heavier branches; tying in to some strong angle iron stakes, firming the roots
well in; and watering well to settle the soil around the roots again.
Summer has arrived at last; the Spring Bank holiday has given us some
glorious sunshine. Most of the tender
crops and seeds can be sown directly or planted out this month, including
tomatoes, squashes, peppers, beans, sweetcorn, carrots, beetroot and any
I have little left in the greenhouse now except for the leeks which I
will start plant next as the first potatoes come out and new Chrysanths which I will grow on a little more before
I was a little early setting out my tomato plants and they have suffered
from the cold winds in May but should recover. Potatoes may be ready for their
first earth up now.
I am still harvesting asparagus, rhubarb and now Little Gem lettuce and
15th of the month and we have had the hottest few days of the
year. Water only those plants that are starting to crop and really need it
giving them a good soak; hand weed if you can to avoid disturbing the soil to
keep as much moisture in. I have been cutting asparagus for 6 weeks so will now
leave it to make fern. This will encourage the crowns to produce a good crop
for next year. I have lifted my first early potatoes Pentland
Javlyn. To see if yours are ready dig gently around
the plant to see when they are large enough, about the size of a small chicken
egg is ideal. They will be delicious. Lift only as many as
you can use each time. Strawberries are ripening now, pick regularly
before the birds get to them. They can be protected with netting or hang old
CDs up to scare them off. Sweet Peas are giving a glorious show again and need
a good soak once a week, cut flowers regularly to keep them flowering.
Pentland Javlyn –
I have been busy having the house renovated that I’ve not spent as much
time at the allotment as I would have liked. With the warmth and heavy rains
everything seems to have taken off and grown. I have been able to keep on top
of picking the peas, made the final picking and taken the vines out.
Rejuvenated the soil with some good compost, a sprinkling of lime ready to
plant Purple Sprouting in a couple of weeks. Strawberries are still cropping
well and now producing quite a lot of runners; most of these I will remove but
a few I will peg down for new plants. When they have rooted can be cut from the
parent plant and potted up.
The summer pruning of plum and cherry trees can be carried out now and
not in the winter to avoid disease.
I have stopped cutting the Sweet Williams as they are dropping their
seeds when brought indoors but have left them for the bees to enjoy for a while
yet. I will soon have other flowers such as the Static to enjoy and I have also
planted 3 Alstroemeria. Looking forward very much to
these flowering as they were a gift.
In the greenhouse I have made the last sowing of beetroot in cell trays;
sown Sweet Williams,Wallflowers
and Lupins to plant out in September for a good
floral display next year.
Most of the summer vegetables are cropping well now and need to be
harvested regularly to enjoy at their best.
The new raspberry canes need tying in out of the way so the fruit can
still be picked before they get broken.
Blight is devastating the allotment site Bushell
Mill in Poole. Be on the alert for any signs. If you do, cut all foliage from
potatoes and tomatoes are best taken up and destroyed, it will spread very
quickly. Do not compost.
23rd the Blight has now reached Gosport
and I have lost all my tomatoes. Plants have been taken out and destroyed.
Canes burnt. Potatoes so far are okay but showing some signs and if we have the
heavy rain this week-end then it will soon spread. I have cut the haulms on
about half my crop so far in the hope I can save some.
Runner beans are now starting to crop and catching up with the French
beans. Looks like I am going to have both together this year. I have been
enjoying some very nice mini sweetcorn which I’ve not grown for a good many
years. Delighted the squirrels have yet to find them. I have planted out my last beetroot and
silver onions from modules. This should give me a good crop into the autumn.
27th My early purple raspberries are finished now, old
fruiting canes have been cut to the ground and the strongest new ones tied in
for next year.
reminder that this year the G.A.H. & G.A. will be holding their annual
Summer Show on Saturday 21st August at St Mary’s Parish Centre, Alverstoke; Show schedules are available at all allotment
stores, anyone can enter with an interest in gardening you don’t have to be an
allotment holder. The hall will be open from 8.OO am for exhibitors to prepare
and display. Judging is from 11.00 am – 12.15 pm when the hall will be open for
public viewing. The show is a fun day out for all the family. There will be
various interests going on in the garden, come along and cuddle a bunny, talk
to the bee man, watch a rustic trug being made etc.,
or enjoy a cuppa and listen to the music; Refreshments available.
Back on the plot the month has started with a very mixed bag of weather,
heavy rain but still very warm so the weeds are a priority to keep under
control. Where crops have been cleared, dig over and keep the hoe going to
chomp off the weeds below soil level before they get a chance to get a hold.
Beans have been slow this year but now the French and runners are cropping
well, keep picking to keep them going, give away is necessary. I have finished
digging my second early potatoes Foremost, these will
keep in store for several months. Potato
order forms for next year are available from your site stores,
I am now summer pruning the fruit trees, taking back the new soft growth
on apples and pears to 2 leaves. All of the summer flowers now need to be dead
August should be the month when we should be sitting back and enjoying
the plot and take time to maybe plan for next year, Make notes of what
varieties have done well and where you might plant next year. I am particularly
pleased with the mini sweetcorn which has produced several cobs on each plant,
delicious and crunchy eaten raw or can be added to stir fries etc. I will grow
20th and I am now
digging main crop potatoes, Pink Gypsy, Desiree and Picasso. All the haulms had
been cut down to avoid the blight and will not grow any more. All three have
produced some very sizable tubers. After digging I lay them out in the sun to
dry and harden their skins ready for storing. If rain is threatened then I put
them in the greenhouse for a day. Any damaged ones will need using quickly.
I am very pleased with the Alstroemeria I
planted in July they are now flowering well with the most gorgeous flowers I
can cut to enjoy at home.
They also won me a first prize in the Summer show, together with 4 more ‘first’s for cabbage,
beetroot, longest runner bean, and coloured potatoes; and second prize for
carrots and runner beans.
I am starting to empty my compost bin and spread the rotted compost on
all vacant ground; allowing the worms to do their job over winter and also
helps to supress the weeds.
Already it is much cooler and a feeling of autumn is in the air but with
no rain for some time now I have called a halt to the mulching till it has had
a good soaking. Old spent crops should be cleared now; keep on top of the weeds
hoeing through any vacant ground. Onion sets and shallots will soon be
available for planting now, get them in while the soil is still warm. Harvest
beans and courgettes, water well if you can to keep them cropping. Cabbage
white butterflies are about so make sure all brassicas are covered with a fine
netting to deter them. If they do get in they will lay their eggs and hatch
into caterpillars which should be picked over before they do too much damage.
Keep lifting main crop potatoes, drying for a few hours in the sun will harden
their skins for storing. Onions too need to be dried before storing. Only those
with thin necks will keep, use any others first.
Pick up fallen apples and pears and any you can’t use can be put on the
compost heap. Summer pruning should be finished this month.
All the flowers have given me enormous pleasure this year but to keep
them flowering they will need to be dead headed regularly particularly the
dahlias and chrysanths which should go on till the
Kings seed catalogues are now available at all the site stores, pick up
your copy and start planning for next year and take advantage of the very generous
16th of the month and because we have seen little or no rain
this month my parsnips have all run to seed. These I have been dug out and
disposed of. My first sowing of Runner Beans too have been taken out, they were
only producing very hard beans but the second sowing is now giving me some
really tender beans; there is some blackfly on them but I find I can control it
by rubbing them off.
Our stall at the Michaelmas Fayre, Alverstoke
was a great success, nice to be back again. Steve with his
usual fantastic display and the many donations of produce to sell and swell our
Early morning setting up the stall.
The month has started very wet and windy but I am continuing to clear
spent crops and tidy up where I can. I have harvested the last of the Runner
beans now. Still a few Finesse strawberries keep coming but the last of the
Raspberries have been picked and I have cut down the old fruiting canes and
tied in the new ones for next year’s crop.
Charles Ross Apples are doing well now, I pick when it will come away
from the tree in the cup of my hand and a gently twist. A good cooking apple
but also left to really ripen a nice crisp eater too.
The strong winds are not doing the flowers any favours. The Dahlias and Chrysanths are being blown down but still plenty of the
colour as we are now into autumn.
Onion sets, and broad beans are now available in the stores and a good
time to plant while the soil is still warm.
20th of the month and we are getting near to Halloween;
unfortunately some have had their Pumpkins removed and we would ask that you be
extra vigilant now and not leave anything around, such as wheel barrows and
steps that can be used either to scale the fences.
My pears, Conference and Concorde are starting to ripen now. I pick
while they are still hard and finish off in the greenhouse. It is hard to tell when
a pear is ripe as they ripen from the inside out. The Concorde will start to
turn a pale yellow and both I find will have a little give at the stem end but
it is really all hit and miss. Delicious when you get it right.
I have been using a rotted leaf mould on my flower beds this year to
mulch as I am sorry to say my usual supplier of horse manure after more than 35
years has now stopped delivering.
Continue to remove and compost any rotting brassica leaves.
I have shared a load of manure from another supplier at Wickham, this has now topped up my compost bins nicely and
will be ready for use in the spring. The weather has turned noticeably colder
and wetter; as conditions allow finish harvesting potatoes and while soil is
still warm sow onion sets, garlic and broad beans. Bare rooted soft fruit
plants should be arriving this month so make sure beds are well prepared and
weed free ready for planting. I have now harvested all my pears as the
squirrels are getting to them. I have laid them out in the greenhouse to ripen.
A sunny window sill will do just as well.
19th and we are having some very mild days, I have been given some wood
ash which I have spread over most of my beds and will leave it for the rains to
wash in over winter. I am gradually taking down my 8ft canes that I have used
for beans and sweet peas; I am finding them too tall for me now and changing to
6ft. (I must be shrinking). Also because of the blight in the summer will be
moving my tomato frames too.
Have enjoyed building a log pile for the bees and insects to shelter in
over winter; will be adding some bundles of hollowed out canes and pine cones
November has ended bitterly cold but I have managed to plant up my new
strawberry bed with ‘Elsanta’ bare rooted plants.
Our thoughts are turning to Christmas now; I have once again hung my
wreath on the shed door, replacing with new Bay foliage. Fallen apples I have
cored and hung in the trees for the birds to enjoy. Keep any bird baths free
from ice if you can and top up with fresh water. Keep bird seed feeders clean.
On the plot any bare rooted trees/canes/plants can be planted now as
long as the ground isn’t frozen. Continue to dig over vacant ground but leave
in clods for the winter weather to break it down. Gather up fallen leaves to
compost or make leaf mould.
Covid restrictions have been easier this year but the Lottie is still my
life-saver and has been a great place to be again this year; The Association
has enjoyed some interesting trips out to Wisley and
Windsor Castle and it was good to be able to have our two Shows back
again. On the plot the blight caused
most of us to lose tomatoes although the potato crop was fantastic. For the
first year I can remember all my parsnips ran to seed and I can only think it
was lack of water due to the long dry spell earlier in the year. Runner Beans
were not the best but again I think lack of regular watering was the problem.
Otherwise I have no complaints, soft and tree fruit both cropped well, flowers
gave a beautiful colourful display for most of the year. Vegetables have
supplied me well for my needs and I am still harvesting, leeks, celeriac,
carrots and savoy cabbage. With potatoes and onions in store. Water buts have all been topped up and manure
delivered so I am now eagerly awaiting spring to get
A reminder that subscriptions are now
due for renewal and can be obtained at any of the site stores.
It only remains for me to wish you all a very Happy and Healthy
Christmas and look forward to seeing you back on the plot in 2022. Stay Safe.
Finally, this little chap has now met his demise. He has been living in
my shed for some time and while I didn’t like resorting to drastic measures
couldn’t put up with the trail of destruction and droppings any more.