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Welcome to another year
on the plot, I find it hard to believe I am still here
† looking forward to
Spring once again and eager to get started;
Learning to live with Covid restrictions it is a blessing
we can still enjoy our plots.†
2022 arrived still very wet and mild.
Spring bulbs are well up now and it is tempting to want to get planting and
sowing but best to err on the side of caution. Seed potatoes are now in the
garden centres and can be laid out in a frost free light place to chit. Egg
boxes or cell trays are ideal for this. (orders from
the stores will be with us soon)† Onions
sets too are available but best to plant in cell trays to give them a head
start and protection should the weather suddenly change. Still plenty of time
to plant bare rooted fruit trees provided soil is not water logged or
frozen.† Spend some time in the
greenhouse making sure trays, pots, tools etc. are clean and ready for use;
check watering cans for any snails that will overwinter in them. March is
really the earliest I will start any seed sowing in the greenhouse and April
This very pretty Lichen
is growing on my old plum tree where I hang the bird feeders. So pleased I
decided not to have it cut down.
Memberships are now due for renewal
and can be obtained at any of the site stores to continue to receive the
benefits of cheaper seeds, seed potatoes, fruit trees and soft fruit etc. also
a good selection of gardening sundries all at cheaper prices on hand for when
you need them.
The month has ended with little or no
rain this month so I have been able to get all my frames erected ready for use
later in the year and repaired edgings.
Seed potato orders are now ready for
collection from your stores. If you failed to order then there are spares
available. Lay them out in a frost free light place to chit (to produce shoots), egg boxes or cell trays are good for this. I put mine in
the greenhouse but keep an eye on the night temperature and cover with fleece
or newspaper if there is a threat of frost.†
Onion sets can be started off in cell trays if you can give them some
protection if not wait till next month.
Finish any winter digging this month,
plant bare rooted fruit trees and remove all perennial weeds.
Sweet Peas I have been growing in the
greenhouse are now getting a bit leggy so I have pinched the tops out to allow
plants to bush out.
Week-end of the 19th/20th,
storm Eunice hit us very badly. Extensive damage was caused to allotment plots
across the south. Greenhouse next to me was completely wrecked. Apart from a
couple of water butts lids that went missing I suffered no actual damage.
Usually we are flooded this time of the year but this time it is the strong
winds causing so much devastation.
The month has started quiet weather-wise
and it is very tempting to get ahead with seed sowing and planting but it is
early days yet and March/April can throw just about everything at us. Some
things like onion and shallot sets can be planted now; make sure the tips are
just below to surface to avoid the birds pulling them out. I have made a start
with the first early potatoes; setting them in a good spade depth, earthed well
up and mulched; then if there is any frost they wonít come to any harm.
Sowings can now be made in the greenhouse
or on a sunny window sill, such as peas, cabbage, beetroot, spring onions,
lettuce, leeks, and celeriac. I would wait till the end of the month before
sowing squashes and tomatoes and French beans. Runners I always leave till May
and plant direct in the soil. I have been growing Sweet Peas in pots in the
greenhouse and they are now ready for planting out but there is still plenty of
time to sow more seed.
The plot is starting to come alive
again with all the spring bulbs and the early plum blossom.†
Keep on top of any weeding now, make
any final repairs and prepare beds ready for sowing and planting out next
month. Make sure watering cans are free from any snails which love to
overwinter in the spouts. I am also continuing to feed the birds.
24th of the month, and this
last week it has been such lovely sunny warm days it has been tempting to get
on and start to plant out but the nights are still cold and it is best to err
on the side of caution. This is so unusual too be so warm during the day.
Continue to plant potatoes and onion
sets and I have made a sowing of parsnip.
There is plenty to be done in the
greenhouse where seedlings have germinated they can be potted on but keep the
fleece handy for the cold nights.
Clumps of snowdrops can be split now
to increase their show for next year. Dig up clumps and divide into 2 or 3
pieces and replant. Then leave the foliage to die down naturally, the same with
all spring bulbs; donít cut or tie the foliage. The allotments really are
looking lovely now with all the daffs, and other spring flowers. The bees are
humming doing their job.
The sudden drop in temperatures after such
a lovely warm spell, will warn us that even up to end of April it can still be
too cold to start to plant out or sow direct. Keep your plants and seedlings
under wraps for now, cover with fleece at night for extra protection.
Dead head spring flowers to keep them
from running to seed. This will encourage more flowers to form.†
Easter week-end and it has turned very
warm again. The soil is now very dry and we desperately need some rain. Try to
avoid disturbing it if you can and hand weed. I would still err on the side of
caution before planting out tender crops. Potatoes and onions can still be
planted this month, as can broad beans and peas. Summer cabbage will need
protection from the birds.†
Those of us who planted potatoes early
will be finding the tops just coming through, give them an earth up to cover
just in case there is a late frost.
Plenty to do in the greenhouse now; I
am making further sowings of beetroot, Silver onions, baby sweet corn, lettuce,
Winter crops such as Kale, Purple
sprouting, sprouts and Chard can also be sown now. As can all the summer
bedding such as French Marigolds and Statice.
Celeriac is now large enough to handle and ready to pot on into 3Ē pots.
Tomatoes too, planted up to their seed leaves.
I have trimmed and given my curry
plants a haircut. They tend to be like lavender and get a bit straggly. Have
taken some cuttings, not sure if it is the right time of year but if I can get
them to root may be next year I will replace them with new plants.
The bees are loving
the wallflowers now which are giving some glorious colour. They never fail to
please. Well worth growing but wait till June/July before sowing seeds.
Bank holiday week-end has turned very
cloudy with a little rain, nowhere near enough to help our parched dry soil. I
am trying not to disturb the soil and only watering down the plants that need
it to retain as much moisture as I can. Most plants will survive if their roots
are allowed to go down to find it, water too often and they will come to the
surface getting burned in the heat.
This is the month when we can sow and
plant out most things, I have already planted tomatoes as they were getting too
big for the greenhouse and donít seem to have suffered at all. French beans
also. Courgettes and all the squashes can be sown now. 2 seeds to 3ď pot. Continue to sow lettuce, beetroot, spring
onions in cell trays for a continuous supply. And looking
ahead to winter crops, Savoy cabbage.†
Tie in Sweet peas to encourage them to climb till established.
On the fruit plot, strawberries are coming into flower once the fruit
has set they can be watered well.† 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
I am digging out old raspberry canes which have not made any new growth
this year. Not sure why but the roots have rotted. I donít plan on replacing
them as I still have the purple raspberry, although smaller fruits are
In the greenhouse, potting on is almost a full time job, leeks, sweet
corn, celeriac and all the summer bedding plants.
I am now harvesting asparagus spears every other day, cutting about 2Ē
below the surface of the soil to keep them cropping for about the next 6
10th of May and after the longest dry spell I can remember it
has been a drizzly morning but nowhere near enough rain to refill water butts
let alone dampen the soil. But plants are surviving and here is just 3 of the
plot taken yesterday to show you; Sweet peas just coming into flower and the
Wallflowers still going strong.
Jubilee week and we are still in desperate need of rain. The asparagus
is now coming to its end with lack of water I will now leave it to grow and
make fern to feed the crowns for next year; then in October it will be cut to
the ground and given a good mulch for the winter.† Wallflowers are now finished and have been
cleared away to make way for planting out the leeks. I have sown runner beans
direct in the ground and made a further sowing of carrots and beetroot.
Tomatoes need to have their side shoots removed regularly now and tied in to
the supports. Tiny fruits are starting to form and this is the time to start
some regularly watering about once a week should be sufficient.
I have dug my first new potatoes Pentland Javlyn; donít dig more than is needed for that day to enjoy
them at their best. Also I have Greyhound pointy cabbage, spring onions,
lettuce, carrots, strawberries and rhubarb.†
I was very disappointed with the Italian Beetroot Chioggia, pale pink
and I found to be tasteless compared with the deep red varieties. I wonít grow
I am cutting back some of the new growth on the cherry and plum trees.
If you have fruits forming then now is the time to protect from the birds with
18th and we have had a very hot few days, now turning humid
and thundery. Soil is so dry everywhere again, water
only those crops that are producing now. I have peas filling out and have
picked the last of the broad beans. Tomatoes are forming and will need
regularly watering about once a week with a good soaking.† Our resident fox is being more than a
nuisance, he can smell water I am sure and bulldozes
along the rows where I have watered. So many plants have been dug up. There are
only just so many times I can keep putting them back.
Turning my thoughts to next year, I am sowing seeds in the greenhouse to
flower next spring and summer. Wallflowers, Lupins, Sweet Williams and Foxgloves. It is too hot
in the greenhouse at the moment so I am leaving the seed trays outside for now
with a lid on top to†
protect from cats etc.
Sweet peas are flowering well but do need their blooms to be cut
regularly to keep them flowering.†
July and the long drought continues; with the strong winds drying what
little rain we have had, plants are really suffering now. My sweet peas have
the mildew and running to seed so they will be coming out and composting.
Tomatoes are looking good, with one ripening the others soon to follow. Spring
cabbage is finished and Iíve cleared the ground to plant out the 3rd sowing of
beetroot which I started off in cell trays. French beans are slow this year but
have just started to flower. Runners too are slow but now starting to
climb.† I am very pleased with some bulb
Fennel and am growing this year and have just harvested the first bulbs
together with the first of the baby sweet corn; courgettes not so good through
lack of water but canít complain at the potatoes an excellent first and second
The birds are taking the soft fruit, black and red currants gooseberries
and raspberries. My early blackberry is fruiting well so they are leaving me
something. My strawberries are finished now so I have given the plants a good
haircut and removed all the runners as I donít want any new plants but these
can be pegged down and when rooted, potted up.†
When we have had a significant amount of rain I will then mulch them
well for the winter.
Fennel, baby sweet corn and courgettes fresh from the plot.
The month is coming to an end, still hot and dry. The only really good
thing to say is I have been able to dry my onions in full sun and they are now
ready for storing. I have decided to do those with thin necks on strings.
Something Iíve not done for quite a few years now. But they will keep well, and
take up less space for storing. It is easy to plait on to a loop of strong
string, hang the loop from a hook or nail, tie a large onion to the bottom
twisting the neck in a figure of 8, add more onions in the same way till the
required amount is reached. Hang in a light frost free place.
Tomatoes are also enjoying the sunny
weather and ripening very quickly now.† I am removing the lower leaves to expose the
fruit and aid ripening. Careful watering is needed now, too much all at once
and the skins will split.
The long hot dry spell continues; I am concentrating on keeping the
French beans going and concentrating on one crop at a time to soak as much as
possible.† I now need to plant out for
next year, Lupins and Wallflowers which are getting
too big for their 3 inch pots. I have taken out a trench, filled with water and
allowed to drain twice before setting the plants in, watering well and covering
with dry soil to keep as much moisture in as possible. I hope this will give
them a head start till we have that much needed rain.
reminder it is the G.A.H. & G. A. summer show on the 20th
August, at the Alverstoke Village Hall; show schedules are available
at all allotment stores, with classes for all age groups. The hall will be open
from 8 am to 10.30 to display your exhibits, closing for judging then reopen to
the public from 12.15. Entry is free; do come along to see what we do. Light
refreshments available.† All are very
12th of the month and finally had to give in the French beans
are really not worth the time and effort in watering so have decided to take
them out and concentrate on the one good Runner Bean I have left, which is
producing some nice tender beans. Lettuce is bolting in the heat.† I do still have some nice carrots and
beetroot. Main drop potatoes have been exceptionally good; all the foliage had
died down; the tubers were a good size and dry so they are now all lifted and
in store in hessian sacks for winter use.†
Tomatoes too have loved the hot sunshine and so many are now ripening
quicker than I can use them.
A very good day was had by all at the Summer Show. The tables were laden
with some surprisingly good produce considering what a difficult year it has
been and the numbers of visitors exceeded our expectations.† I came away with 3 firsts and a 3rd,
so well pleased. We now look forward to the Pumpkin and Produce show in
Back on the plot, autumn is coming early, leaves are dropping from the
trees and plants going over, flowers have been particularly hard hit as the
drought continues. And so many like the Phlox, I am just
having to cut back and hope the plants will recover for next year.
Tomatoes have finally finished, plants taken up and composted although my
compost heap is very dry and needs to be well watered before I add too much.
Strawberries need to have their final hair cut,
clean all the dead growth from them and remove any runners if not needed for
new plants. A good watering if you can and then a mulch
is all they need to see them through the winter.
22nd and a reminder the G.A.H, & G. Association will be holding
their annual stall at the Michaelmas Fayre in Alverstoke
on Saturday 24th. They will be selling a range of fruit vegetables,
plants and flowers grown by the allotment holders. Do come along I am sure you
will find some goodies to buy at reasonable prices and help to support us once
again. It is our main fund raising event.
A very god day was had, all thanks to Steve our chairman who provided
all the produce for the display and of course, our grateful thanks to the
members for supplying us with sufficient produce to sell and raise over £500.
The month has ended with some very welcome rain.
Autumn is now with us and the temperatures are much cooler. Those of us
that put our runner beans in late are now harvesting a very nice tender crop.
They should go on well till the end of the month provided we have no frosts.
They really didnít like the hot temperatures of the summer months.
Winter vegetables like the celeriac, parsnips, carrots and cabbage are
all making good growth now.† All
brassicas benefit from removing any dead and dying leaves to avoid any disease.
Continue to remove the lower leaves on Celeriac too. I am removing any spent
crops to the compost bin and also making sure the ground is kept weed free till
we have had sufficient rain for me to start to cover all vacant soil with a
layer of rotted compost for the winter. I do not grow winter onion now but it
is a good time to get them planted while the soil is nice and warm to give them
a good start. Garlic too can be planted now.
Apples and pears unfortunately have suffered with Brown Rot this year so
they will need to be gathered up and any left on the tree disposed of.
This month the asparagus fern will start to turn a bronze colour. Time
then to cut it completely to the ground, hand weed and give it a good mulch of well rotted compost and a dressing of wood ash if you have
I have taken delivery of a small load of manure to add to my now almost
empty compost bins. I shall have several more† over winter for use in the spring and
I will continue to add all my green waste to layer as well.
Continue to plant Autumn onion sets while the
soil is still warm to get them established. Garlic and Broad beans also.
Pears have been disappointing this year the Conference was badly damaged
in the strong winds so I have had that one cut down. My one remaining tree the
Concorde I hope will continue to crop better again next year. Soft fruit can be
pruned now, Black and red currants and Gooseberries. Summer fruiting
Raspberries, the old canes need to be cut right down and select the strongest
the new ones to tie in and support for next year. Autumn fruiting Raspberries
can be left till the \new Year when they should all be cut to the ground.† New canes and plants can be planted from now
on provided the ground isnít water logged or frozen.
23rd of the month and the rain continues relentlessly. The
plot is now flooded making it impossible to get on the plot. Fortunately my
beds are raised high enough for the remaining vegetables not to rot. Savoy
cabbage, carrots, celeriac, leeks and parsnips are all still holding their own.
I have decided the time has come for me to give up writing my Dairies
and to that effect as of now there will be no further updates.
I have made many friends over the years and enjoyed doing it and hope it
has given some would-be allotment gardeners inspiration to dust of their
gardening gloves and have a go. The website will remain in place for the
I can still be found beavering away on my plots and would always be
pleased to hear from anyone who would care to write. My contact details can be
found on the Home Page
Many thanks to you all for your support. I hope you continue to enjoy your gardening however big or small your
With best Wishes,