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A View from the Allotments
For the first time I did not grow a pumpkin; so I made a mini Halloween lantern from a 4”Decorative Gourd and a tea light for the FoGH Halloween party.
The leeks are a good size, despite this year of funny weather. The sweet peas were eventually excellent, both to look at and smell and lasted well into October.
I have bought and planted seed for next year and collected seed from the old plants for next year. I have managed get the plot dug from top to bottom, and got in some Onion sets and Broad Beans, as last year I had beans in flower for Christmas! I am hoping for a more typical winter and good early spring crops.
Previously on the Allotments...
Despite a year of confusing weather that has been great for slugs, snails and weeds, I am digging potatoes, not a bad harvest. The runner beans are providing a small, tasty crop; the sweet peas are flourishing and the sunflowers are trying to make a show. The weather, a visit from thieves and the threat of a massive rent increase has dampened some people’s enthusiasm.
I have just set strawberry runners into small pots for more plants next year, always an optimist! I must weed the leeks they are looking good and are welcome crop in deepest winter. The green house has been wrapped in plastic, following a massive loss of glass, and has yielded a one pound beef steak tomato. If it was easy it would not be fun!
It has been a year of change, a warm early winter, but cold and wet spring. What to plant when? Allotments are now invited into Tunbridge Wells in Bloom. So it’s extra sunflowers, some dahlias and a second late planting of soft vegetables to compensate for late frosts.
The weeds are enjoying the heat wave but everything else is growing well. At present, I am only cropping herbs (mint, parsley and chives) and the tail end of the leeks and spinach. The rhubarb is finishing but the strawberries are looking very good. I need to water every day and keep a very close watch on the tomatoes.
And cutting the grass is a major job.
Then we have the council’s threat to double rents next year. Forget the stability of the seasons, do you bite the bullet and pay or walk away from years of work. The e-petition against this gross rent doubling is up and running at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34245
The sudden cold snap has, I hope, hit the over wintering pests hard, sadly it will also have reduced the predators. But it will break the dormancy of the weed seeds and make the start of spring all the more sudden and urgent. Those of us who managed to complete the autumn clean up and digging can look forward to raking down good seed beds and a clean start to a year of growing.
The seed order has arrived, the crop rotation is planned and the new growing season is about to begin! Let’s hope for a slug free 2012, with a warm damp spring and a drought free summer.
The allotments are popular with the deer who enjoy strawberry leaves and the fresh young shoots of fruit trees and raspberries. The squirrel has taken to planting acorns amongst my potatoes. The tree cover at the edge of the plots is visited by both native and migrant birds, with cross bills and redpolls noted last year.”
There is one community allotment plot run by Transition Tunbridge Wells, where they spotted a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on their plot last year. If you would like to join their work group, look at ttwells.ning.com
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