This Spring was unseasonably warm with hardly any frosts. This resulted in many of you starting to plant out crops ahead of when this normally would happen. Especially those crops that are very susceptible to frosts. As a result some unexpected (though not unseasonal) hard frosts towards the end of April did severe damage to those crops, if not killing them off completely, with the result that replacements had to be obtained. Do not feel though that the frost only selected you, many apple orchards, vineyards and soft fruit farms around the area also were very badly hit. This year is very unlikely to be a good one for those products.
Whilst we have global warming it needs to be remembered that snow has been known to fall and lay around almost to the end of April. In addition frosts can even occur as late as even the end of May. So do not get lulled into a false sense of security, that just because it is warm, and that there will be no more nasty weather. Mother Nature is a most unpredictable bed fellow and just when you think everything is going to be fine, expect a curved ball to undo all that hard work in your allotment/garden.
Frost can affect many plants, and is particularly damaging to tender new growth and blossom in the spring. The risks of frost damage can be reduced by taking some simple steps to protect the plants in your allotment and/or garden.
Prevention of damage
There are a number of ways to keep your plants safe during cold weather;
Treatment of damage
As most gardeners will testify, it is easy to be caught out by frost. And sometimes frost damage is simply unavoidable. When damaged has occurred, what should be done?
Important: Do not automatically give up on a plant that has been frost damaged. Many plants can be surprisingly resilient and may well rejuvenate from dormant buds at or below soil level. This takes time and patience on your parts as recovery may not be seen until early summer. If the plant is of high value or it is not essential to fill the gap, consider leaving the damaged plant in the ground until mid-summer. If no re-growth has appeared by then, replace the plant.
For full information go the Royal Horticultural Society Website
In addition growing challenges have also been further compounded by what has been the driest winter and spring for nearly 20 years. There is already talk of a possible hosepipe ban and other restrictions. So what can you do to save water and ensure that your crops have sufficient water. However by the time you receive this everything may have changed and you may be wondering where you can find a boat!
Water and Saving
Water is vital to the life of your garden and allotment. Unfortunately gardeners often waste this precious resource. Whether your area is suffering from a drought or not, try to follow these guidelines to cut down on water usage without losing your garden's beauty and allotments capacity for producing your produce.
Water deeply, making sure to soak the root zone rather than the whole area with just a fine spray.
Mulch your garden and allotment regularly this helps to lock in soil moisture.
Some of you have raised vegetable bed on your allotment, so closely space the plants in your raised vegetable beds so there is less area to water, but be sure to provide enough room for root development.
There was a recent email asking ALL Allotment Holders if they would be interested in being able to order their seeds through the Allotment Association with Marshalls. If enough people are interested, the resulting bulk ordering would offer very competitive prices, on their published prices. We would be looking to start this for the 2018 season, so first orders would be about November this year.
If you are interested please can you let Tanya in the Parish Council know via email
or if you have any comments to make.
If you are interested please do respond, as soon as possible, so we may gauge the interest and see whether it is a viable option.
If you do not respond now, then we will have to assume that you are not interested.
Most of you are keeping the their paths around their Allotment Garden mowed and clear from weeds and overgrowing plants and all obstructions. Thank you.
Unfortunately some are not, please can you do so, it has unfortunately, become necessary for it to be included within the inspections that occur.
You may ask “Why, do I have to keep the paths and edges maintained around my Allotment?”
By not keeping them free from weeds it allows the weeds to grow and flourish and spread their seeds, thereby undoing the hard work, not just on your own allotment, but also that of your neighbours.
Yes we could ask the council to ensure that all paths around the allotments are also cut periodically by contractors. This though would result in:-
i) An increase in rent to cover the additional grass cutting work that would now be required.
ii) Those Allotment Holders with plots that have fruit cages or similar finding that they may have been unintentionally damaged when the contractors have been cutting the paths and edges. A strimmer/brush cutter does not distinguish between a plant/weed and netting.
iii) Additional Management.
Some of you have already discovered that Allotment inspections have started again this year with one very noticeable difference. You do not automatically start with a clean slate this year as had been inclined to happen in the past years. If you received a letter last year and your allotment does not meet the relevant criteria this year, then you will be receiving letters much quicker than in previous years. The reason for this is that the Parish Council having been 'once bitten is now most decidedly 'twice shy' and has taken a firm line by providing clear definitions in the agreement, by instituting a deposit scheme and has continued this firm line with plots that do not comply. However it was very pleasing to see that the majority of plots are being maintained in a very worth while manner.
With increased activity down the Allotment it is tempting to leave your tools and other utensils that one finds useful in your shed or greenhouse if you should have one. Unfortunately, there are from time to time break-ins at the Allotments to the Plot holder sheds. Please do not keep anything of value on your allotment/in your sheds. In the event of a break-in it is the Plot holders’ responsibility to phone the police on 101 and report the crime.
The Compost Area is only for green waste generated from your allotment. It is not for green waste that is produced elsewhere. i.e. Your Home.
Should there be any wood from tree prunings or old pallets or stakes etc. on your allotment that you wish to get rid off please put this on the bonfire area to be burnt. Not the Compost Area
Please do not bring any form of rubble (sand/cement/concrete etc.) for use as hardcore onto the allotment. Some has recently been deposited down near the Compost Area. This area suffers from flooding and as such has had an implemented design to try and act as a soak-a-way to allow the water to drain away. Adding additional materials will only have an adverse effect.
Should you see anyone depositing rubbish then please do contact a Committee Member with details, including the vehicle registration number so that they can follow it up.