Having recently returned from a trip to northern Spain in search of wildlife, I thought fellow allotmenteers would like to see some Spanish style allotments. We were in the Cantabrian Mountains which, on their north face, are green and Atlantic facing. It is surprisingly similar to home. The mountain slopes were covered with oak and beech woods. Our first stay was in this area and we spent an evening looking for bears near the village where we were staying. Along the side of the lane, which we had walked up to view the opposite slope where bears had recently been seen, was an allotment of a kind, possibly just one person’s vegetable garden but quite large.
Being in the mountains they had a poly tunnel as well. There were squashes, fruit trees, climbing beans, brassicas and tomatoes. While we stood and watched in vain to see a bear a local passed by and told our leader that a bear had eaten his plums and figs a day or two before. They had been walking up the road when it was still enjoying the figs! The fig tree was alongside us and had a broken branch which seemed to back up his story. Better evidence was found the next day as we walked the same area –
Yes it is a pile of bear dung full of plum stones and figs! Whilst we didn’t see bears at this site we were lucky the following two days higher up the valley. On the same path there was a spring where we found the largest black slugs I have ever seen probably three times the size of any we have in Wales.
On the south facing slopes the hotter Mediterranean influence is clear. It was much drier and hotter, abnormally so for September hitting 35 centigrade in the afternoons. It was possible to grow peppers and tomatoes outside but even here there were poly tunnels, some homemade. Apparently there can be 3 foot of snow even in April. In this area there are also bears but fewer. We were in that area to see wolves and again we had good and thankfully distant views on two days. This was much higher in the mountains from where we were staying but they do come along the track between the cottages and the allotments below-
There were leeks, potatoes, climbing beans planted in a block rather than in rows, and chickpeas.
We may complain about the rabbits the slugs and other pests but the idea of having the plot raided by bears or meeting a passing wolf on the way to the plot puts it into perspective!
Dave Jones – September 2016
The Kings Seeds catalogue is now available for you to view and place your order. As before, links to the various sections are listed below, together with the order form. Orders need to be decided by the end of October, so that I can place the order early November for delivery before Christmas. You do not need to add the individual packing charge of £1.00 or complete payment details on the order form. Please let me have your payment with order, cheques payable to Dynevor Gardening Association.
Any queries or problems please let me know.
Allotment owners in Cardiff are encouraged to be extra vigilant following a number of incidents across the city.
In the past week allotments have been targeted by vandals in Gabalfa, Fairwater and Whitchurch.
Incidents occurred overnight between Tuesday, 6th August and Wednesday, 7th August, 2016.
There is nothing that links the incidents which have occurred in different areas.
Crime Reduction officer, Pc Antony Parker, said: “People put a lot of work into their allotments and it can be heart breaking when they are targeted in this way by mindless vandals.
“We know that the hinges were taken off some sheds on the allotments, so we advise the use of back plates and threaded coach bolts should be used to prevent break-ins.
“Building relationships with other allotment owners too can encourage a sense of community and improve information sharing about suspicious incidents.”
Anybody who does have information can contact South Wales Police via 101 quoting ref: 343526 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
Please click here to access the latest ‘turning pages’ version of the Allotment magazine
Autumn is here again and one of the busy times of the year – looking back and deciding what grew well and is worth planting again; finding out new varieties to try; failures to write off.
And thinking of what to grow next year, the Kings catalogue has just been delivered. It will be scanned and posted on the web in the next week or so.
There is still plenty to do on the veg plot – lots of crops to harvest, ground to be prepared, and some early sowing opportunities, such as broad beans, peas and onion and shallot sets.
Don’t forget the fruit garden, you will probably have seen Monty Don pruning his summer raspberries on Gardeners World last week – all old canes should be cut down to the base and new (green) canes tied in. It is not too late to prune trained fruit trees such as espaliers etc.
If you get any free time from the allotment, don’t neglect the flower garden; take cuttings of tender perennials to make sure you have plants for next year, and one of the most exciting jobs – collecting seed from all your favourite flowers and store for sowing in the spring. You can also start to sow hardy annuals (such as nigella, cornflowers and poppies) which will over-winter and give you a head start next spring.
And don’t forget the most important task for September – Pentyrch Horticultural Show on Saturday – have a go and enter some veg, flowers or baking, but as a minimum go along and support the Show, have a natter with fellow gardeners and enjoy a cup of tea and cake – SEE YOU THERE!