Happy St David’s Day – it seems that Spring is definitely approaching, lovely sunshine over the last week or so, lots of spring flowers, and even the sound of a lawnmower or two. A look around the plot also confirms this, lots of preparation work being carried out, and some early crops being sown.
A busy month ahead, so a few suggestions to get you started; lots of crops can be sown now – runner, French and broad beans, peas and courgettes can all be brought on indoor in seed trays and planted out later when it warms up a bit. Some early carrots, beetroot, and other root veg can be sown direct; you can cover the soil for a couple of days to warm it up before sowing the seeds, and you may like to cover with a cloche to help germination. Early potatoes can be planted later in the month, hopefully they have all sprouted well. Also a reminder to sow some extra seeds in anticipation of a plant sale day which the Social Committee are planning for May.
If you ordered asparagus crown from Kings, they should be delivered this month, so I hope you have prepared your planting beds. I have two rules for asparagus – keep them well fed, and weed free – seems to work for me.
Don’t forget to plan some flowers on the plot – not just for the cheerful feel-good factor, but also to attract pollinators.
Finally a reminder that plot fees are due by the end of March; payment to the Treasurer (cash or cheque) or by bank transfer.
I always start to feel optimistic in February – all those seeds to sow and lots of anticipation, what will do well this year, what’s new, and of course plenty of ‘old favourites’. The seed potatoes from Kings Seeds have now been delivered, so you should all be chitting your potatoes.
I have already started sowing seeds in the greenhouse with good germination of leeks, red onions and shallots, as well as plenty of flowers yet to show.
As soon as the weather improves we can continue to prepare our plots, cultivating the soil and keeping on top of the weeds. There are still a few crops to harvest, such as parsnips, leeks, and sprouts. You can also plant new rhubarb crowns, and also prune autumn fruiting raspberry canes.
We usually hold our AGM during February, but obviously are unable to do so this year. I will therefore be sending you all an ‘Annual Report’ to keep you updated on all things allotment – this will also include any planned social events, and our annual accounts.
Well we won’t forget 2020 in a hurry – first there was Storm Dennis and the wettest February on record; this was followed by a hot dry spell and the driest May on record. But the weather is always unpredictable and challenges us gardeners.
There were also a couple of other news items during the year – Covid and Brexit – but we’ve all heard enough about both topics.
So back to the serious topic of growing veg, and I think we have all had a successful year; with more time to spend on the plot, the allotment is looking tidy and very productive. We’ve welcomed seven new plotholders and their families and the waiting list is at an all-time high of 25. New gardeners bring new ideas, and it is good to see a new polytunnel, a couple of sheds, and of course different and varied crops. This was reflected in the Kings Seeds order which was treble the ‘regular’ order so it will be interesting to see what does well next year, and maybe we can all pick up a few tips and try something new – I will certainly be walking the plot and chatting to fellow allotmenteers about their successes (and failures).
So 2021 – I am not going to suggest ‘top tasks’ for January, but will say let’s keep the momentum going, keep growing, stay fit and healthy and enjoy the allotment.
Last month of the year, and what a year – I don’t think we will forget 2020 in a hurry.
Although there are still Covid restrictions, I am pleased that we can still visit the allotments and work on the plot. I see that many of you are well prepared for the winter months with the plots looking tidy and ready for next year’s planting and cultivation. We have also had two loads of woodchip delivered so that paths and other areas can be refreshed with new woodchip.
As I am sure you will appreciate Kings Seeds are exceptionally busy with orders, and their anticipated delivery was 5-6 weeks from receipt of order (which was 31 October) so I hope we will receive our orders before Christmas – obviously I will keep you updated.
Lots of winter veg on the plot, all looking good and ready for Christmas Day so I hope you all enjoy your produce – that hard work was worth it!