NOTES FROM THE ALLOTMENTS

August 26, 2017

As many of you know Angela Hoy has left the village to move to Vancouver and that is a real loss to the village.

Not only did she write the allotment notes, but she worked at the Post Office with Karen, she baked amazing granary loaves, helped run the veggie stall on a Saturday morning, and probably did loads more I should think. So I am afraid you have me writing the allotment notes from now on!!!

It’s been a funny old summer. Back in April/May it was very dry and I spent a lot of time trying to get crops to germinate. I am always the optimist and plant things way too early. They normally get hammered by a late frost but this year with a bit of judicious watering and a fleece covering, they mainly survived. Also, because it was hot and dry, the slug and snail populations were very low, so the normal mass attack by the slimy critters didn’t occur this spring. The nasty slug killer Metaldehyde is a common chemical pellet to kill the beasties, but this is very toxic to birds, and who knows what effect they have on humans (not good I suspect). So an alternative is Ferric Phosphate, (sold as Sluggo). It’s harmless to birds and humans!! (Although kills/discourages the slugs etc). Also, as it breaks down, the released phosphorus can act as a fertilizer.

One of the great things about the warm spring was the rapid growth of asparagus. It came hurtling up in early/mid May and was growing so fast that it outran the asparagus beetle, a beautiful orange and grey armour plated beastie. The beetle seems to appear as if by magic, but picking the asparagus after 2 or 3 days of rapid growth, meant I could get to the asparagus before the beetle. It was such a delicious veggie treat.

One of the great things about an allotment is taking your kids or grandkids down. They normally ravage the raspberries, or any berries, but they learn a lot. I was teaching Elliot (aged 4) to plant broad beans, and he was dabbling around with the dibber when I said ‘put your back into it Elliot, they need to be deeper than that’. He then had a good dig and planted 2 rows perfectly. The funny thing was he was down on the beach in Cornwall about 3 weeks later. His Dad was digging a hole in  the sand in a rather lack lustre way and Elliot said ‘ Oh Dad, put your back into it ’—which had his parents rolling around on the sand in laughter, startled by the turn of phrase in a 4 year old. So I recommend you take your kids down there for a bit of alternative education. Paul Whitehead