NOTES FROM THE ALLOTMENT

July 14, 2017

One thing you can always say about our weather, it is never dull!

This last month it has ranged from cold and rainy to extremely windy and now we are in a heatwave to rival 1976! Watering has been a chore, but just think what it does to tone the upper arms!

The high winds had a detrimental effect on our cunning idea of planting seedlings through holes in black membrane, to retain moisture and discourage pests; the wind picked up any loose edges and thrashed our poor sweetcorn seedlings almost to death! Fortunately a kind neighbour gave us some more that we have now planted out, this time in bare earth. Another casualty of the weather seems to be the first early potatoes, which look very lacklustre and despite a few flowers on their haulms, don’t appear to have much underneath the soil. In contrast, the second earlies are looking bushy and healthy, thus proving perhaps the old adage that it is better to wait for Spring to get into gear before planting frost-tender vegetables. Also, something ate all the French bean seedlings before they were barely out of the ground! Sometimes you just can’t win….

On the plus side, the runner beans have finally established themselves and are romping up the poles, and this spell of fine weather with be just what they need. And the potatoes that we did dig were absolutely delicious, with lots more to come.

It looks like a very good year for soft fruits, with the gooseberry bushes groaning under the fruit and the strawberries are also plentiful and sweet. Coming along rapidly are blackcurrants, redcurrants and Tayberries, and at home I am waiting with anticipation for the cherries to ripen! They are swathed in fleece to stop the birds plundering them before I get a chance.

It is the VPA Village Show in a couple of weeks so it is an anxious time to see if there will be enough ripe fruit and vegetables to show. If you haven’t entered it before, it is great fun, and very exciting to go round after the judging and see if you have any Best in Show and First prizes!

Some of you will know that I am leaving for Canada at the end of August, so this is my last article; it will cease to exist unless a volunteer steps up! Angela Hoy (angela.hoy@sky.com)

Editor’s note: Angela has been writing her Notes from the Allotment column for the Bulletin for as long as I’ve been editing it – that is, since September 2011. As with all our regular contributors, the editorial team owes her a great debt of gratitude, and we wish her all the very best for her new life in Canada. Thanks Angela!