July 2017 Allotment News

Summer harvesting begins

Ideally an allotment can give you food all year round, but the summer is the main harvest. Hopefully you are starting to get new potatoes, peas, strawberries and several other crops. Happy harvesting and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Quiet at the Gate Please

We have received complaints from our neighbours of noise from opening the gate at Scott Road. It is a large metal gate and makes a lot of noise. Some members have been visiting the allotments very early (from 5 am) and this has disturbed the sleep of our neighbours.

Therefore, if you are using the Scott Road gate in early mornings please:-

  • be a quiet as humanly possible
  • switch of car radios
  • do not scrape the bar across the concrete, but lift it
  • avoid slamming and banging the gate or car doors

A new pest has arrived and is attacking onions (and possibly leeks and garlic)

Several members have noticed their onions leaves are all twisted and curled. This is probably the allium leaf miner. This pest first arrived in the UK in 2002. Please remove any infected plants and dispose of in your grey wheelie bin. Any infected onions will not store. More details here:

http://www.gardenfocused.co.uk/fruitarticles/pest-disease/allium-leaf-miner.php

and

http://www.wlaf.btck.co.uk/PeskyPests/AlliumLeafMiner

IBCs for sale at Scott Road

We have obtained a few more thousand-litre IBC tanks for water storage at Scott Road. They cost £25. Please contact us if you are interested.

Annual Field Tour

Once a year, the committee has a tour of some of our fields instead of a regular meeting. This year we are touring Margaret Road and Windmill Avenue fields on Tuesday 11th July in the early evening. It is quite informal but very useful for committee members from different fields to see how other fields are getting on. We always learn something and share ideas and experiences.

The benefits of bindweed

There are two common species that we refer to as bindweed Convulvulus arvensis (field bindweed) and Calystegia sepium(hedge bindweed). Both are notorious weeds and it is almost impossible to eradicate them. They have really long roots, typically 3 or 4 metres deep and can grow back from a tiny piece of root, so it is impossible to dig it all out. If allowed to flower and seed, the seeds can remain alive (viable) for up to 30 years in the soil. No wonder that bindweed is found in many gardeners’ nightmares.

So what are the benefits of bindweed? Most of us have some bindweed and we quickly realise that we are never going to get rid of it, but that doesn’t mean we let it take over and get out of control. Well-controlled bindweed has two main benefits. The first is an indicator of your soil’s health and mineral content. If your soil has plenty of minerals the bindweed will be deep green and grow strongly. If your bindweed is pale green, or has yellowish or purple leaves, then there may be mineral deficiencies, so your soil needs feeding. Compost, manure or fertilisers are needed to increase the minerals in your soil.

The second benefit of bindweed also relates to soil minerals. Having said that bindweed has really deep roots, it will be able to extract minerals from deeper in the soil than our crops. Those minerals deep down were inaccessible to our crops, but the bindweed has absorbed them and used them to grow. Once the bindweed has been hoed or pulled out it immediately stops being a liability and becomes an asset. As gardeners know, a dead weed is a good weed. It will rot and become compost or add to mulch and release those minerals back into the soil where our crops can use them.

July is the best time of year to be pulling out bindweed and dropping it back onto the soil surface where it will wilt, die and decompose helping our crops. So next time you are pulling out bindweed or other weeds just think of all their benefits (as long as they are dead).

Mowing your ridings

You are probably aware that it is each member’s responsibility to ensure that the ridings and paths abutting our plots are kept tidy (rule 34 of our Society’s membership rules).

Tenants shall be responsible for the upkeep and tidiness of all hedges and roadways abutting their allotment.

For most of us this means mowing or strimming the path or riding alongside their plot. Thank you to all members who do this. In some cases, committee members have helped and mowed more of the paths and tracks, so a special thanks to them too.

An interesting news article, worth thinking about?

http://www.altonherald.com/article.cfm?id=120543&headline=Do%20you%20warm%20up%20before%20gardening?&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2017

 

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