What to do

Spring cleaning on the allotment!

Painting the outside of the composting toilet before planting climbing shrubs against it, cutting grass, and lots more…
Are there any particular tasks that you think need doing? We are aiming to create a more aesthetically pleasing site, as well as a productive one. That doesn’t necessarily mean tidy, but it does mean purposeful, and it does mean a place that will inspire others to create something beautiful too. And if anyone fancies bringing a cake to share that would be fabulous, even if it isn’t made from 100% allotment ingredients.

Need to clear your plot, and plant something that won’t need much attention? We still have potatoes, Orla and Lady Balfour. Once planted they require little more than occasional weeding and earthing up. But look out for late frosts, which can destroy or damage potato shoots that emerge from the soil. They can be protected by covering with grass clippings, leaves, straw or soil. And there are summer broccoli, salad leaves and lettuces to plant out. Weeds are growing, which suggests that it is warm enough to sow seeds. Come to the shed for advice on what, how and where.


What’s new  …

Click on the rockery picture (above) and see a slideshow on our website, then spot the new plants when you visit.


What to eat ?

See Jane C’s latest addition to our list of recipes


What else to eat ?

Dan our medical herbalist says…

Picking Wild Greens
I have a new plot so no kale, broccoli or sorrel to pick for me. I really want some greens to eat though. I pick nettle tops to add to soups and sauces (blending disguises them from the family). For herbal tea I love Cleavers (the one that sticks to your jumper), it is just about becoming big enough to pick. With these two fresh & free wild greens we are adding vitamins and minerals to our diet, aiding the immune and circulatory systems, I am a medical herbalist who uses plants for improving health. herbaculture.co.uk


Edible Chapelfield

Check out this vision to transform this city park into an edible flagship for a sustainable future.
From 10.00 in the morning of Sunday 28th. Visit  for more info.


Finally…

Is Sunday 5th May World Naked Gardening Day ?


Clive,

with pictures and graphics from Jim – but none from wngd.org !

What to do

The soil is finally warming after the coldest recorded March since 1962. It does feel as though the growing season has been compressed, and that lots of tasks have to be completed immediately. But there is still plenty of time! If sowing seeds, especially small ones, make sure that the bed has been hoed to cut off weed seedlings and raked to remove stones. Sowing in straight lines makes it easier to weed and harvest, but you could try wavy lines, circles ……..for aesthetic effect. Spinach, carrot, radish, peas and many others are available.

Potatoes are chitting (being stored in the light to encourage the growth of strong green shoots) in the big shed. We have an early variety, Orla, and a maincrop, Lady Balfour. I also have a few Sarpo (pronounced “sharpo”) Mira, a variety which has been developed to exhibit especially high resistance to potato blight. Putting a lining of newspaper in the bottom of a potato trench can help to retain moisture if the summer is dry. Any newspaper will suffice, although I understand that Lady Balfour potatoes prefer copies of The Times.

There will be some lettuces and salad leaves to plant out too


Jane C reports on heritage seeds

My heritage broad beans Mr Jones are ready to plant out now (I sowed them indoors to beat the awful spring weather, as the seeds are so precious).

 I need to make sure they aren’t cross-pollinated with other beans, so that we keep the resulting bean seeds pure, so I’m planting them as far away from other beans as possible. Next, I’ll be sowing heritage peas before the end of the month (two varieties).


Nicaraguan permaculture project – Guardabarranco

One of our growers, Max Onslow, will be spending the next academic year performing voluntary work in the mountains of Nicaragua. Guardabarranco seeks to cultivate a deeper connection between small rural communities and the land they farm by encouraging the use of permaculture techniques. See www.eco-nic.com for more details, or talk to Max.


Norfolk Organic Group Monday 29th April 7.30 pm

See www.norfolkorganic.org.uk for more details


Clive,

 with pictures and graphics from Jim

Sunday, 14th April

Seeds to sow

With a warm day forecast for Sunday what better way to spend it than planting the first seed potatoes! The early variety, Orla, is available now in the Big Shed. The soil will still be cold so waiting a week or so won’t hurt for most other seeds – they will catch up –  but if you’re impatient to start, try sowing beetroot,parsnips, radishes, broad-beans or peas. There are growing instructions for all these in the members’ section (password ‘garlic’) of the website and also in the window of the Big Shed.

Plants, edible or otherwise, wanted

A vine or passion-flower for the side of the composting toilet? A rose or clematis to ramble over the tree stump by the car-park?
If you have a climbing plant languishing in a pot, or spy one at a car-boot or jumble sale, think about bringing it to the allotment. And, if you are splitting any herbaceous plants, bring any you can spare for the border alongside the path to the big shed.

Watering rota

The seedlings in the greenhouse now need daily watering. There are several people who have agreed to water, and check for snails, at the same time each week, but we will need more help, on a regular or an ad hoc basis, as the season progresses.
So, to help ensure there is a supply of plants for all plots, if you can water at the same time each week, let us know. The ad hoc help would involve checking the rota, pinned to the door of the Big Shed, when you’re at the allotment tending your plot to see if there’s a gap in the rota for that day. If you can help in either way, let us know first so that you can be shown the secrets of the watering system.

Happy gardening

Bridget

Jane’s Seasonal Recipe

Try Kuku (not the first cuckoo!)

This Sunday, 7th April

Opening times

Now that the days are getting longer, the Big Shed will be open from 10am on Sundays, closing at 2pm.

Wednesday opening times will stay the same, from 10am until 1pm.


Food sharing lunch

It’s hard to believe given the rest of the month, but the March food sharing lunch was eaten outside, in the sun! Let’s hope that this Sunday, the first in April, will be as kind. Come along at 1pm with a dish made from seasonal produce to share.


A taste of what is to come…

The lettuce, mibuna and mizuna seedlings in the greenhouse are doing well and should ready for planting out in a couple of weeks. Late summer purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese and more salad crops will follow.

Click for more info

For what can be sown the moment to soil warms up, look at the April grower guide on the website, or on the notice board in the Big Shed.


…and help needed

Pricking out lettuce seedlings from a seed tray into individual modules is a slow but pleasant task, almost a meditation.

Click for video

If anyone has an hour to spare on Sunday morning for that or a similar task, come to the Big Shed where Jane G, Juyna or I will be on duty.


Bridget