Thanks to everyone who has helped over the last few weeks, including Lesley, Charles, Juyna, Jane, Jane, Jane, Christine, Mandy, Natasha, Max, Jose, Tessa, Maria (fab beetroot cake!) and many others
What to do
The grass on paths and other communal areas will need cutting regularly. The clippings add valuable nitrogen to the compost heap, and can be used as a mulch around fruit bushes and trees. And we do need more people to help out on Sunday mornings by being around to assist other growers, water in the greenhouse, provide a welcoming atmosphere………..Either I or Bridget will be around to support you and to let you know what is going on. It’s a great way to learn new skills and to become more engaged with the project and with people. Almost all of our plots are now being used, so If we have more growers actively involved we can be an even more amazing project!
Heritage seeds – Jane Chittenden says…
Here’s a pic of Prew’s Special pea seedlings, sown exactly a week ago.
The quality of these heritage seeds is exceptional: every single one of the twenty seeds has germinated (I’ve got some French beans in the same tray) and they are all growing vigorously. I’ll keep them indoors in the tray for another week, then aim to plant them out when they are nice and bushy. Normally I would sow peas directly into the ground at this time of year, but these are so precious that I want to be sure I don’t lose any. Looking forward to trying these peas later in the season – they are allegedly descended from peas found in Tutankhamun’s tomb!
(Meanwhile I’ve also sown all sorts of exciting beans and some purple peas too – wonder if they will have purple shoots?)
What to put in the ground
Most seeds will be able to germinate now that the soil has warmed, so beetroot, chard, radish and carrot, are just a few that will be available from the big shed on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. And it is not too late to plant potatoes; there are lots of Lady Balfour and Orla available. Those grass clippings can also be placed around emerging potato shoots, to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weed growth and provide nutrients. There are also some brussels sprouts and broccoli plants, and there will be more lettuces, salad leaves and kale soon. Have you tried summer savory? It is an annual herb that can be used with broad beans or peas instead of mint. Culpepper said that it “quickens the dull spirits in the lethargy”. We have some available.
I have known overnight frosts to occur at Bluebell Road as late as 23rd May. So we do recommend that tender plants, such as courgettes, squashes, french beans and runner beans are not put outside until we can be sure that there will be no more frosts for this season. I will keep looking at the weather forecast, and I might start sowing some french beans outside in about 10 days time.
Top tips for watering
When making a drill for sowing seeds, or a hole for planting a seedling, fill it with water first. This encourages roots to search downwards for moisture, and leads to healthier roots development
Watering occasionally and thoroughly is better than little and often.
Try to water early in the morning or in the evening, and not in the middle of the day. This reduces evaporation and is less traumatic for your plants.
Accidents do happen, and we are replacing (at a cost of £30) the cover on the toilet seat which was broken recently. Please let us know when these sorts of events occur so that we can keep the site safe.
with graphics and other exciting bits from Jim