An Allotment in Hungerford............
Harvesting your home-grown veggies is the best part of having an allotment.
It's lovely to meet plotholders popping down to the site to pick fresh produce
for their dinners. As vegetarians, we take great pleasure in making up a
whole meal with home-grown. The record (set in 2012) will be hard to beat.
Nine pickings on one plate - a delicious salad with home-made coleslaw:
Potato, Onion, Cabbage, Carrot, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Sweet Pepper,
Sadly this year hasn't provided such rich pickings due to our inaction in
the Spring. We began to feel like we'd lost control, but we managed to get
our spuds in and filled the raised bed with salad, beets, florence fennel
(and slug pellets!). So, we've still had some fresh vegetables and kindly
fellow plotholders have helped fill some gaps on our plates!
I’ll take the opportunity to write about what has grown well –
weeds! Some can be beneficial, rather than having bare earth, so don’t
despair if areas of your plot look a mess. They can provide ground-cover,
prevent water evaporation and pull up nutrients from deep in the soil. Some
young leaves can even be eaten along with your vegetables.
Annual weeds such as deadnettle, groundsel, spurge and fat hen can help
hide new shoots from predatory insects and birds but should always be pulled
before they flower. Remember the mantra “one year’s weeds equal
seven years’ seeds” and those seeds will remain in the ground
for years just waiting for the right conditions to burst into life.
Perennial weeds such as couch grass, bindweed, thistle and docks are more
of a problem and need to be controlled. They not only self-seed but also
spread through the tiniest remnant of root, runner or rhizome left on the
ground. These need to be pulled or dug out (if you don’t want to resort
to chemicals); if not entirely removed the weed will be back sooner than
you think! We've seen couch grass grow through a potato! It's very tough!
Try not to let any weeds overcrowd your vegetables - they will invariably
grow faster than your crops and steal the goodness and water for themselves.
Slugs love to hide amongst the damp foliage, emerging at night to decimate
the veg. We find grass edges are a real haven for slugs and snails but the
toads know that too - be careful to check for friendly wildlife before starting
to strim your borders.
We still don't have the peace of mind and growing potential that a permanent
allotment site offers, but we've started planning for next year and are
desperately hoping it won't be our last season at the lovely Marsh Lane
site. Time will tell...
If you fancy the idea of growing your own contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274
Our Marsh Lane allotment life is recorded online through my blogs: