An Allotment in Hungerford............

We're entering our 7th year as plotholders - doesn't time fly? You may think that we should be expert growers by now, but it doesn't work that way - our first year was one of our best, perhaps because we didn't have any expectations!

Here are some lessons learned – if only we heeded them - each one could fill a page and be discussed at length, so I look forward to some feedback!

Little and Often: Organise your seeds to make successional sowings: salad crops and peas are particularly worth sowing fortnightly. So much produce can be stored, pickled and frozen, but there's nothing like eating fresh from the plot, so try to extend the season if you can.

Check your spacing: Know how big your plants are going to get and plant accordingly but remember that you're going to need access for weeding and picking throughout the season. Some plants are susceptible to moulds so they like space for the air to get through. Of course, the more earth on show; the more weeds will grow!

Don't panic: If you plant late you're likely to get a smaller harvest, but, you never know, if the weather's on your side you may still get a long enough growing season.
If your seeds don't germinate, ask around, one of your fellow allotmenteers may have some seedlings that they’re happy to give away or swap.

Use the correct netting: If mesh is too big it will allow butterflies in to lay their eggs and their caterpillars then have a free reign to scoff your veg where the predators are unable to reach them – a perfect butterfly farm! Similarly, if a plant isn’t self-pollinating, don't cover with too fine mesh which prevents useful insects getting access.

Pick it when you see it: A week is a long time in the life of a vegetable. If you're growing your own veg you may as well eat it when it's at its best and most flavoursome - often smaller than the offerings in the shops. Keep picking peas, beans, courgettes, etc. so that the plant knows to keep producing rather than going to seed. If you can’t face another bean and your family are fed up with finding courgettes in everything, from quiches to cakes, you’re sure to find someone who wants your fresh produce.

Get an allotment! An all-round positive experience: fresh air and exercise rewarded with your choice of fruit and vegetables. The Marsh Lane site can be very sociable but also offers the opportunity for a quiet time surrounded by nature.

HAHA is holding an Open Day on the Marsh Lane site on June 27th – Come and see what we’re growing this year.

Contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274
www.haha-hungerford.org.uk     https://twitter.com/MLAllotment


Our Marsh Lane allotment life is recorded online through my blogs:
http://www.plot7marshlane.blogspot.com/   

Belinda


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