CHAIN MAIL

Issue 145    Dec 1st   to   March 1st   2020

2019 has been Marsh Lane allotments most successful year with regard to cultivated plots and we now have a small waiting list – we even have people signing up before they move to the town. I’m so pleased that people don’t have to wait years for a plot in Hungerford, not like in some areas of the country. It’s great showing newcomers around the site and sharing their excitement at starting a new hobby.

Spring was particularly busy this year – partly because we sowed, planted and potted on so many plants for the HAHA plant sale. All the flowers that didn’t sell made such a different to the site though – it really was a mass of colour and we’ll definitely have lots of flowers again next year, but maybe won’t plant up so many ourselves! We were expecting to see tadpoles in our small pond, but though we didn’t get any we have been very pleased that the two frogs who moved in last year are permanent residents. I think the lack of slugs was more down to the weather than their predatory skills, but I’m sure they helped.

We had another dry summer so lots of exercise for plot holders in the form of watering – thank goodness for the Marsh Lane borehole. Watering by hand isn’t the same as a good rain shower though and we found that the runner bean season was very much reduced compared to previous years. We had only just started picking them when we found that they were going tough – eurgh, how horrible it is when you find you’re eating stringy beans! But I’ve been very pleased with the Gigantes runner beans that we grew for the first time this year – grown for their dried beans they have been prolific.

It’s been a beautiful autumn with some torrential rain but reasonably warm temperatures. We haven’t been hit by any seriously low temperatures yet but there have been some very strong winds that our poor polytunnel has had to contend with – it’s definitely in need of a new cover next year. We were actually organised enough to plant our onions and garlic and sow broad beans for over-Wintering – that should mean some earlier harvests.

Thank goodness the weather stayed fine for the Hungerford Food Festival. Our HAHA stand was a bit different from previous years, with tasters of unusual recipes containing vegetables – the celeriac & lemon flapjack was one of my favourites on the day. Our offering was carrot lox (‘vegan salmon’) – I’m not much of a cook so I was particularly pleased when Thompson & Morgan shared the recipe in their ‘Plot-to-Plate’ blogpost for National Vegetarian Week earlier in the year.

You can follow our successes and failures through my blog plot7marshlane.blogspot.co.uk and see some of the wildlife who visit: plot7wildlife.blogspot.co.uk/

Belinda         Contact HAHA on 0754 118 7274     www.haha-hungerford.org.uk