HAND MADE PRODUCTS FOR YOUR HOME
Carruthers was a founder member of the Allotment Society and, living somewhere east of Moorfield Rd, is known as our Far-Eastern Correspondent.
After such a wet and miserable spring, the exceptionally hot, dry summer weather of this July and August is quite a contrast and has brought its own challenges on the allotment.
Watering effectively is essential to keep crops in the best condition. Most allotment sites don't allow the use of hoses and, in any event, it can be difficult to water properly with a held-held hose. The danger is that of dampening just the first inch or two of soil, thus encouraging roots to come to the surface where they can easily dry out.
Using cans, aim to empty a can per square metre every few days, really soaking the soil each time. Rotating the sections watered helps spread the load whilst ensuring every crop gets a good drink once or twice (in the really dry weather) a week. This encourages the formation of deeper roots that are better able to withstand a dry day or two in between watering or rain.
Planting empty plastic bottles (preferably 2-litre) alongside new plants is a great idea - especially for sensitive veg such as squashes and tomatoes. Cut off the bottoms, remove the caps and plug the open necks loosely with some cotton wool or kitchen roll. Plant neck down about 4-6 inches deep near the roots of each plant and fill with water every few days. The water should drain slowly into the root area ensuring you target every drop where it counts.
Although the dry weather means fewer weeds will germinate, keep the soil well-hoed. This will break up the surface (as well as disrupting weed seedlings) and help water to be absorbed.
Ah yes, and don't forget to check you've turned off the water butt tap! It's so easy to get distracted after that last can and forget...
Now retired from active plotting, Carruthers is also a star cook, inspiring (or testing) seasonal recipes from the veg garden.
Give them a try...
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We still have a few 1.6 m round fence posts in stock in the members' store shed. The price is £5 for three,
please email if interested; DAS members only.
Soil improver and potting compost
We have a stock of Dalefoot wool and bracken-based composts. Not the cheapest, but very special. The double-strength soil improver is brilliant for moisture retention in our sandy soil - great for boosting a raised bed. The potting compost is fantastic stuff; makes a real difference to young plants. £7 a 30 litre bag (normally retails over £10).
We have our usual supply of Groworganic fertiliser. This is the equivalent of 6X in the garden centres and is available for £7 a bag (enough for a half plot) to DAS members.