I feel very lucky as I have always had great pleasure from growing my own food and I enjoy my allotment, however I do understand it’s not everybody’s cup of tea and sadly there are plot holders that treat their plot as a chore. I always say if you don’t enjoy it then why would you do it?
Around this time plot holders talk about “the June drop”……June drop on fruit trees refers to the tendency of different types of fruit trees to drop immature fruit usually around June to July. I have a pear tree that usually loses around 75% of its fruit at this time, it’s quite saddening although I do think it makes the ones it does produce more special!
July is usually one of the driest months, so watering can be essential. To help with this I hoe regularly to break up the soil and remove weeds and tend to water in the cool of the morning or evening. Beetroot, broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, lettuce, rhubarb, spring onions, radish, spinach can all start to be harvested now. Broad beans are one of my favourite vegetables; they’re extremely easy to grow. I grow Sutton Dwarf as they require no staking, I’ve put them in with the help of a dibber in a row about eight inches apart and then just leave them to it – apart from a regular check for blackfly, an old trick for blackfly is to take a handful of soil and crumble over the blackfly, just something you could try.
It is also time to lift the earliest potatoes which is met with great anticipation, the first potatoes are always a real treat and continue earthing up the rows of your other varieties.
Now is the best time to sow the main crop of carrots to avoid attack from root fly and to continue with successional sowings of beetroot and lettuce. This is also the end of the asparagus season, so stop cutting and give the plants a top dressing of general fertiliser to help build up the crowns for next year.
We will now start to harvest the first of our soft fruits, the first strawberries and raspberries of the year added to your morning cereal is always a great way to start your day.
We are also privileged to be able to keep hens on our plots, I normally keep around six or eight which is more than enough for the average family although you can have up to a maximum of 12, I always have rescue hens….. battery hens are kept for 18 months then go to slaughter. I get them at this point and give them the best life I can, they eat most of my weeds and their waste is great in the compost bin, they are a joy to own and the eggs are wonderful it’s definitely a win-win!
This year we will be holding our first Allotment Open Day since Covid. It is on Saturday 13th August and you are welcome to come and have a look round.
Richard Thorpe 15b