1 April 2023 Newsletter

Dear Plotter

April is a tricky month for deciding whether to sow seeds or not. Certainly, outdoors, it’s too risky but you can get ahead by sowing seeds indoors. Please can you sow some extras, ready for our Open Morning on May 13th from 11am to 1pm.? If you don’t have room to keep them at home, bring them to the polytunnel and leave them in the end areas marked SPAA.  They will be watered and looked after!  Don’t forget to label them clearly. Thank you.

Please start to look out raffle prizes, preferably on a gardening theme, as well as bottles, tins, cans and CHOCOLATE!! for the tombola. Items can be left in the collection box in the open shed from 1st April and will be collected regularly.
Many thanks to Helen for an early generous donation!

We shall be asking for help to man the stalls -raffle, tombola, children’s trail/games and the cafe and cake stall. We need all hands on deck to make this a successful fund raiser so please send me your name so I can start to draw up a rota. You don’t have to be there all morning! If you can spare an hour or two the evening before, on Friday 12th May from 6.30pm, to help set up, we should be very grateful.

Please can you repair your plot boundary fences and chop back overhanging brambles round your plot. At the moment, it is not safe to walk round the paths so please do some urgent maintenance as per your Licence Agreement, which states that you have to mow and maintain your periphery.
Thank you for your support!

Our last working party was successful in spite of limited numbers: bark chippings were laid round the polytunnel to prevent weeds from spreading and the hoppers were tidied and emptied, ready for a bonfire when the refuse dries out. A BIG thank you to Reg, Duncan, Peter, John, Sue, Bill and Brian for their hard work. The next working party will be on Saturday 15th April from 9.30 am. There will also be an evening one on Thursday 4th May from 6.30pm.

VEGETABLE SEEDS TO SOW INDOORS: April is the last chance to sow aubergines and tomatoes for transplanting out because the growing season will be too short for the fruits to mature. Cabbages, broccoli and cauliflowers can be sown in modules indoors and then transplanted out when the weather is warmer.  Sow chillies, cucumbers and peppers, pumpkins, courgettes and other squashes. Sow French and Runner beans, sprouting broccoli and sweet corn.

beetroot, cucumbers, lettuces, rocket and turnips can all be sown outdoors now but cover with a cloche to aid germination and protect from birds.

Seeds for most root crops can be sown outside now, but beetroot may need covering up with cloches if it is cold. Sow carrots, broad beans, cabbages, calabrese and cauliflowers. Parsnips, peas and radishes, spinach, spring onions and turnips can also be sown outdoors now. April is your last chance to sow onion sets.

PLANT OUT: asparagus crowns, herbs, Jerusalem artichokes and second early and maincrop seed potatoes. Plant out strawberry plants and transplant cape gooseberries.

Please tidy up your plot, ready for Open Morning!! There are quite a few fences down, impeding the side paths. Please can you make your repairs in good time.

  • continue preparing seed beds;
  • prick out seedlings
  • pot on growing plants
  • harden off young plants and protect against frost
  • earth up new potatoes
  • put up pea sticks
  • remove rhubarb cloches
  • pull up old brassica stumps
  • take offsets of globe artichokes by cutting off the side shoots with a short length of root and replant.
  • feed strawberries
  • feed blackcurrants and blackberries
  • weed raspberry and blackberry canes

I hope to see you at Calico Field, ready for the new season!

Kind regards

Claire Hamilton