1 February 2020

Well, we can still dream of spring even if if the rain continues to fall and the Calico Field is still very boggy!

It is possible to use the polytunnel though and you may want to start planning for sowing future early crops. Do please let me know if you are intending to use your allocated spot this season. The committee is planning to invest in some shading to help regulate the temperatures in the polytunnel, especially in the summer months, so this might encourage you to use your space. If you decide not to use it, others will be able to use your area so could you please OPT IN by emailing me at secretary@swallowfieldpaa.org (You will notice that this is a new email address and replaces the one shown at the end of this newsletter.)

Future working parties have been decided for the following mornings:

  • Saturday 7th March
  • Saturday 4th April
  • Saturday 2nd May.

While daylight hours are short, we are going to keep to a Saturday morning but we will vary the day and time during the summer months to enable more of you to attend if you can. A list of jobs will be posted up. All help is gratefully received but it would be good if the burden of keeping the site managed didn’t always fall on the same shoulders! Thank you!

OPEN MORNING is coming up again and the proposed date is Saturday 16th May. As usual, help will be needed to set up, take down, man stalls and grow plants. We rely on the income generated at this event to fund our rent (payable to the Parish Council), lawn mower servicing, water rates and insurance to name but a few of our costs. Please send in any ideas for a theme. Last year, the Mad Hatter entertained us and the children enjoyed a Hat trail. We should like to have a similar success this year.

In the interim, thanks to Reg (Plot 2) for keeping down the vermin and for doing an inventory of our wheel barrows. One of the rustiest ones is being scrapped and a new, light weight wheelbarrow will replace it. Thanks to Sue (Plot 19) for the suggestion!


As the variable February weather often means it’s too cold or wet for sowing outdoors, try sowing broad beans and peas in drainpipes or pots in the polytunnel to get a head start. Other seeds to get going indoors include Brussels sprouts, globe artichokes, kohl rabi, leeks, lettuces, radishes, spinach, sprouting broccoli and tomatoes. If it’s too cold, they may not germinate, so you could leave this task until nearer the end of the month. Once the salad leaves are through, thin out the seedlings and plant out under cover next month. Spinach seedlings can be planted out in March. Cloves of garlic and broad beans can be sown outdoors if the ground is not too waterlogged.


  • Continue digging over your plot, spreading compost or manure and think about starting to chit your seed potatoes.
  • Spread them out in egg boxes or seed trays in a cool, light room to encourage them to begin shooting.
  • Protect cauliflowers from frost by curling the leaves round the flower heads.
  • Order new asparagus crowns and rhubarb sets.
  • If you cover your existing rhubarb crowns with straw or a forcing pot, they should produce an early crop around March time.
  • Prune your autumn fruiting raspberries right down to the ground.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the great outdoors!