Another month has gone by since I last sent out a newsletter – but the world continues in its new and strange format. For those of you who are in self isolation, we are thinking of you, hoping that you are well and managing to cope with the demands and challenges of this, hopefully, temporary situation. For those of you who are under lesser restrictions, I hope you have been able to find solace in your garden and at the allotments; we are all grateful, I think, for the fresh air and exercise that this escape affords. It has certainly given me a boost to have been able to have had brief exchanges, even from a distance, with some of you. The glorious weather in April has enabled some of us at least, to catch up with the spring digging, now that the ground has dried up, and many plots are certainly looking ready for planting and seed sowing at last.
You will have, of course, realised by now that our Open Morning on 16th May is cancelled. As this is our main fund raiser for the year, this is a blow to the Association but we intend, in spite of this, still to hold a plant sale for members only which will be on for a week. I know that many of you have raised seedlings for this purpose and it seems a shame not to pass on our plants and seedlings to each other when it is impossible to buy them from other sources.
The arrangements will be as follows:
- Drop off your seedlings/plants for sale in the polytunnel any time between Friday 8th May and Thursday 14th May.
- Clearly label your plants with the variety and place them in the designated sections. (The SPAA committee will rearrange them according to price.)
- The sale will begin from Friday 15th May and last for a week.
- An honesty box will be placed in the polytunnel for cash payments and cheques payable to SPAA, or pay by BACS bank transfer to HSBC, Sort code 404709, Acct no. 91768190, Acct name Swallowfield Parish Allotments Association and label your payment PLANTS.
There will also be a tin for any spare seeds that you may wish to donate or swap.
PLEASE MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES AT ALL TIMES!!
ONLY AUTHORISED ALLOTMENT MEMBERS ARE ALLOWED ON SITE
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT AN EVENT FOR THE PUBLIC!!
We hope that this will help you out with accessing plants and raise some money for SPAA!
WHAT TO DO IN MAY:
May is a tricky month for unpredictable weather; late frosts and potentially cooler, wetter conditions mean you must be circumspect in what you sow or plant out. However, you might be able to harvest some of your first crops and that in itself is rewarding.
WHAT TO SOW OUTDOORS:
Try doing more succession sowing every 2 to 3 weeks to avoid gluts of produce all at once. Sow beetroot, Brussels, cabbages, carrots, chicory and Florence fennel, kale, peas, radishes, rocket, spinach, spring onions, swedes, Swiss chard and turnips.
WHAT TO SOW INDOORS:
Cabbages, cauliflowers, chicory, chillies and peppers, courgettes, endive, French beans, kale, marrows, pumpkins, runner beans and sprouting broccoli. (Only plant these out after hardening off and when the risk of frost has passed.)
WHAT TO PLANT OUTDOORS TOWARDS THE END OF THE MONTH WHEN FROSTS HAVE PASSED:
Aubergines, Brussels, cabbages,, cauliflowers, celeriac, chillies and peppers, courgettes and cucumbers, Florence fennel and globe artichokes, kohl rabi, leeks, lettuces, marrows, peas, pumpkins, rhubarb, sprouting broccoli, sweetcorn, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
JOBS FOR MAY:
- Harden off and plant out seedlings, water regularly.
- Weed regularly.
- Thin out seedlings.
- Protect plants from frosts.
- Support peas and climbing beans.
- Earth up potatoes.
- Net strawberry plants, fruit bushes and seedlings. Weed and mulch.
- Reduce the number of unwanted raspberry canes, removing less vigorous shoots to allow light and air to circulate.
- Feed and mulch globe artichokes.
Asparagus (cut off the stems below the earth), baby globe artichokes, rhubarb stems, baby turnips and spinach leaves. Harvest the last of your spring cabbages and sprouting broccoli