1 May 2023 Newsletter

Dear Plotter

There are TWO upcoming  events to which I would like to draw your attention: firstly, our evening working party on Thursday 4th May from 6.30pm, which will be essentially a tidy up session to get ready for our Open Morning on 13th May. If the weather is kind to us, we shall be mowing, strimming and trimming, so please make an effort to attend if possible. If you cannot make it, please ensure that you have repaired all your fencing and chopped back any vegetation around your plot which might be a trip hazard for our visitors as they walk round. Please be aware that children will be walking round the whole site doing the Kings’ Trail, which will entail a ‘clue’ being tacked to the fence on each plot. I have noticed that there are a lot of brambles overgrowing the side paths which need attention, so please check your periphery and make sure it is navigable. Thank you.

Secondly, I have left some fliers and posters in the shed for distribution round where you live. Please help yourselves and advertise our event to your neighbours, friends and family. As you know, we only hold one fund raising event a year so we need your help to make sure our Open Morning is a success. The event starts at 11am till 1pm.

I still need volunteers on Saturday morning to help on the refreshment stall, the plant stall and the cake stall and in the carpark. Can you spare an hour to be part of the rota? Have you left your tombola/raffle prizes in the shed in the box for collection? We still need a lot more bottles, cans and chocolate! Can you make a cake (vegan and gluten free cakes are also needed) and bring it to the set -up on Friday 12th or bring it on Saturday morning? Can you help us put up gazebos and bring some garden chairs and small tables on the Friday night? We’ll be setting up from 5.00pm.

Have you any spare seedlings or house plants to donate to the plant sale? They can be left in the polytunnel or brought down on the Friday evening. Thank you to our members who have already donated plants and I am very grateful to those people who have already volunteered to help out.

As usual, a lot of hard work and planning goes into our Open Morning. There will be games and activities for children, including the famous ‘Splat the Rat’, which was very popular last year, and a trail quiz for kids of all ages!
Let’s make this a great follow-up to the coronation weekend! 

Sue (on the committee) has put in an application to Radio 4 to guest edit one of their summer Today programmes. The theme is Food (how we grow it/environmental impact/allotments) so we should hear soon if we have been successful!

On another issue, I have had an email from a lady on Nutbean Lane who is offering a raised bed and a border for cultivation on the rented property that she lives in. Would anyone be interested in taking this on for fun? Do let me know if you hear of anyone.

May is again a deceptive month; warm sunshine brings us all out but the soil may still be cold or too wet for sowing and there is still a big risk of frost. The best idea is to stagger your sowing so that you avoid a glut or a total wipe-out of seedlings!
Beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, calabrese, carrots and cauliflowers can all be sown outdoors in a well prepared seed bed but brassicas can also be sown indoors and then planted out later. Chicory, Florence fennel, kohl rahbi, lettuces, peas, mangetouts and snap peas can all be sown outdoors, as well as rocket, spinach and radishes, swedes and turnips. Sow sweetcorn in blocks, not rows, for the best pollination.
VEGETABLE SEEDS TO SOW INDOORS: all kinds of cabbage and cauliflowers, chillies, peppers and lettuces, courgettes and summer squashes, endive, French and runner beans, kale and sprouting broccoli. Keep moist but don’t over water.
FRUIT TO PLANT OUT: cape gooseberries, cranberries and strawberries.

  • May is usually the first month during which you can start to plant out leeks: make a deep hole with a dibber and then drop in the seedling and fill the hole with water. There is no need to backfill with soil as the water does this for you. 
  • Plant the last of your seed potatoes and earth up those already showing signs of leaf
  • Plant out pea seedlings raised indoors
  • Plant out strawberries; remove runners from established plants
  • Harden off and plant out seedlings when the risk of frost has passed.
  • Weed regularly
  • Support broad bean plants with string tied to canes to prevent them falling over.
  • Mulch fruit bushes with organic matter
  • Remove new, unwanted raspberry suckers, which will produce a thicket of canes instead of individual stems.
  • Protect fruit bushes with netting and keep an eye out for slugs and other pests!!

Enjoy the bank holidays and see you at the Open Morning!

Best wishes

Claire Hamilton SPAA Secretary