July 2022 Newsletter

Our AGM will be held on Thursday 21st July in the Rose Room at Swallowfield Parish Hall at 8pm. If you have items for the agenda, please send them to me by email 48 hours in advance. 

I encourage you to attend if you can so that we can hear and discuss your ideas. If you would like to join the committee, we are always looking for new members. Again, please let me know in advance. No credentials necessary other than a passion for cultivation!

We welcome a new member on to Plot 1 (a half plot newly created on the former bonfire area). Lucinda and family have already made a good start. Please make them welcome!

I am sure you have seen and appreciated the hard work done by the latest working party. Mowing and strimming the public footpath and cutting the front hedge  was a big job. Grateful thanks go to the committee members and Bill, Reg, Amy, Helen and Sheridan for turning up to tackle these perennial tasks. The second half of the footpath still needs clearing, however. If you can contribute towards this in your own time, we would be very grateful.

We need a large weather-proof notice board! The one on the side of the shed blew down in the gales. It would be good to have one for community news as well as for SPAA information. Is there anyone out there who has the skill to construct one? You would be reimbursed the cost of the materials. Please let me know if you could do this.

At the latest committee meeting, it was agreed that, having recommissioned the bonfire area in the interests of being as green as we can, we would not allow individual incinerators either. We have had complaints from plotholders about smoke pollution. If you wish to dispose of wood or green waste, please use the hoppers provided at the back of the manure. May I remind you that bonfires on individual plots are not permitted. The committee may hold a bonfire after a working party which involves shrub clearance so, if you attend, you are welcome to burn your material then. Taking it home with you is still the best option. Thank you.

It’s now getting a bit late for sowing and planting but most salad leaves and  fast growing varieties of peas, beetroot and carrots can continue to be sown. 
Other seeds to SOW are spring cabbages, French beans, kale, kohl rabi, peas, winter radishes, Swiss chard and turnips. Sow spring onions, radishes, chicory and lettuce but don’t forget to water regularly!
PLANT OUT Brussels sprouts, winter cabbages, French beans, kale, leeks and sprouting broccoli. You may be able to use the space created by removing your spent broad beans or garlic/onions.
HARVEST: calabrese and regularly lift beetroot before they become too large. Lift second earlies this month once the flowers have appeared. It’s worth having a look to see if a row is ready to harvest. Continue to lift garlic and shallots once the leaves have withered and lay them out in the sun to dry off. Continue to harvest broad beans and bush beans before the pods get too swollen. Keep an eye on your Kohl rabi and lift them when they are as big as a tennis ball.
Harvest strawberries, removing any that are mouldy or over ripe. Pick your summer fruiting raspberries and then cut the canes right down to the ground when the crop is finished.

  • Weed, water and mulch! Water spinach, lettuce and rocket regularly to prevent bolting.
  • Pinch out the tops of climbing beans when they reach the tops of your canes so that the structures don’t collapse! 
  • Pinch out the side shoots of tomatoes which appear in the ‘V’ between the leaf stems and the main stem. Feed regularly.
  • Earth up brassicas to prevent them from becoming unstable.
  • Water potatoes when the flowers appear.
  • Tidy up summer strawberries by removing old foliage and cutting off unwanted runners. Pot up some runners whilst still attached to the main plant to create next year’s supply.
  • Dry off garlic and onions ready for storage.
  • Tie in new blackberry canes.
  • Check for pests.

We’re in for some more hot weather so I’m sure I’ll see a lot of you this month!

Best wishes

Claire Hamilton