Sessions July onwards

Community allotment working sessions
February - June 2019
Reports: Jenn Baker

27th June
A select handful of allotmenteers turned up today to brave the hot sun - lovely, but not for doing anything too strenuous! The main task was to cover the brassica bed with mesh to prevent the butterflies laying eggs and we also did lots of watering. We harvested some raspberries and blackcurrants but it seems that most of our gooseberries have disappeared (also on my own allotment).  The bushes had been so thoroughly stripped that we have suspicions that it wasn't the birds that were responsible…

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6th June
We've had a couple of weeks with 12-plus volunteers, so this week's 6  was an altogether quieter affair! Our strawberries have done really well and it paid to put the straw  under them as very few seem to have been attacked.  Today we  transplanted the baby leeks to their permanent bed, sowed more rows of  carrot and turnip, thinned out the beetroot, planted climbing beans and  put some aubergine plants in the polytunnel. We'll have another bumper crop of blackcurrants this year so the bushes  have been netted against the birds. All the brassica plants have now been put out and surrounded with  copious amounts of compost to see them through to next winter.
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23rd May
We've had excellent attendances over the past few weeks and today we had 13.  Everything seems to be growing well so far and this warmer spell should help things along, too. The polytunnel has now been planted up with tomatoes, cucumber, chillies and basil with several people dropping in during the week to keep an eye on the watering. We now have a new water butt station thanks to a couple of the chaps at the Orchard work sessions.  Our old water butts had, over the years, started to lean and one had a leak which was getting into the shed. The new ones are now set on a nice ledge which gives plenty of room to get the cans under the taps.  Next task is to put a new corrugated roof on the shed to make it really watertight. All the raised beds have now been allocated and are being planted up and the flat beds are coming along nicely.  The potatoes got slightly frosted a couple of weeks ago but not seriously so we earthed them up and the tubers, I'm sure, will be fine. 
We sowed our climbing bean selection this week to grow up a frame that a couple of us short ladies constructed - someone has already described it as "Dali-esque"!  Our usual bean frame builder is away at the moment, so I hope he doesn't have a fit when he sees our effort.
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18th April
It was a lovely sunny afternoon but I think the troops must have been off doing other things being Easter week.  Only five attended but we got some seeds sown and harvested a row of shallots left over from last year!  Don't know what they'll be like but may be OK for soup making.  Colin mowed the paths so it all looks tidy.
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11th April
After last week's cancellation because of all the rain, it was lovely to
do a bit of gardening under blue skies.  Eight volunteers sowed seeds,
cleared a rather untidy corner of the polytunnel and got stuck in to
weeding the herb garden.  A very pleasant refreshment break in the warm
sun was much appreciated.
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28th March
It has been a lovely sunny and warm afternoon and ten allotmenteers  turned up, including one new volunteer. We planted the onion sets and the seed potatoes, cleared one bed of  brassicas from last year and made a start on tidying the herb bed and  the strawberry patch. A good amount of rhubarb and purple sprouting broccoli was harvested for people to take home.
21st March
Today was the first of this year's weekly sessions and we had a good turnout of 9 volunteers despite the chilly, grey afternoon. We cleared several beds of weeds and loads of poppy plants that had self seeded and also had a good go at preparing the polytunnel beds ready for the tomatoes etc later in the season. The new planting plan was put up in the shed and the raised beds had new name labels attached. Next week will see the planting of the potatoes and onion sets - weather permitting!
7th March
Today was the last of the monthly winter sessions before we start the 2019 season weekly.  9 people came, including 3 new volunteers, who did some sterling work which included sowing broad beans and leeks, washing down the polytunnel, pruning back the buddleia and feeding the fruit bushes with compost. Colin also put up some hooks in the shed to hold the new tools. We managed to keep dry during the frequent showers by nipping into the polytunnel but at least it was fairly warm!
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7th February
I think the chilly weather must have put people off today as only 2 turned up! The two of us managed to dig a trench fill it with compost from one of the bins and cover it back over ready for later in the year, when it will be the climbing bean bed. Next month we shall sort out the polytunnel beds and give it a good wash down inside and out.
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