Community Allotment Working Sessions 2020
Reports and photos: Jenn Baker

1st October 2020

The allotment has been going along nicely with 5 or 6 of us each week gathering to harvest the crops and keep the weeds at bay. Thanks to all who have kept coming and a special thank you to all the volunteers on the watering rota, which really made a difference this year.

The weekly sessions have now finished and we are moving on to the winter schedule of the first Thursday of each month, the first one being on Thursday 5th November.

Over the next couple of months, our trusty team will be constructing the new polytunnel, so I can't wait to start planting it up next spring.  In the meantime, we shall be keeping up with general maintenance over the winter and sowing a few of the beds with green manure.

As everyone knows, this has been a particularly difficult year for all community groups, so I'm delighted that the allotment has done really well and provided us all with a decent selection of fruit and veg.
(Click on an image below to enlarge and scroll)
21st August
Our small, select group continue to meet weekly and the main tasks at
the moment are harvesting and weeding.  The orchard compost bays are
working well  now and we've bagged up about a dozen sacks of lovely
compost which will be spread on the allotment beds in due course.  Our
tiny, single melon was ready to eat this week and four of us shared it -
delicious!  Sadly, a second plant was accidentally cut off so this was
the only fruit this year.  We shall definitely try growing some more
next year in our new spacious polytunnel.
Click an image to enlarge and scroll
24th July
As per government guidelines, we are still meeting weekly with no more than six people and it's going very well.  With the continued help of our volunteer watering crew, everything is growing healthily and we are benefiting from the recent warmer weather that has brought the crops on.
All the soft fruit is now over, most of which did well, although the strawberries weren't too good - time for a change maybe.  Our prolific blackcurrant bushes have performed superbly again this year and been made into jam, cordial and been frozen for future pies and crumbles.  The gooseberries, which are mainly the red variety, have also produced very good fruit.
We are now starting to pick lots of beans and this week we lifted the potatoes.  We should soon be harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers from the polytunnel.
One of the main tasks over the next few weeks will be to clear the space that has been earmarked for our new, bigger polytunnel.  Once all the old crops have been cleared we'll give the whole area a good dig over to get rid of as many pernicious weeds as possible - bindweed being a particular problem!  We shall then cover the area until the construction takes place which, with any luck, will start in the second half of October.
28th June
All the fruit and veg beds are looking splendid. A huge thank you to all the people on the daily watering rota who have kept everything growing well.

Click on the first image below to enlarge and scroll through.
Thursday 11th June
Now that we are able to gather in groups of six people, the allotment sessions have re-started but only on a strict rota system so that we don't get overcrowded.
For the first session, we had five allotmenteers and, despite the heavy downpours, managed to get a decent amount of jobs done.
The allotment is looking lovely thanks to a few of the group who have made sure everything we planned to plant has been done.  With all the hot weather a few weeks ago, I had to put out a call to the orchard volunteers for a watering rota so that all the hard work wasn't wasted.  Happily, I had enough people so that each team of two only had to do one session per week.  All the crops are now getting a drink at least twice a week and, with this recent rain, have shot on rapidly.  With any luck we'll have a bumper harvest this year.
The Cream Spot Tiger moth (top right, opposite) was snapped on a broad bean early one morning.
Thursday 6th February
We had a decent turnout in the sun this afternoon, despite the chill in
the air. We started working on a few of the beds that had old crops left
over or that had become a bit weedy.
We are awaiting a delivery of edging boards from the Town Council so
that we can smarten all the beds up before the spring planting starts.

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