2020 Sessions

w/s July 4th:

With changes to advice we are now permitting small groups with social distancing for those families that are comfortable with this

w/s March 23rd:

The new government advice means we will only be attending the plot in isolated household/family groups.

w/s March 16th:

Due to COVID19 Angela and Robina are no longer going to be physically present, but will instruct.

Children will social distance and arrive in a rota with only a small number present at any given time.

Saturday 26th September (Nominal)

Saturday 19th September (Nominal)

Saturday 12th September (Nominal)

Again much as in  previous sessions.  Look around the plot at what is ready to harvest, produce that is still developing and what has now finished,  we shall try and aim for getting all individual plots and shared beds empty by mid October , EXCEPT where plants are still producing a harvest and ones that are growing and will stand through winter into next year. In the coming sessions we shall be “ putting the plot to bed” and planning ahead for next year.

INDIVIDUAL BEDS

Carry on harvesting produce that is ready. When plants have come to an end, clear that section, ensuring that you remove all weeds. 

Sweetcorn cobs are  ready to harvest when the tassels are chocolate brown.  Hold the stem in one hand and twist the cob to detach it from the stem.  Chard and spinach, salad leaves  and beans mat still offer a harvest and tomatoes are starting to redden.  Beetroot and carrots are probably ready to harvest they are perhaps unlikely to grow much bigger even if we leave them.  Leave turnips a little longer and leek seedlings will stay until end of October or maybe through to next year.  Sweetpeas are certainly coming to any end.  If you have particularly liked the colours and variety of your flowers you may like to collect some seedpods.  If so leave the plants to die down and the pods to ripen.  If you don’t want to collect the seed, when flowering finishes remove the dying plants and supports.  Cosmos and marigolds will keep on producing flowers till late autumn or any frosts.

SHARED TASKS

Again not specifically allocated but it would be appreciated if they could be completed by Sunday afternoon.

  1. Water all plants growing in the greenhouse.
  2. Water all the plants on the salad bed – tomatoes, cucumber, mizuna and turnips.
  3. After the harvest of sweetcorn has been completed ( see later)  please remove all plants, weeds growing in that bed leaving only the spinach.

Saturday 5th September (Nominal)

This week again is very like last week and I am pasting much of Session 24 notes in below. Once again, I am indicating produce that is / may be available and leaving families to pick the harvests for themselves.

INDIVIDUAL BEDS

Nothing specific but check for produce that is ready and harvest, weed round seedlings etc that are growing, pick flowers, deadheading in order to stimulate more flowers to develop.

SHARED TASKS

Thanks to those volunteers who completed the shared tasks – I think that probably all were completed by the end of Saturday. Again I am not allocating these to a specific person just hoping that they will get done by somebody, and all items in the list get ticked off..

  • Water plants growing in the greenhouse – tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines ( one is developing – don’t touch it!) Why only one aubergine from all those flowers I’m not sure. In my greenhouse I have 2 plants; 4 aubergines are growing – 1 on one plant, 3 on the other. Again lots of flowers that haven’t set fruit.
  • Water tomatoes and cucumber plant on salad bed
  • Pick up fallen apples that are very bruised and put them in the green bin

Saturday 29th August (Nominal)

Because of the weather last weekend,  and perhaps because people were out of York,  it seems that there were only a few families down on the Plot.  Some produce harvested and prepared in bunches etc, didn’t get taken home.

So I am revising things for this coming weekend.  I’ll indicate produce that MAY be ready to pick and families pick just for themselves. 

INDIVIDUAL BEDS

As the last few weeks.  Nothing specific but check for produce that is ready, weed round seedlings etc that are growing, pick flowers, deadheading in order to stimulate more  flowers to develop.  It was very windy and a few branches of Cosmos were broken off by the wind.

SHARED TASKS – I am not allocating these to a specific person.  I’m hoping that there will be ready volunteers who do a task and tick it off on the list.

  • Water plants growing in the greenhouse – tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines ( one is developing  – don’t touch it!)
  • Water tomatoes and cucumber plant on salad bed
  • Pick up fallen apples that are very bruised and put them in the green bin.  If fallen apples look Ok , they can be taken home and used first.
  • Can someone weed the bed where the leeks are planted? Tow white cosmos flowers in the middle of the bed. 

Saturday 22nd August (Nominal)

OWN PLOTS

Continue weeding, harvesting, watering of previous weeks.

SHARED ACTIVITIES

FRIDAY PM 

  • Tidy onions and any remaining shallots in trays – leave Anna’s-  ( i.e. trim off roots and trim back dried stems to about 3 inches)  and tie then into bunches of 4-6 depending on size.
  • Isla, I think the onions you planted alongside the carrots and parsnips are now ready to lift and leave in a tray in the shelter to dry off thoroughly.
  • Pick your self 3 eating apples and 2 cooking apples  and a bunch of grapes to take home.  ( Remember when an apple is ready you won’t need to pull it ,  a small twist of the stem will be sufficient. If you want to try apples from one of the trees outside the plot you can do so)
  • You can pick for yourself one other harvest ( courgette / 2 tomatoes/ bunch of spinach/ small bunch of beans , tray of shallots, bunch of  onions, 2/3 beetroot.) 

SATURDAY AM GROUP

  • Pick any French beans that are ready – both climbing and dwarf ( dwarf near spinach in shared bed).  Tie them into bunches.
  • Harvest the beetroot from the shared bed. Group and tie into bunches of 2/3 depending on size.
  • Pick your self 3 eating apples and 2 cooking apples  and a bunch of grapes to take home.  ( Remember when an apple is ready you won’t need to pull it ,  a small twist of the stem will be sufficient. If you want to try apples from one of the trees outside the plot you can do so)
  • You can pick for yourself one other harvest ( courgette / 2 tomatoes/ bunch of spinach/ small bunch of beans , tray of shallots, bunch of  onions, 2/3 beetroot.) 

SATURDAY PM GROUP

  • Water tomatoes and cucumber and aubergine plants in the greenhouse.  You may notice that I have trimmed off the lower leaves of the tomatoes.  This is hopefully to help the tomatoes ripen more quickly.
  • Cut some of  the spinach leaves  and tie them into small bunches.  Leave the spinach sitting in water so that the leaves won’t wilt.
  • Pick your self 3 eating apples and 2 cooking apples  and a bunch of grapes to take home.  ( Remember when an apple is ready you won’t need to pull it ,  a small twist of the stem will be sufficient. If you want to try apples from one of the trees outside the plot you can do so)
  • You can pick for yourself one other harvest ( courgette / 2 tomatoes/ bunch of spinach/ small bunch of beans , tray of shallots, bunch of  onions, 2/3 beetroot.) 

SUNDAY GROUPS – Do one or two of the tasks listed under A and then do the tasks under B 

  • Harvest the remaining row of  potatoes at the end of the potato bed – these are main crop potatoes. Leave in a tray in the shelter.
  • Water the tomatoes and cucumber in the shared salad bed
  • Harvest the row of potatoes at the end if the salad bed – these are pink fir apple potatoes ( nobbly ones) . Leave in a tray in the shelter.
  • Water the cabbage plants in both beds that are covered with net

Saturday 15th August (Nominal)

This week is very similar to the last two. There will possibly be harvests on your own plot, ( produce and flowers), There will also be harvests on the shared plots – (beans – runner, French and dwarf French) , possibly tomatoes and cucumbers to harvest in the greenhouse or on the shared salad bed. Some apples, both eating and cooking. may be ready to pick and don’t forget more bunches of grapes from the shelter

INDIVIDUAL BEDS
Ongoing maintenance and harvest, tidy and water.
SHARED TASKS
Again I shall list the jobs to do and request that they are done and ticked off by
whoever has done them.

  1. Water tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines in the greenhouse.
  2. Water tomatoes and cucumber on salad bed.
  3. and 4, Dress the shared shallots we harvested. There are two trays of shallots
    now well dried in the shelter. If we were entering them in Fulford Show we
    would prepare our exhibits by dressing them. No shows are taking place but, if
    we “dress” the shallots they will be nicely tidied ready to go home and ready
    to be stored away for later use. To dress the shallots : –
    a) Break them into separate shallots.
    b) Use the yellow secateurs to trim off the roots and trim away the dead
    leaves , leaving a small stem at the top of the shallot.
    c) When complete they can be put into large yoghurt pots to carry home (
    I guess 4 /5 pots will be made.)
  4. Dress the shared onions in a similar way but keep a taller stem so that a bunch
    of 6 onions can be tied together . ( I guess perhaps 4 bunches will be made)
  5. Plant out 4 sprout plantlets in the prepared bed ( where the potatoes were
    previously) . This method applies to task 6, 7 and 8 .
    a) Plant 2 rows of 2 plants well spaced apart. ( about 12 ins between the plants)
    b) Water the 4 plants well before you take them out of the unit tray.
    c) Make 4 deep holes and put some water in the bottom. The plants will need to be
    planted a little deeper than they currently sit in the unit tray.
    d) Put a small plant in each hole and push the soil round firming the plants well down
    e) Water the 4 plants well after planting.
  6. Plant out 4 broccoli plants in the prepared bed ( see above instructions)
  7. Plant out 6 purple sprouting broccoli plants ( 2 rows of 3 plants, see instructions
    above.

Saturday 8th August (Nominal)

As far as shared tasks are concerned I plan to list jobs that need doing but suggest that people just work down the list, tick off what is completed so that the next family can do the following task – so no numbering.

LOOKING ROUND THE PLOT

You will see that extensive summer pruning has taken place on the apple and pear espaliers and on the plum fan, also the redcurrant bush. ( Louise, Robina and I are responsible) .This has removed much of the lengthy new growth of this year, ( except for the tall growth which we need to have a step ladder to do) . We have cut these stems down leaving only 3 leaves. This means that the tree can concentrate its energy on developing the fruit. Some apples fell in the winds of last week – windfalls in a tray can be taken home if wanted.

We have also started to cut back fruited raspberry canes and tie this year’s growth to the wire supports. Some I have left as they are still producing fruit. Soon the autumn fruiting raspberry canes will be producing fruit – and they will go on producing into October.

Fruit is developing. Brambles are changing colour and with the warmth they will sweeten. You can pick them from the plot or take a walk down the lanes. Brambles can be picked at the path side but of course you don’t go on to anyone’s plot without permission.

There are some lovely flowers on many beds. Remember to remove any faded or dead flowers ( cut back to the stem joint) so that the plant will keep on producing more flowers. Any flowers growing on Jocelyn’s or Anna’s plot can be picked as shared produce.

INDIVIDUAL PLOTS

Much as before – Harvest as produce becomes ready, Keep well watered. I have left 6 /7 lollo rossa lettuce seedlings. If you have an empty section and want to plant 2 seedlings , they will be ready to harvest later in the autumn. If you have any shallots that you lifted and left to dry in the shelter they can now be taken home to use or store. Keep them in a cool, dark , airy place.

SHARED TASKS

  • Water all plants in the greenhouse – tomatoes, aubergines and cucumbers
  • Water all plants on the salad bed – tomatoes and cucumber and rows of seedlings .
  • Deadhead flowers on shared beds
  • Perhaps someone can fill up the comfrey green barrel using the hose. ( I’ll then add some more leaves into one of the comfrey bags. This can be a bit of a messy job so I’ll do it.)

Saturday 1st August (Nominal)

Things are moving very quickly now, and harvests appear to be earlier than usual. The grapes are not usually ready to pick before the end of August but I shall be inviting you to pick a bunch, where all the grapes have turned purple, from well inside the shelter ( maybe sample one to check that it is sweet enough to pick) and take home. Maybe the extra warmth that our new roof has brought has helped the grapes on a bit. Some of the blackberries around the plot and in the lanes are starting to turn but I caution to wait a little longer for the sweetness to come. Certainly I think the hot weather during the early weeks of lockdown probably have something to do with this early ripening. In the greenhouse I noticed suddenly that there are more tomatoes developing and some small swellings are starting where aubergine flowers have died. They don’t yet look like aubergines that you see in the shops but “from little acorns , giant oak trees grow”. Some french beans are ready to pick but the runners are slower to develop. ( I’m hoping the bright orange flowers on the plants growing next to the courgettes herald runner beans.) We’ve has some very windy, gusty weather at the beginning of the week and you will see that I have endeavoured to add some supports where necessary especially for the sweet peas.

INDIVIDUAL BEDS
There is little to add from that of previous weeks. Keep checking your plants for harvesting – carrots, peas and beetroot maybe are ready to harvest as baby produce or you leave them a few weeks for larger ones. Keep maintaining your tomatoes (support, remove side growths and feed and water) and look for those small tomatoes swelling. And if you have sweet peas and other flowers ( marigolds etc) they need picking and any flowers that have died need removing. If you have been away and want to plant some leeks or sow some red kale in an empty section, Then check the instructions from 2 weeks ago for specific advice ( especially for planting leek seedlings.) If you harvested your shallots a few weeks ago and left them to dry in the shelter they should by now have dried out, and they can be taken home. Separate the little shallots from one another ( they may well have broken apart). Trim off any long dried leaves and then either use the shallots straight away or store them in a cool, dry place ( a garage??) ideally in a net bag ( an old shopping bag??) which means air can circulate.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Water and feed the tomatoes in the greenhouse
  2. Water and feed the cucumber and aubergines in the greenhouse
  3. Water and feed the tomatoes and cucumber on the salad bed
  4. Deadhead any flowers in the Rainbow Bed
  5. Water and feed the courgette plants

Saturday 25th July (Nominal)

Thanks to Richard for assembling the new picnic table, and to Minesh for making two applications of protective oil. Robina has not been seen on the plot but her contribution is there to see – a fully weeded fruit tree border and, today a weeded and tidied strawberry patch. Thank you to all for their efforts.

Check out again what is growing and changing. Did you notice that there are flowers on the aubergine plants in the greenhouse? I counted 4 flowers. When the flowers die let’s hope we see 4 small aubergines starting to develop. Whilst in the greenhouse also check out the cucumber plants – small cucumbers may well also be starting to swell. Tomatoes are also becoming larger.

Your plots have been very productive. I’ve spotted some pea pods hanging on the pea shoots. Wait till the pods are really full before you pick them.

There is a wide variety of flowers and I’m pleased that so many of you were able to pick a bunch of flowers to take home. It might be that you can pick another bunch this week as well.

INDIVIDUAL PLOTS

Very much the same as on previous weeks. Make sure you still keep looking after your tomato plants, and sunflower plants. I have measured all the flowers out to date but some flowers are not yet out. When all plants have grown to their maximum height I shall measure all the plants.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Time now to harvest the rows of first and second early potatoes.
  2. Caring and watering of greenhouse plants
  3. Caring and watering of tomato and cucumber plants growing in the salad bed.

Saturday July 18th (Nominal)

Things to check out
a) Have you seen the grapes are starting to change colour, especially those under
the warmth of the roof? It will be some weeks before they are ready to eat.
b) Have you seen how the small tomato starts to grow as the tomato flower dies?
Watering and feeding is very important now . Remember a tomato is full of
liquid. Our ready diluted comfrey juice does the two jobs.
c) As your sunflower plants flower I am measuring the width across the middle
of the flower to determine the largest flower. I shall also be measuring the
different heights so we find out which is the tallest.
d) If you see any dead flowers on your flowering plants, cut them off with
secateurs. Your plants will continue to flower for longer. And keep on picking
the flowers as they appear.
e) Please make sure that any tools are returned to the shelter. The last 3 weeks I
have found hand forks, trowels and even a pair of yellow secateurs left on the
plots.

INDIVIDUAL BEDS

A repeat really of things from last week. Maintaining plants that are growing, harvesting where crops that are ready and then filling empty sections with other crops. If you didn’t get this done last week, there is time to do it this week.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Planting 1 rows of leeks in old onion bed. Leeks to be 4inches ( 10cm apart,
    rows 8 inches( 20cm apart)
  2. Plant 3 cabbage seedlings.
  3. Plant 4 green broccoli seedlings
  4. Plant 4 kale plants .
  5. Plant 4 sprout seedlings

Planting plants in the cabbage family. These need quite a lot of space so it is
important to follow the directions. We shall change the bean bed into a cabbage
family bed. I have put sticks in and suggest that you make a deep zigzag with each row of planting so that each plant is about 15-18 ins away from another plant. (Avoid the remains of the bean plant roots). The seedlings have been in the trays and pots for some time and they may be a bit root bound. Try and just tease the roots out of the soil a bit. Make sure your planting hole is deep, they need to be planted beyond the depth they sit in the tray. Push the soil round the plant and push down very firmly round the plant. Of course water well afterwards. At the end of the session I will rig up some protection for these seedlings to keep the wild life from nibbling the young leaves.

Harvests
I’ll leave a note on the blackboard, but there may be some red currants and raspberries to forage. Otherwise a bunch of flowers mixed with some sprigs of herbs would be nice ( Flowers can be picked from the Rainbow Bed). If picking sweet peas cut at the bottom of the flower stem, where it meets the main stem. Next week our second early potatoes may be ready to harvest.

Saturday July 11th (Nominal)

Take a good look around the allotment – so much happening these days. Maintenance on your own plot and possible new crops to  fill empty sections. Maintenance on shared plots and possible news crops to add.

INDIVIDUAL TASKS

  1. Maintenance – Where applicable -care and feed tomatoes with comfrey juice, feed courgette plants with comfrey juice, large cosmos plants may benefit from tying in to a cane support ( make sure the cane is well pushed in), continue to harvest beans and cut down when all beans picked leaving roots in the ground.  Remember to keep your sections free of weeds – weeds take moisture that your plants need.  
  2. Harvest shallots if the leaves have died down.  Use a  hand fork and leave in a small tray in the shelter ( add your name label to the tray)
  3. If you have any empty sections in your plot you can  sow a row of  salad leaves,  or a row of red kale, or  a row of turnip seed or plant out some leek seedlings as possible new crops to fill the spaces.
  4. Ensure your sunflower plant is supported and watered.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Care of Tomato plants in green house. ( support and feed with comfrey juice)Care of cucumber and aubergine plants in greenhouse   ( feed with comfrey juice)
  2. Care of tomato plants on shared salad bed  ( support and feed with comfrey juice.)
  3. Sow 1 row of salad leaves on the salad bed.  ( shallow drill / trench , water the trench with rose,  sow thinly, cover over , label and water.)
  4. Sow 1 row of red kale on the salad bed
  5. Sow 1 row of turnip seeds  on the salad bed ( shallow drill/ trench , water the trench with rose,  sow thinly, cover over , label and water.
  6. Lift remaining red onions in the onion bed ( leave shallots  till leaves go brown) .

Saturday July 4th (nominal)

OUTLINE

I hope that those families who have opted to link together with another family for a session enjoy some of the social interactions that can safely occur.  Just look around at how the different plants we have in your own beds, in the shared beds and in the greenhouse are developing – flowers, fruits, seedheads. If we want the plants to keep on producing flowers we need to “ deadhead” the  flowers. 

 Keep harvesting any produce that is ready on your plot and if the plants on a section have finished than clear the section ready for a final planting. 

Some shared harvests to enjoy.

INDIVIDUAL PLOTS

  1. Continue to care for your tomato plants.  Remove any side shoots that continue to grow in the axil of the leaf and stem, and move the clip up the stem to offer more support.  Water your plant with the Comfrey feed in the Green bin near the greenhouse.
  2. Continue to care for your sunflowers.  Move the clip up the stem or add some more twine to ensure the plant is supported.  Water again with the Comfrey juice.  This will encourage flowering and remember,  we said we would be looking for the tallest plant and also the one with the biggest flower.
  3. If your broad beans have all been picked, cut the plants down but leave the roots in the soil to rot down. This will add goodness for the next crop in that section.
  4. Many of your shallots look as though they are ready. ( That is the leaves have started to go from green to yellow and are lying along the ground rather than sticking up tall.)  Take a handfork and lift the shallots out of the soil. The shallots need to be left to dry thoroughly  so that they will keep to be used a lot later. You could lift them and leave them in a tray on the counter in the shelter so that they can dry out.  Be sure to leave a label with your name on it in the tray.  If the weather looks hot and dry we could leave them on the surface of the soil on the plot and the sun will dry them but that depends on the weather forecast.
  5. If you have flowers growing on your plot, they may have already started to flower.  If you want your plants to keep on producing flowers it is important that you “Deadhead “ them i.e to remove the dead flowers by  cutting them off using little secateurs.  If you don’t deadhead the flowers,  seedheads will appear and the plant devotes its energy to growing that and it stops producing more flowers.  So another regular routine for you during he next few weeks.
  6. Many of your carrot plants look a bit squashed under the fleece.  This may be a good time to remove the fleece and allow the leaves to grow tall.  The leaves after all are making food which is then store in , we hope, your growing carrots. 
  7. Harvest any other produce that is ready and once a section is now empty , make sure that it is well weeded.  I’ll give you some more options for any empty sections to plant next week .

SHARED TASKS

  1. Deadhead any flowers on the Rainbow Bed that need to be removed
  2. Care for tomato plants  in green house – see instructions above.
  3. Care for cucumber plants in green house –  Do they need more support ? Add a plant clip / twine and secure to one of the canes.  Again water with comfrey juice. Water aubergine plants in grow bag with comfrey juice.
  4. Care for tomato plants  on shared salad bed – see 1 of Individual tasks
  5. Water pepper plants .
  6. A shared task that didn’t get done last week. The comfrey leaves that we cut earlier and put in bags in the green bin to rot down have done just that, but we can add some more.  Cut the stems of the large comfrey plant near the sink down near the bottom and then put the stems and leaves in the big netting bag next to the comfrey plant.  Make sure you have your gloves on and have your arms covered – the leaves and stem can be a bit hairy and uncomfortable to touch.  Then suspend the bag in the green bin at the bottom of the plot ( one bag is still suspended in it.)

Saturday June 27th (nominal)

OUTLINE

  • Have a good look around.
  • Work on individual plots including harvesting your potato pot.
  • Summer Fruit Tasting
  • Shared task
  • Shared harvest – lettuce , herbs

INDIVIDUAL PLOTS.

  • It is now almost 11 weeks since we planted our early potatoes in pots. Some potatoes flower as a sign that they can now be harvested but not all varieties do. But some of the leaves onyour plants have started to lighten in colour and that is a sure sign that they are ready to harvest.
  • Looking at your plots some of the some broad beans are looking ready to pick. If you can see the shape of the bean through the pod, they are ready to pick.
  • I reminded last week about picking chard and spinach when it is ready – the plants will then grow new leaves to replace those you picked.
  • I’ve seen a few lettuces that could also be harvested on individual beds. – If
    you want to leave them a couple of weeks to grow more, you can.
  • Same for beetroot. You can clearly see baby beetroot have developed at the base of the leaves. You can harvest the baby beets now or leave them a few weeks to grow bigger.
  • Shallots – some leaves are starting to brown and they may be ready to lift next week but if the leaves are green they will continue to make food for the plant and store it in the shallots at the bottom of the stem.
  • Look after your tomato plants – adjust the clip further up the stem, pinch out any side shoots growing inside the leaves and give them a water and feed with comfrey juice from the green water bin. It smells a bit “rural” but the plants love it. I’ve noticed that some of the tomato plants in the greenhouse are already showing small tomatoes. See how when a flower dies the base of the flower swells and a tomato forms. This is the time tomato plants need a feed.
  • Check your Sunflower plant. Does the clip need adjusting. Is it taller than
    you yet?

SHARED TASKS

  1. Look after the tomato plants in the greenhouse – see above.
  2. Look after tomato plants on the shared salad bed – again see the notes as above.
  3. Look after the 2 cucumber plants in the greenhouse. I’m afraid the cucumber plant on the salad bed has died ( no idea why ). Both plants are tying themselves into the canes as support. Check if they need a plant tie to help secure them. Water well. Water the aubergine plants in the growbag and water the pepper plants in pots ( rose on the watering can for these).
  4. The comfrey leaves that we cut earlier and put in bags in the green bin to rot down have done just that, but we can add some more. Cut the stems of the large comfrey plant near the sink down near the bottom and then put the stems and leaves in the big netting bag next to the comfrey plant. Make sure you have your gloves on and have your arms covered – the leaves and stem can be a bit hairy and uncomfortable to touch. Then suspend the bag in the green bin at the bottom of the plot ( one bag is still suspended in it.)
  5. Water all the courgette plants each side of the bean bed.
  6. Plant 2 cosmos on the cleared patch of soil between the two areas of onions. They will grow into large plants so plant them well apart. Make sure you set them deep in the soil. Also plant 3 lime green nicotiana in the green section of the Rainbow bed, about 6 inches apart. ( I’ve found a green flower!) Water well after planting
  7. Plant the blue lobelia plants in the blue section of the Rainbow bed. Plant them about 3 ins apart. Water well after planting

SUMMER FRUIT TASTING – WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SUMMER FRUIT?
A chance to sample and decide your choice!

Saturday June 20th (nominal)

  • Apples and pears on the trees developing nicely ( apples certainly benefiting from the summer cluster prune)
  • Grape bunches starting to look more like bunches of grapes..  If we want bigger grapes to come, we can  remove some of the small grapes on the bunches – but it is a very fiddly and tedious job.
  • When I harvested the beans for the bean harvests, I  cut the stems down but left the roots in the soil.  Bean roots add goodness to the soil as they degrade.  I have lifted one root out so you can see the small white nodules clinging to the roots – this is the nitrogen that beans add to the soil for the benefit of the next plants growing in that bed.  When you have harvested the beans on your plot I shall be asking you to do the same.
  • Really impressed at the beetroot growing on the shared bed ( now most of the lettuce have gone , we can see them better, ) and on your individual plots.
  • There some magnificent shallots developing.  While the leaves are green they will keep on feeding the shallots to grow bigger.  We shall look to harvest as the leaves die and we’ll find the shallots start to break up.
  • Look at the onions on the onion bed – Can you see small onions developing at the base of the stem?
  • Notice the different ways that plants support themselves.  Look at the runner beans – which direction do they twine round the canes – clockwise or anticlockwise?  Are they all the same?  Look how the sweet peas support themselves by twining their tendrils round the obelisk legs.  Which other plant has tendrils like that ?

INDIVIDUAL TASKS

Again it is mostly maintenance, and the tasks depend on what you are growing.

  1. Check your tomato plants .  Keep on removing the side shoots that grow between the leaves and the stem.  Adjust the clip further up the stem.  Can you see any tomato flowers developing yet? Make sure the watering pots are in place’
  2. If you have spinach or chard growing on your plot you can harvest some of the leaves.  More will grow, don’t worry.
  3. If you re-sowed radish , check whether any radishes have started to develop at the base of the stem.  If not this week maybe next.
  4. Remove any large weeds ( careful where the section is planted up).
  5. Water the plot ( unless we have had a lot of rain in the last few days)
  6. Water your potato plot.  I’m reckoning that we shall harvest these next weekend
  7. Check your sunflower.  Adjust the clip or add another tie and then make sure it is watered well.

SHARED TASKS  – ONLY 5 THIS WEEK

  1. Plant 2 pumpkin plants – 1 at the end of the bed near the sunflowers along from the winter squash planted last week; 1 in the bed nearby along by the fence.
  2. Plant 2 pumpkin plants ,  one at each end of the bed near the sink with the apple tree in the middle.
  3. Look after the tomatoes and the cucumbers  in the greenhouse – check tomatoes, ( as above ) , see if cucumbers need tying in to the cane support, water all.
  4. Water the  aubergines and the peppers in the greenhouse
  5. Look after the tomatoes on the salad bed ( see above) and check the cucumber plant – does it need tying in to the cane support yet.  Water all 

Saturday June 13th (nominal)

We are very much in a maintaining phase and harvesting as produce becomes ready.
Keep watching how things progress from week to week. After all the sun and warm
weather of two weeks ago, last week’s rain has been very welcome.

INDVIDUAL TASKS

General maintenance on your plot, removing any weeds.

This is the time when broad beans can be liable to black fly. They settle on
the nice new little leaves at the top of the plant. In order to avoid this cut out
the top bunch of leaves. The lower leaves will continue providing the “food”
for the small beans that will form after the flowers die, so these small leaves
will not be missed.

Continue to adjust the clips on tomato plants and pinch out any side growths
that appear between the stem and the leaves. Watch for the appearance of any
flower stalks.

Your potato pots all look really healthy. Make sure the pots get a good
watering if needed. This will be dependant upon the rainfall during the week.
I shall be expecting that about the end of June we shall be harvesting our
potato crops.

Keep adjusting the clip on your sunflower and keep it well watered.

The shared plot of beetroot and lettuce near the Rainbow Bed looks brilliant.
Everyone can choose and pick a lettuce to take home. After deciding which
one you fancy, use a small fork to pushdown at the side of the lettuce of your
choice and lift it out. Be careful , we want the beetroot to keep on growing so
we mustn’t interfere with the beetroot roots. Shake off any extra soil from the
root of the lettuce and leave it in the sink until you finish and are ready to
leave.

SHARED TASKS – CARRIED FORWARD FROM LAST WEEK

  1. Prick out peppers into 12 individual pots
  2. Make up large flower pot from lobelia, petunia and remaining ageratum

SHARED TASKS -SUNDAY VISITORS

  1. Look after the tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines in the green house.
  2. Remove side shoots of tomato plants, adjust clip up the stem; tie in the
    cucumber plant to a cane support using a plant clip , if available or some plant
    twine.
  3. Water all the growbags and pots using the water pots where they are
    available to make sure the water gets to the roots.
  4. Look after the tomatoes and cucumber plant on the salad bed. Same as above.
  5. Remove the top leaves from the bean shoots on the shared bed.
  6. Plant out 3 winter squash in the bed behind the sunflower plants. Spread them
    out along the bed in front of the sunflowers.
  7. Plant out the chard seedlings along the bed in front of the French bean
    wigwams and sweet peas.

HARVESTS
The lettuce harvest has been mentioned. There will also be some beans to distribute
and possibly some gooseberries to share out. And maybe a chance to pick some more
strawberries. Look at the blackboard near the gate to see what is available

EXTRA JOBS
For any Friday and Saturday visitors who would like an extra task – Elderberry
bushes and trees in the lanes on the allotment site are in flower at the moment. Louise
has offered to make some elderflower cordial from any florets collected at the
weekend. You will need to take a bucket and secateurs and look to collect florets that
have just opened and are in full bloom. Cut off the complete head of the flower.
While walking round the site look at the wild flowers that now decorate the lanes.
Perhaps take a photograph and let us see any favourite ones that you discover.
Obviously keeping on top of the weeding on shared beds and pathways will also be
most appreciated.

Saturday June 6th (nominal)

The glorious weather is continuing but helpers are making sure that the watering you do over  in your visit over the weekend, is being supplemented during the week.

OUTLINE 

Take a good look round.  Things are changing almost daily.  Just to explain that the vine has had its summer prune.  It means that we take out some of the growth and  I have removed some of the bunches.  This should mean that air can circulate better around the vine and , we hope , the bunches can develop bigger.  But it is still a long time to wait until the grapes will be ready to eat ( probably September). Take a look at the blackboard inside the gate.  This is where I put any last minute messages so worth checking out.  I may be saying you can have a harvest to take home this week.

ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL BED

We are now in a maintaining phase and the guidance will vary depending on what you have planted.

  1. I’ll explain specific things that need doing with tomatoes, peas, courgette, etc.
  2. Weeding around the plot will still be needed .  Be especially careful if a section contains seedlings.
  3. Watering of all sections on the plot.
  4. Watering your potato pot. Remember the counting routines from last week.
  5. Adjusting the clip on your sunflower and water well .

SHARED TASKS

  1. Add canes  and clips to each of the tomato plants in the greenhouse.  I have done one as a model.  Water  all the tomatoes in the greenhouse.
  2. Add canes to the 2 cucumber plants in the greenhouse. Look at the model I have done with the cucumber plant in the salad bed. Water the cucumber pots and the aubergine plants in the third grow bag.
  3. Add canes and clips to each of the tomato plants in the salad bed ( I have done one as a model. ) 
  4. We often see apple trees  have a “ JUNE DROP”.  Basically the tree gets rid of some of the little apples that are forming because the tree can’t cope with so many.  Pick up the apples on the floor under the first apple tree and put them in the RH compost bin.  Also reduce the little clusters of apples on the tree to 2 in a cluster – that way we get fewer, but bigger apples.
  5. Do the same as above with the second apple tree.
  6. Prick out 12 pepper seedlings  into small pots.
  7. Make a flower pot – use Thomas’ little  white lobelia round the edge, then plant the 3 petunia plants in the  middle. Water well.

Next week it will be the turn of Sunday visitors to do the shared tasks.

Saturday 30th May (Nominal)

INTRODUCTION

The threat of frosts is over and we can now plant out our tender plants which have been kept in the greenhouse or under cover until now.  The warm temperatures have meant that things have really put on a growth spurt and fruit is starting to swell and develop.  Watering has been very important and in this hot weather we have been watering thoroughly every 2 days. Dana and I harvested the garlic on Sunday.  The leaves had started to die, so no more growing would take place.  Unfortunately most of the garlic we lifted had gone mouldy ( a problem with our soil I think) but the few that are OK we laid out on the bed to dry off.

INDIVIDUAL BEDS

  1. If you planted peas last week they can now be uncovered and we need to add some support and protection.
  2. If you planted sweet pea seedlings they now need a bit of help to find and attach on to the support legs of the obelisk.
  3. If you have empty sections then this is the chance to fill them.  You can choose between 2 tomatoes, 1 courgette plant or 2 sweet corn plants.
  4. Remove any weeds, being particularly careful if there are seedlings growing in that section.
  5. Water all the sections. Water your potato pot.  Count to 10 whilst you are watering – potatoes are thirsty plants.
  6.  Adjust the clip on your sunflower and water well. Give yourself a slow count of 5 whilst watering your sunflower.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Plant 2 tomato plants in a grow bag in the greenhouse
  2. Plant 2 tomato plants in a grow bag in the greenhouse
  3. Plant 2 tomato plants in  a grow bag in the greenhouse. We shall end up with 2 grow bags, on each side of the greenhouse,  with 3 tomato plants in each grow bag.                                                                                         
  4. Plant 3 aubergine plants in the last grow bag in the green house
  5. Plant 2 cucumber plants in large pots in the greenhouse
  6. Plant a group of 6 sweet corn in the GREENS BED
  7. Plant a group of 6 sweet corn in the GREENS BED
  8. Sow 2 rows of radish at the end of the SALAD bed ( replacing the rows we have harvested)
  9. Plant 1 cucumber plant in a large pot on the SALAD bed.
  10. Plant 2 tomato plants in the SALAD bed
  11. Plant 2 tomato plants in the SALAD bed
  12. Plant 2 tomato plants in the SALAD bed

Saturday 23rd May (Nominal)

TOUR OF PLOT

Last week Isla and Kester  started cutting the comfrey leaves and stalk ready to bag them up and put the bags in the green bin near the greenhouse.  Lift the lid and look inside.  There can be quite  an “ agricultural” smell to the liquid as the process of decomposition begins. The strawberry patch is now covered to prevent birds coming and feasting on our strawberries as they ripen.  You can see the strawberries starting to swell.  Pollinating insects will easily get through the netting to visit the flowers that are just coming out.  Sunshine and Rainbow did an excellent job last week erecting the netting. How many kinds of fruit can you see developing  on trees, bushes, canes and plants?

INDIVIDUAL PLOTS

  1. Weed your plot. Take care where the section has seedlings in it.
  2. Fill up your potato pot if the soil is not yet up the top of the pot.
  3. Check your sunflower plant.  Has it grown during the week?  Does the plant clip need moving up the stem.
  4. If you want to plant your pea seedlings that you sowed in guttering in your plot, please consider a moment.  Did a lot of your peas grown?  If they did , and you want to plant peas in your pot  it can be done this week.  If they haven’t grown well, maybe better to contribute the pea seedlings that have grown to the shared plot and save the empty section for a different crop.  Remember by next week, we shall be thinking of planting tomatoes, courgettes, sweetcorn or dwarf beans.  So if you want to plant any of these crops make sure you have a section free..
  5. Give your plot, potato pot and sunflower pot a good water.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Plant pansy seedlings  in the front part of the indigo section of the Rainbow Bed. ( These were some of the seeds you sowed, Isla).
  2. Plant some Aegeratum seedling “ Blue Mink” in the blue section of the Rainbow Bed, in front of the cornflowers.  ( You sowed these seeds, Kester)
  3. Plant up some gazania in the orange section of the Rainbow Bed  near the middle of the bed after the marigold seedlings. ( These came from my sowings)
  4. Plant Climbing French beans round one of the green support structures  ( 2 plants at each station.)
  5. Plant Climbing beans round the second support structure ( 2 plants at each station)
  6. Plant runner beans along the line of tall canes
  7. Plant 3 yellow courgette plants on one side of the tall canes for runner beans.
  8. Plant 3 green courgettes on the other side of the tall canes for runner beans.
  9. Make a herb pot of annual herbs
  10. Make a herb pot of annual herbs.
  11. Sow a row of dwarf French beans on the GREENS bed.
  12. Sow a row of dwarf French beans on the GREENS bed

Saturday 16th May (Nominal)

LOOK AROUND THE PLOT

Have you spotted the first broad beans starting to grow on the plants in the bean bed?  Have you seen how the peas that you sowed in the guttering have germinated and are starting to grow?  Have you noticed all the fruit appearing and swelling – on apple and pear trees, currant bushes and gooseberries , strawberries and raspberries and on the vine.  Can you spot the row of  spring onions growing in the Salads Bed

INDIVIDUAL PLOTS

  1. Weed carefully all sections. 
  2. Fill potato plots if the plants have grown out of the soil.
  3. If you sowed carrots last week , give them some protection against carrot root fly.
  4. Add a supporting cane to your sunflower pot
  5. Do any of the planting tasks that you didn’t complete last week. If you harvested your radishes last week or do so this week put something in to replace them – lettuce seedlings or re-sow with radish seeds – maybe a different variety.
  6. Water well all sections, your potato pot and your sunflower pot.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Making Comfrey juice.
  2. Making Comfrey juice.
  3. Sow 2 rows of spinach in GREENS bed 
  4. Sow 1 row of Rocket in SALADS bed
  5. Earthing up potatoes
  6. Earthing up potatoes
  7. Add plants to rainbow bed
  8. Add plants to rainbow bed
  9. Add plants to rainbow bed
  10. Netting of strawberry bed. 
  11. Plant sweet peas round tripod in shared bed
  12. Plant 3 Cosmos seedlings into the small oblong bed between the climbing bean beds.

Saturday 9th May (Nominal)

LOOK AROUND THE PLOT

Changes are happening each week.  Have a real good look around.  I have removed your sunflower seedlings to sit outside the greenhouse.  We don’t want tall, straggly plants, so I want to slow their growth down a bit.  This week you will be planting one seedling up, to leave on the plot to grow on.  Remember there are 2 competitions  – to grow the tallest and the one with the biggest flower.

INDIVIDUAL TASKS

  1. Move your potato pot to stand on the border near your own bed.
  2. Look at you pot of sunflowers and pick the seedling that you think is the stronger to pot up.
  3. Are your radish ready to harvest?  Do your beetroot need a bit of thinning out?
  4. Decisions as to which plants you want to grow in the 3 empty sections.
  5. Water all the planted up sections and your potato pot.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Plant 2 rows of mixed lettuce seedlings in the SALADS bed.
  2. Plant 2 rows of lettuce seedlings between the rows of beetroot on the ROOTS bed.
  3. Sow 1 row of spinach seeds on GREENS bed.
  4. Weed the ground in BEANS and PEAS bed, ready for our peas to be planted when ready.
  5. Sow 2 pots of pumpkins ( 2 seeds per pot)
  6. Sow 2 pots of pumpkins (2 seeds per pot)
  7. Sow 2 pots of winter squash seeds ( 2 per pot)
  8. Sow 2 pots of winter squash seeds ( 2 per pot)
  9. Sow 1 pot of leeks 
  10. Start of Rainbow flower bed  – Plant out 9 marigold seedlings in ORANGE section
  11. Start of Rainbow Bed – Plant out 9 cornflowers in BLUE section.
  12. Start of  Rainbow Bed – Plant our 9 lettuce seedlings in GREEN section.

Saturday 2nd May (Nominal)

LOOK AROUND THE PLOT
Look for fruit appearing after the flowers on plants and trees have died. This is
a cycle that happens in. A seed is sown – it germinates – a plant grows – the
plant produces flowers, which attract pollinating insects by colour / smell, –
pollination take place – the ovary of the plant develops into a fruit, which may
be a seed in itself ( like a plum stone) or contains seeds ( like the pips in an
apple) and the seed can start the cycle all over again.
I prepared, and left on the green table,covered over with fleece ( like the
guttering), a tray of peas on some soil. I didn’t cover these peas with soil, so
if you want to take a peek under the fleece, you will be able to see what will
be happening to your peas in the guttering. Please leave the peas in the
guttering all covered over.
Window sill gardens – Did they grow? Did you eat the produce? The pea
shoots are not for planting as pea seedlings but to eat like a salad leaf. Does
the taste make you think of something?

INDIVIDUAL TASKS

  1. Potato Pots – your potato plants may well have started to grow and can now be seen above the soil. We now need to add more soil to the containers to bury the plants again and ensure more of the plants are under the soil, and more potatoes will be produced.
  2. Check your radish and beetroot – I have spotted some small radishes appearing at the base of the stems. Maybe leave them another week to let them become a bit bigger, before you harvest them. Most beetroot are growing well. I am struggling to see seedlings in a couple of your rows. If no beetroot have appeared you can re-sow the row if you like or you could sow some more radish or plant 2 or 3 lettuce seedlings.
  3. On most plots I can see that 5 shallots are growing. I think there are 3 beds where there is one shallot that isn’t growing. I’ve left 3 shallots to replace the ones that haven’t started to grow. Water all your planted sections and your potato pot after you have finished.

SHARED TASKS

To prevent the carrot root fly from attacking our recently sown carrot seed. Ethan
and Isla will plant some onions in between the rows of carrot ( the onion smell
will hide the smell of the carrots) and then cover the rows of carrot with fleece to
protect them further.

Prick out San Manzano tomato seedlings into pots

  1. Prick out Moneymaker tomato seedlings.
  2. Prick out some pansy and cornflower seedlings.
  3. Sow 2 pots of green courgettes ( 2 seeds in each pot)
  4. Sow 2 pots of peppers. ( spinkle thinly)
  5. Sow sweetcorn in a large unit tray . Each person does 4 rows ( that will be 20 sweet corn kernels sown by each person)
  6. Climbing runner beans. Sow one unit tray each with 1 bean in each section.
  7. Climbing french beans – Do 1 tray each, sow 2 beans in each section.

Saturday 25th April (Nominal)

TOUR OF THE PLOT
Keep looking each week at how things on the plot are developing. There is so much to see.

INDIVIDUAL TASKS

  1. Potato Pots – some of your potato plants are starting to emerge. We’ll leave it
    until next week to take the next step.
  2. Check your radish and beetroot.
  3. Sow some peas in a section of guttering. You may later want to put the seedlings that grow in your section in your own bed , or we can use them on a shared plot.
  4. Water all the planted up sections of your plot and your potato pot.
    SHARED TASKS
    We’ll now think about seeds that we can sow direct into the ground or ones that we won’t plant out until after the frosts have passed. We shall plant some carrots, spring onions, and parsnips in some of our shared beds. We shall also sow some green and yellow courgettes ready to then plant out a bit later when the warmer weather (days and nights) arrives. There will also be some more pricking out to be done of flower, vegetable and tomato seedlings.

Saturday 18th April (Nominal)

Tour of Plot

Notice how plants, bushes and fruit trees are coming into life – on your own plot and
around the allotment.

Individual Tasks

  1. An introduction to weeding
  2. Planting up your bean seedlings
  3. Planning ahead what crops you would like to grow in the empty sections
  4. Watering your plot and potato pot

Shared Activities

  1. Pricking out seedlings from pots into unit trays
  2. Setting onions into the soil

Saturday 11th April (Nominal)

TOUR OF PLOT

There are so many changes and things to look at.  Take some time and have  a really good look around. In the greenhouse very gently hold an onion set by the top shoots and brown covering and give it a little pull.. DON’T PULL IT OUT but can you feel something is holding the onion set into the soil.  You know what that is?

You should be able to feel the same as you gently try the same thing with a shallot or two that you planted in your plot.  DON’T TUG ; BE GENTLE. Notice the vine has really started to sprout.

INDIVIDUAL TASKS

  1. Plant your 3 seed potatoes into a Potato Pot.
  2. Sow a sunflower seed to join in our competitions – for  the tallest plant and the biggest flower 
  3. If your beans or the flower seeds that you planted have started to grow please take them out and put the beans on the plastic greenhouse near the sink and the pots of flower seedlings on the counter in the black trays.

SHARED TASKS

  1. Sow 1 row of potatoes – 1st early (Swift)
  2. Sow 1  row of 2nd early potatoes (Maris Piper)
  3. Sow 1 row of 2nd early potatoes (Maris Piper)
  4. Sow 1 row of main crop potatoes (Desirée )
  5. Sow 1 crop of main crop potatoes ( Desirée)
  6. Sow 1 row of Pink Fir Apple potatoes in separate bed (where the line of bulbs were)
  7. Sow 1 variety of annual Herb seed. (basil – sweet green)
  8. Sow 1 variety of annual herb seed (parsley)
  9. Sow 1 variety of annual herb seed (chives / garlic chives)
  10. Sow 1 variety of annual herb seed (coriander)
  11. Sow 1 variety of annual herb seed (basil – Red Rubin)
  12. Sow 1 variety of annual herb  seed (Caraway)

Saturday 4th April (Nominal)

TOUR OF PLOT – Check the trays of bean seeds and pots of flower seeds you planted in session 1.  Many of these are now shooting up.  Don’t worry if yours are not yet showing,  We shall soon be able to share our first harvest – some purple sprouting broccoli is developing now and the rhubarb under the bin is getting taller. Can you see any small flowers on the gooseberry bushes – they don’t have much colour like other flowers and can be tricky to spot. Easier to spot are the flowers on the redcurrant bush. How many flowers we can spot is a sign of how good our harvest will be.

OWN PLOTS

  • Last week you sowed radish and beetroot seeds in your bed.  These seeds usually don’t take long to start to appear BUT slugs  and birds  will also be watching and small tender seedling leaves can be very attractive to slugs and  some birds to nibble. Can you design some protection for your seedlings? 
  • An edible window sill box – cress, salad leaves or pea shoots – can be set up to have at home on your window sill. 

SHARED BED TASKS

  1. Sow sweet peas in the toilet rolls
  2. )        “                 “           “
  3. )         “                 “           “
  4. )          “                 “            “
  5. Sow Tomato seeds ( 4 varieties) in pots 
  6. )          “                 “
  7. )           “                 “   
  8. )           “                 “  
  9. ) Sow 3 rows of radish across the SALAD bed( 1 each of 3 varieties)
  10. ) Sow 1 pot Rainbow chard
  11. ) Sow 1 pot of Spinach
  12. ) Sow 1 pot of Leeks

Saturday 28th March (Nominal)

Look around the plot – note things changing /developing from last week.  Look at the rhubarb under black bin ( what do you notice.  Compare with the other rhubarb plants around).   Look at seeds trays in greenhouse – any sign of life – don’t water I’ll do that so they don’t get over-watered. Can you see any signs of life on the grape vine?

Things to do – 

  1. Sowing 1 row of beetroot  and 1 row of radish in own plot
  2. Worm Hunt  – some research references to follow up     
  3. Do one of the 12 shared activities.  Start at the top of the list with No 1 and other children to follow.    
  4. Children might like to make their own diary about the Plot in 2020- either written or digital.      

Saturday 21st March ( our first session trying out our new arrangement)
Things to do –

  1.  Planting Shallots on own plot
  2.  Starting onion sets ( white and red ) in see unit trays
  3.  Sowing flower seeds in small pots
  4.  Bunch of flowers for Mothers’ Day

Saturday 14th March – Our opening session of 2020
Outline of the session

  1. Introduction of  children to each other and  a tour of the plot to see what has happened  over the winter period and notice signs of new growth.
  2. One plant of rhubarb was covered and left in the dark to force
  3. Children chose their own individual beds 
  4. Preparation of beds for the season – remove stones;  break down lumps of soil with a hand fork; rake level and  scatter  pellets of chicken manure on to the plot.
  5. Each child sows 12 broad beans in a 6-tray.
  6. Each child chooses 3 seed potatoes to take home to chit ( Arran Pilot, Swift, Rocket)