Page 16 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 16

on the...
Kings plot
from June to early September 2019
  As we moved through the month
of June, it became good growing weather; warm days with several offering frequent showers of 6-20mm of rain, which helped freshly planted sweetcorn, courgettes and outdoor tomatoes to get established, and
young seedlings to put on some growth. Towards the end of June, we had several days that were very warm and humid, and blight showed its ugly head on the allotment site. This spread through the Early & Second Early potatoes very quickly, resulting in the foliage having to be cut back to stop it spreading to the tubers. On lifting the crop in August, there were plenty of tubers but slightly smaller than usual due to being cut back so early. The main crop varieties and the ones that showed some blight resistance like Sarpo Mira and Setanta were virtually untouched and just had the odd affected leaf
that was picked off. Strangely this early attack of blight did not affect
the outdoor tomatoes and, as I write this piece, I am picking bucketloads of Mountain Magic, Vesper and a new variety Cocktail Crush – all show good blight resistance and have proven that they are worth growing outside.
July was very hot and keeping plants well-watered in the evenings was
the main task. I tend to concentrate
on those crops that really need it
like runner beans, courgettes and squashes. I do not worry about root crops as they will search for moisture. When watering, it is important to give them a really good soaking, rather than just a dribble along each row. Many times, I am asked: how come your runner beans look so fresh and are producing so many beans? I always mention water and most plotholders are surprised that on a twelve -foot double row, I put 8-10 gallons per night; no wonder my arms are getting longer from carrying all those cans. My
Brassica crops, despite the attack by flea beetle early in the year, have grown very well, and my Brussels sprouts Brodie and Brendan are looking very good, standing over a meter tall, with buttons already starting to appear. Cabbage White butterflies did try to spoil things, laying their eggs whilst
I was away on holiday, but luckily, I spotted the first caterpillars quickly and dealt with them.
During May, June and July our allotments are judged for Best Kept
on site. This year I came second, with Graham and Sue Whybrow coming first with three very well-maintained plots filled with colourful cut flowers, fruit and vegetables, and in my opinion were worthy winners this year. We also have a Best Kept Polytunnel Plot and this I won for the third year running. I must admit my tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the polytunnel this year have been very good, and I have been picking masses of fruit.
August was still very warm, but at least some of the evenings cooled down, and we also had an occasional shower to keep things going. Runner beans, sweetcorn and salad have produced bumper crops, the cut flowers have continued to bloom all summer and
I have lifted an abundance of carrots. The carrot Eskimo sown in June under an enviromesh cloche germinated well and will be just right to lift as finger carrots for Christmas. In early September it is ‘Show Time’; the Capel St Mary Allotment Society puts on
its annual show and I have been an exhibitor for over 30 years. This, like most years, was a very well-supported show with over 600 entries, and the quality of flowers and vegetables on display were outstanding. This year I entered 40 classes of vegetables and flowers, winning 26-first, 4-seconds and 5-thirds. These included wins
Cabbage White butterflies did try to spoil things, laying their eggs whilst I was away on holiday
            16 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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