Page 63 - Simply Vegetables Winter 2020/21
P. 63

                                Kent DA
Sadly, at this point there is not much for me to report. At the time of
writing (early November) we are all preparing for a second lockdown.
The Coronavirus situation is getting worse and is very worrying. This is the time of year when we would normally be reporting on our DA Show which had to be cancelled along with all meetings and events since March. Some local gardening societies around the county did manage to organise virtual shows which kept the interest going and were good fun.
Record breaking weather conditions during the year provided some challenging conditions for gardeners. February saw three storms and was the wettest since 1862. The Spring which followed was the sunniest on record
with the month of May being the driest on record. Some Summer days were extremely hot with temperatures above 30°C. Windy conditions were also a feature of the Summer. The Autumn so far has been mixed with some prolonged periods of rain and a hot spell in mid- September where a high temperature of 31.3°C was recorded at Frittenden.
Despite the weather conditions, most gardeners I have spoken to have had a good year with their vegetable growing. The only crop failure were runner beans, probably due to lack of rain and very hot and windy days. People have been able to devote a lot more time to their vegetable plots and our allotment site has looked its tidiest ever. Some DA members have reported good results with show veg varieties. Chris Spree was picking tomatoes and cucumbers when most people are just thinking
of sowing the seed! Gordon Francis grew some superb exhibition onions and Roger Simmons’ parsnips were as perfect as ever!
Let us hope that it will be possible to resume our DA meetings and shows sometime in 2021, we will just have to wait and see how things go. Until then please keep safe and keep growing.
Chris Passey
Hants DA
Writing this on the eve of the second lockdown, I am sticking resolutely to the philosophy “My glass is half full” and hope you are all safe and well and have had a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas by the time you read this.
At the time of writing, so much remains uncertain for 2021. However, as veg growers, we should stay optimistic for the year ahead. After all, if we do not carry on as normal and grow veg, what will we do with our time? At least we can eat our exhibits.
To give hope, with regard to the Southern Championships at the New Forest Show, please continue to grow to show from mid July. We will know more in January, but rest assured, there is a Plan A, B and C.
Prior to that, we are determined to have the Hants DA Plant Sale in May – if not in Wellow Village Hall, or the car park, we will have it in Romsey market. So please grow some extra veg to donate to our sale and we will find a way to hold it.
Looking back over last year, our last meeting was in March. Shows were cancelled and exhibitors were disappointed, but most reported having grown their best vegetables ever, despite the scorching weather. I bucked the trend and my veggies were dreadful, it went against the grain having to add veg to my supermarket order well before the end of summer. Mind you,
I did finally succeed in growing a giant sunflower so there is always hope.
We held the Hants DA AGM in December by email. Prior to this, I emailed asking for nominations for the committee and enquiring who would be happy to Zoom. Although
not expecting a massive response, I only received four replies. My “glass half full” felt rather empty because of this. Many thanks to the four who replied.
Sadly, Jim Townsend had to stand down from the Hants DA committee for personal reasons. We miss him very much on the committee, but are very grateful to Ted Perren for standing in as Chair until we
can recruit someone new. The rest of the committee remains unchanged.
With regard to Zoom, we wanted to assess who would use this platform. We are conscious not everyone has the facility, and do not want members to feel excluded. Perhaps the lack of replies suggests ‘no’ to Zoom for the time being.
The Hampshire Potato Day at Whitchurch this January is cancelled. We will miss attending this event, but as they say, ‘there is always next year’.
For our monthly meetings at Wellow Village Hall, we have looked into using the Main Hall so that we can socially distance. In our normal room we are only allowed
8 people, rendering meetings impossible.
At the time of enquiring, the Main Hall is
only available at the weekend. Weekdays may free up, if groups using the hall before lockdown decide not to reform. Everything remains very uncertain and understandably the hall is not able to take bookings at this stage. Perhaps if the option is meeting at the weekend or not at all, our members may be prepared to switch days until life becomes more normal?
If our February meeting goes ahead, then the talk by James Hocking on “The Golden State - California’s Finest Wines” is likely to switch from Tues 9th Feb to Saturday 13th. We will only know for certain when village hall starts taking bookings again. James has already run this talk under social distancing guidelines so it will be safe for members.
It will be best to check the NVS website for Hants DA events. For the most up to date news, I keep members informed by email. Please contact me on alison_clarke@ if you would like to be added to the circulation list.
There is always hope.
   Devon DA
The Devon DA closed earlier this year at its AGM.
I would like to ask and get the feedback of the members of Devon and Cornwall to see if they would like the Devon DA to re-open again. (it would be really good if this is possible)
I have had enquiries from people who are interested to join, also possibly interested to take some kind of office on the committee.
Any suggestions of areas where meetings could possibly be held would also be appreciated especially as Devon and Cornwall covers such a vast area. We could possible meet alternatively in each county. I am unable to contact everyone as I do not have their details, so hopefully seeing this in the Simply Vegetables magazine will help. Should
there be sufficient interest to re-open the Devon DA again, I can be contacted either by or 07768 583535.
Joe Wallis, Treasurer, Devon DA
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