Any gardener or allotment plot holder will confirm, unsurprisingly, that water is an essential ingredient for all crops, and at Colchester Avenue allotments, we’re lucky to have a supply of running water. But this resource doesn’t come for free, and because we have access to a mains water supply doesn’t mean we should take advantage of this and not put any effort into conserving water and collecting our own water.

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Crop rotation is a term many new plot holders find a bit daunting and something most veteran plot holders swear by. Either way, it’s something which needs some thought. If you’ve set aside some of your plot for perennials, next you can put some thought into rotation of your crops.

You’ll find once you’ve decided what you’ll be growing on your plot, odds are they’ll all require their own nutritional needs and this is where crop rotation can help. Aside from this, educating yourself on crop rotation will help prevent your plot from disease and pest build up while grouping crops together which have similar needs in terms of what nutrition they need and you’ll soon have some very healthy and fertile soil. If you ask any fellow plot holders who follow crop rotation and you’ll find they usually follow a 3 or 4 year rotation plan, so below we’ve outlined a rotation plan based on 4 beds over 3 years. The below is only a guide, feel free to adapt to what you want to grow, just keep an eye on crop groups like brassicas, alliums etc so you can try and sick to the group type.

Year One – First, make sure your soil is enriched and healthy by adding your compost.

Bed One

  • Spring/Summer – Plant your tomatoes, potatoes and courgettes.
  • Autumn – Plan your alliums like onions, garlic and leeks.

Bed Two

  • Spring/Summer – Plant your root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, beetroot along with spinach, parsley and chard.
  • Autumn – Mix in Green manure to help break up soil.

Bed Three

  • Spring/Summer – Add your compost before planting your brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
  • Autumn – Plant your winter brassicas like kale and sprouts.

Bed Four

  • Spring/Summer – Keep it simple with peas and beans.
  • Autumn – Don’t plant anything, but lime the soil if you plan to plant brassicas again next year.

 

Year Two

Bed One

  • Spring/Summer – This year plant your beans and peas here.
  • Autumn – Lime the soil after harvesting your beans and peas and leave.

Bed Two

  • Spring/Summer – Add some good compost and plant your tomatoes, potatoes and courgettes.
  • Autumn – Plant your alliums like your onions, garlic and shallots.

Bed Three

  • Spring/Summer – Plant your roots like celeriac, carrots, beetroot, parsnips and your spinach, chard etc.
  • Autumn – Mix in green manure to break up soil.

Bed Four

  • Spring/Summer – Plant your summer brassicas like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes and turnips.
  • Autumn – Plant your winter brassicas like kale and sprouts.

Year Three

Bed One

  • Spring/Summer – Add your compost before planting your summer brassicas like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes and turnips.
  • Autumn – Plant your winter brassicas like kale and sprouts.

Bed Two

  • Spring/Summer – This year plant your beans and peas here.
  • Autumn – Lime the soil after harvesting your beans and peas and leave.

Bed Three

  • Spring/Summer – Add your compost before planting your tomatoes, potatoes and courgettes.
  • Autumn – Plant your alliums like your onions, garlic and shallots.

Bed Four

  • Spring/Summer – Plant your roots like celeriac, carrots, beetroot, parsnips and your spinach, chard etc.
  • Autumn – Mix in green manure to break up soil.

Take a look at all of our allotment tips and tricks here.

 

HALF-PRICE seeds from Dobies available to all Colchester Avenue plot-holders

This year we are operating a new seed ordering scheme which will enable all plot-holders to buy any Dobies seeds at 50% of the normal price. Nb this offer includes disease-resistant varieties and organic seeds, flowers as well as vegetables, and seeds are new not old stock. Other items in the catalogue are also available at 15% off.

The Dobies scheme is easy to use.

  • Anyone who wants to take part can pick up the 160 page colour catalogue plus a special order form;
  • Complete the order form at your leisure and return it to me with payment, including £1.99 postage for any number of packets of seeds.
  • After Christmas I’ll start sending our orders and money to Dobies;
  • Your seeds will then be delivered directly TO YOUR OWN ADDRESS
  • The sooner you complete your order, the sooner you’ll receive your seeds.

Pick up a catalogue and order form from the allotment shop, or from any committee member. You can also view the catalogue here on the Dobies website (50% off all catalogue seed prices), but you’ll still need to pick up the special discount form.

I shall be available to distribute catalogues and forms and/or take in orders and money as follows:

Saturday November 9th  10 am to 12.30 Meeting room next door to the shop on the allotment site
Sunday December 15th 1.30 to 4pm Sainsbury’s Café in Colchester Avenue
Saturday January 11th 10am to 12.30 Upstairs in Penylan Library
Sunday February 16th 1.30 to 4 Sainsbury’s Café in Colchester Avenue

If you’d like to contact Caroline for any further information, please complete the form below:

The Health and Safety Executive are running a survey until the end of May 2019 asking gardeners and allotment holders to anonymously let them know about their purchase, use, storage and disposal of pesticides. As mentioned the survey is anonymous and wants to encourage people to give honest answers to get a better understanding about how people are using pesticides and is run every three years.

You can view results of their previous surveys here and if you want to complete the latest survey about pesticides then head here. And the HSE will give you the option when completing the survey to go into a draw to win one of ten £50 National Garden Gift Vouchers.*

 

* The draw for the garden vouchers will be run independently by the Horticultural Trades Association, who will issue the vouchers.

The National Allotment Society (NSALG) is a huge organisation with one focus; allotments. Specifically helping to provide, promote and preserve UK allotments. They work with all levels of governments in the UK, along with a range of other organisations and landlords to ensure they can do this. Since 2011 His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is the patron of the society.

Aside from offering members support, advice and guidance, they have a host of other benefits for members including; Allotmenteers Liability Insurance, Allotment and Leisure Gardener magazine sent quarterly, £25 cashback on home and car insurance, membership to the Kings Seed Discount program offering up to 62.5% discount on seeds and a £5 voucher for new members, exclusive discounts at Reedy garden supplies, birdfood.co.uk, Moonshine Plant Boosters, RHS plants and lots more.

Membership for an individual is only £23, click here for more information and to join.

Wind & Weather

The weather over the last week has been pretty atrocious with wind gusts up to 50mph. As our allotments are pretty high up and exposed, it may be worth visiting your plot when weather allows, if you haven’t already, to check if you have any damage. If you do go up while it’s windy, please be careful of any items which could be blown though the air. And if you spot any damage to your plot, do your best to clear it while ensuring your safety. And if you spot any serious damage to plots other than your own, please let the committee know. Below you’ll see weather for the next 7 days (if you’re viewing this article on a computer) or today’s weather if you’re on a mobile or tablet, so keep an eye on the weather and keep safe. 🙂

Allotment WEATHER

It seems we have to send another reminder to plot holders about disposing of rubbish on site. Again people are having to clear rubbish which has been dumped on the site which should have been removed by the people who created it. We provide facilities for people to dispose of scrap metal and green waste; you can leave your green waste under the trees opposite plots 121 and 10 and you can also leave any scrap metal under the tree opposite plot 119B (see the map for more details)

ALL other waste including plastics, bin bags, food packaging, wood, broken tools etc MUST be taken off site. The committee have to spend a lot of money each year removing this waste from the site and it’s money which could be going towards items and facilities which plot holders would find more beneficial. Rubbish removal is clearly outlined in the tenancy agreement all plot holders agree to, and anyone caught fly tipping on site would potentially find their tenancy at risk. The nearest waste centre is at Lamby Way where you can dispose of non recycling waste as well as other materials (see here for more information).

If you require any more information, please contact a member of the committee.

Thank you.

 

National allotment week is an annual event set up by the National Allotment Society and has been going since 2002. The national event is to raise awareness of “allotments and the role they play in helping people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and bolster communities.”

The Allotment Society say “This year’s campaign week theme is “Shared Harvest” celebrating the fact that plot-holders share their crops with family, friends, colleagues and worthy causes, including food banks. Each plot in the UK can benefit up to 8 people!”

Keep an eye out for events relating to this closer to the time and check out all the information on the Allotment Society website