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Our Allotment Gardening Success!

Tim Brooks

13 Sep 2023

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Earlier this year I applied for funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to try to help our Burton based allotment association get a new rotovating machine, to help members cultivate their allotment plots. Whilst there is no guarantee in getting any funding, if you write a good application, you stand a decent chance. In June we were notified that our application had been successful! This follows our other lottery funding success in early 2022, when we succeeded in getting some new metal sheds funded as well. This time funding was granted for £2900.

I managed to buy the rotovator for less money, which gave us money left over. After discussions with the lottery folk, they allowed us to spend the remainder on other items for the site, which included a new exterior noticeboard and a petrol strimmer for tidying up the longer grass. We recently had a photo session together with our local Councillor Mr Michael Slater and association members at our Horninglow site to celebrate our funding success.

This lottery funding is very helpful to associations like ours and other not for profit societies. Otherwise getting equipment and other things for projects, would be very difficult indeed as we are solely funded by our allotment rents which go towards site upkeep, insurance and water bills.
On the produce front, the rainy weather, although hindering plot holders getting their weeding done, has helped our vegetables grow well this summer. Our ’Moonlight’ runner beans have been very prolific and the onion crop has been one of our best. I grow a variety called ‘Sturon’ which keeps very well into the following year. Much bigger in size this year.
Our squashes look to be a good size too, along with courgettes which have not stopped producing this summer. The tomatoes have been amazing in quantity and size and now are ripening off gradually. The heavy rains did affect the plants a bit, but just
about escaped the ‘blight’ affecting them too much.
Soon the runner bean crops will be slowing down and we usually leave the ‘tougher’ ones on the plants, until they start drying out. Then pick them to save for next years seeds. Dry them off on a greenhouse bench, pod them and save in a envelope. Same with other crops like saved Broad Bean or French dwarf bean seeds. It all saves money for next season! The seed catalogues will soon be dropping through our doors, but saving some of your own seeds is very worthwhile, especially from vegetables or flowers that did well.
We also save Marigold or Calendula seeds, as they are useful next to Runner beans to prevent aphids. We even save our Sunflower seed heads, as the birds love pecking those on a bird table.
Other jobs to get done are gathering the Apples, Autumn Raspberries to pick and also start tidying up the veg plots. Also, burying the compost bin contents to improve the soil for next year.
Happy Gardening!

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