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The Allotment Treasurer

Tim Brooks

15 Feb 2023

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Well, the days are gradually getting longer and a gardener’s enthusiasm gets more intense as the growing season begins to get nearer. Some may already have started sowing a few things and I myself this month will be starting in my greenhouse, using my heated propagator to give seeds a head start. First I will be sowing my chillies, peppers and aubergines and even tomatoes, in pots with a bit of “perlite” mixed in with the compost. It helps with drainage. It’s available in bags from the garden centre. Do not water the pots too much, otherwise they can get a bit too wet and seeds don’t germinate so well. As soon as the seeds emerge in the propagator, I remove the pots to prevent the seedlings getting “leggy”, so as to try to slow them down a bit. Keep them in a bright area of the greenhouse, protected from frosts. Usually when seedlings get their first two leaves, you can pot them all up into individual pots.

The past few weeks in my other role as “allotment treasurer” at our site, it’s been a busy period of collecting the yearly rents from our plot holders and doing the “admin” side of things. Doing the accounts sheet, making sure we’ve enough to cover the twice yearly water payments, as our site is on a water meter. Also the site insurance cover, a possible hedge trim to part fund, helped sometimes by the Parish Council funding some of it too. You need to ensure there is enough in the bank to cover these things and more as well. Last year we needed to buy a new petrol mower to trim the footpaths and car park area. So you need to be careful with spending as it’s a fixed income. We have no electric on-site which in some ways is unfortunate, as a CCTV system would be great to have, but then we save on not having any electric bills, which currently would be impossible to keep funded. Over the years we’ve had plot holders who have suggested spending our funds on bigger projects, like having stand pipes to each plot, so each plot can have its own water supply. The dangers there are obvious. If someone left their tap running or an underground pipe burst, your water bill would be horrendous. Other suggestions included an onsite cafe/sitting room. I am not sure much gardening would have been done if that one had been approved! So spending has to be sensible and kept to a minimum.

It has certainly been a wet few months recently and little time to spend outdoors on the gardens. Hopefully we will get a decent springtime to catch up with the soil preparations and get an early start with sowing seeds. Last summer saw extreme heat, so think about sowing varieties that can withstand drier conditions in heat waves. Summers from now on could well be very similar.

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