So far this summer we have enjoyed bumper crops on what we have grown on our allotment plots. The runner beans and french beans are currently excelling themselves with the masses of flowers, look like lots more still to come. Last month we enjoyed a daily supply of raspberries and before that strawberries. Such a short season really to enjoy these delights and we enjoy them whilst we can.
Now we are beginning to dig up a few ‘charlotte’ potatoes, which are very nice with salads in summer and they have a ‘waxy’ texture, keeping their shape after being boiled and do not require peeling. We will gradually be digging up the rest , drying them off before putting them into potato sacks for storing in a cool place. We have a maincrop called ‘desiree’ which are ‘red skinned’ potatoes. These again will be harvested in August and bagged up after drying off. Any slug or garden fork damaged ones discarded. Ours usually last us till the following May as we grow about 16 rows of potatoes. They will be expensive this coming winter to buy again, so quite a saving on the food bill.
Now is the time to increase your strawberry plants if you want more of them. Easily done by potting up the ‘runner shoots’ that grow away from the parent plant. Usually see a few roots growing from under the ‘runners’, which can be pegged into a plant pot of soil. After they become established weeks later, you can cut the stem of the runners off from the parent plants. Saves a lot of money producing your own strawberry plants. Plant your new plants around 30cms apart in rows. Feed in spring with potash and you’ll get a bigger crop.
Whilst writing this we are still awaiting our tomatoes to start ripening. July has been a rather damp and dull month, sunlight has been in shorter supply. Hopefully August will see more sunshine and help the tomato fruits ripen more and avoid the dreaded ‘blight’ which can strike tomato plants after a spell of wet, cooler weather as the ground spores affect the stem and leaves. Any infected plants should be pulled out and discarded. Last year we thankfully avoided ‘blight’ though. We are feeding the tomatoes each week and will be pinching out the tips of the plants once around six trusses of flowers have formed.
Weeding is now a big chore on our allotments and some plots worse than others. Some folk have more time to attend than others, but taking on a plot is a big commitment. No-one really should commit to taking an allotment unless they can spare a few hours a week to looking after it. Weeds become a real pest to neighbouring plots, spreading everywhere. So we have to see that all plot holders keep them as tidy as possible. Let’s hope we still have plenty more sunny summer days to enjoy gardening outside yet!