Spring Tales from the Allotment

Welcome back fellow vegetable-growing enthusiasts! As the spring bulbs emerge and break their dormancy, I too have come out of hibernation to give you an update on how the allotment is developing. I’ll also be sharing how I’m tackling the challenge of utilising every possible inch of windowsill space for my beloved seeds.

A game changer for me and my father this year was the acquisition of a heated windowsill propagator. The germination success rate for our basil, chillies, cucumbers, and tomatoes has been astounding. However, seed sowing and aftercare can be a daunting prospect.

I’ve asked myself questions like ‘what is the correct growing medium?’, ‘how often should I water?’, and ‘is light required for germination?’. Depending on what you’re growing, these questions may all have different answers. My advice is to do your research! A short time searching the web or asking friends that grow themselves will bolster your confidence and hopefully ensure a successful start to the growing season.

Winter can be a quiet time for allotment owners. Only the mildest of days can tempt you to venture down. But there are still jobs that can be done if the heavily overcast weather and persistent rain do not deter you. My father and I have recently revamped our compost area, going from one bay to two. This allows us to turn our compost more efficiently, aiding the decomposition of the green and brown material we add.

We’ve also lined the bays with a black, recycled plastic to absorb and retain heat to speed up the composting process. So far, we believe our adjustments are having the desired effect due to a lovely lady who has a plot near ours describing our compost as ‘black gold’.

It is always fascinating trying to grow new plants. I planted six bare-root raspberries earlier this year and cannot wait to taste the fruits of our labour. The buds are beginning to appear; it is looking promising! A fantastic Winterbourne volunteer by the name of Pete also generously gave me a selection of Tithonia and Zinnia seedlings which will, for the first time, have pride of place at the allotment, much to the approval of the hard-working pollinators. Thanks, Pete!

I have a feeling this year our allotment will be the most fruitful and colourful since we acquired the plot in March 2020. On a side note, do come and check out the fruit and vegetable display at Winterbourne this year. The whole team have been working hard to ensure the display will be tremendously vibrant and eye-catching, both with plants you will recognise and others that you may not!

If you see me around the garden, be sure to say hello!

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