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Allotment Garden Newsletter December 2020

Allotment Garden Newsletter

From John Harrison

 

Dear Friend

Another year comes to a close and what a year it’s been. I think we’ll all be pleased to wave this one goodbye. It’s been tough but we’ll be getting back towards normal next year.

There are some positives that have come from this year. The shortages caused by panic buying back in March showed people that our supply chains are vulnerable. This in turn caused an upsurge in people using local suppliers. A boom for farm shops and micro-suppliers. These suppliers may be a little more expensive but they’re sustainable and stable. Long may it continue.

Most sustainable though is home growing as a lot of people discovered, making good use of furlough and lockdown time. Yes, it does take some work and sometimes we don’t get the crop we hoped for but can you beat sitting down to a healthy meal that you have grown from a seed?

The economic situation is worrying, I really feel for those who have lost their jobs and businesses with all this. One thing history and experience teaches us is that things will get better. Often in ways we didn’t expect. Don’t forget growing your own means you can save money.

I think the average family could save over £1,000 a year from a full allotment or a large garden. Even a small plot can make a significant contribution to the budget. Growing things vertically like peas and beans, produces a huge return for the space used. Add in some backgarden chickens for eggs and even meat and you’re well on the way to self-sufficiency even in a small town garden.

So as we move into 2021, be positive it will be better.

Christmas is Coming!

 
 

Please note we send out our books via Royal Mail. As they get really busy at this time of year our last orders for pre-Christmas delivery (for the UK) must be in by Thursday 17th December. Orders after that will still be sent out promptly but I wouldn’t bet on them being delivered in time – although the mail is pretty good.

 
 

Shameless Plug Time!

All our books come with three packets of Suttons seeds and free P&P in the UK

May I suggest our books will make a good present. They’re not ‘coffee table’ books full of pretty photographs and precious little else. We try very hard to write practical guides– manuals if you will – that enable you to succeed.

Incidentally, you can always keep the free seeds  and give the book as a present.

See All Our Books Here
 
 
 

Dig for Victory!

The ideal Christmas Gift. On heavy quality paper in full colour, it’s bound to please. Even non-gardeners will find the commentary relating those guides of 75 years ago to the last year of war fascinating.

At £12.99 including postage, free replica leaflets and free Wartime variety seeds – it won’t break the bank, either.

Dig for Victory

 
 

Planning Ahead

If the weather has you stuck indoors you can use your time profitably by planning ahead. The first step is to list down what you want to grow and to look at what seeds you’ve got in your box.

If you’re not sure if they’ll be any good there’s some help on the web site with a chart showing how long seeds should last here and how to test seed viability here. That should save you a few pounds to start!

After the last minute scramble and panic buying of seeds last year, it’s a good idea to get the job done early this year. I’d always recommend buying your seeds mail order rather than from a garden centre or worse still, a supermarket. The reason is that storage conditions have a large effect on viability.

The major seed merchants like Suttons not only source top quality seeds but also know how to handle them properly so they reach you in peak condition. Some of the smaller suppliers and Ebay sellers can be very good, but it can be a gamble.

Offers

With the problems of running a business in the pandemic and an upsurge in interest in home growing, Suppliers are busy and offers are pretty rare at the moment. But I’ve managed to get us an exclusive offer on Sarpo potatoes and Harrod Horticultural have an offer running on Hotbins.

 
 

Sarpo Seed Potatoes

I’ve managed to organise us a great offer from Potato House. As you may know, I’m a big fan of Sarpo blight-resistant potatoes. I’ve been growing them for 15 years now!

Over the years the Sarpo range has grown and people aren’t sure which varieties are right for their conditions and taste. So they’ve produced a taster pack consisting of 6 seed tubers each of 5 varieties.

They’re running this at a special price of just £17.75 including UK postage and they’re giving us an exclusive discount code on top! Get an extra £3.00 off using the code SARPOAG at the checkout.

There’s more information on the offer in my diary here or go direct to the Potato House offer on the link button below.

Sarpo Potato Offer
 
 

Hotbin Composter Offer

One of my favourite items is the Hotbin composter. Kitchen and garden wastes get dropped in the top and every few months great compost comes out of the bottom.

They’re really easy, vermin proof and there’s no smell or fly problems in the hot summer months. I’m convinced it is something that every house should have one. You can read my Hotbin review here

Site supporter Harrod Horticultural are offering an extra £20.00 saving until 4th December off both the 200 litre and 100 litre Hotbins. Offers rarely come up on the Hotbin so now would be a good time to get one.

Harrod Horticultural Hotbin Offer

A Christmas Recipe Favourite

I’d like to suggest one of my favourite Christmas recipes to you. I’m not a one for fancy cooking, but Christmas is a time to go for it. You can make this on Christmas Eve and it’s perfect as a light nibble at Christmas tea when everyone is peckish but can’t face anything heavy.

Try the mousse spread on digestive biscuits – the sweetness of the biscuit works well with the mousse. The real choice is whether to put the jelly on first or last! By the way, as I found out one year, our cat loves the Stilton Mousse. Don’t leave it unguarded on the table!

Stilton Mousse with Port Jelly.

 
 

Brussels Sprouts

Whilst we’re on the subject of Christmas, the traditional vegetable has to be the Brussels sprouts. They are much maligned but if they’re cooked properly they’re lovely. You can find our best recipes and methods for sprouts here: Brussels sprouts

After all the winds we’ve had it’s worth checking your Brussels sprouts in case the wind has loosened them. This damages the root hairs so the plant can’t get enough nutrients and the sprouts will blow. If you can rock them, firm them back in with your foot and mound up an inch or two on the stem. If need be stake them to stop it happening again.

To help them get enough nitrogen through a damaged root system, give them a high-nitrogen liquid feed around the base of each plant.

 
 

Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for December

Hints & Tips for growing in December

Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for December

 
 
 

Merry Christmas!

All that remains is for me to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year or, as they say here in Wales, Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

There now follows our traditional, politically correct version (with a big smile):

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practised within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all.

Until next year,

Good Growing & Keep Safe

John

 

Allotment Garden

Fron Dirion, Clogwyn Melyn,
CAERNARFON
LL54 6PT
Wales

Allotment-Garden.org

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