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Allotment Garden Newsletter July 2021

Allotment Garden Newsletter

From John Harrison

Dear Friend

Unusually for us in North West Wales we’re enjoying some of the best weather in Britain at the moment. Normally I look on with envy as those in the southern bits of the country talk of sunshine and heat whilst we watch the rain pour down. Makes a nice change to have it the other way around!

The year has turned and the days are growing shorter. Hardly seems possible does it? Yet the plants know. That’s why Chinese cabbage like Pak Choi and salad rocket are ideal for sowing now and the garlic and onions are bulbing up.

Garlic

Your garlic should be nearly ready now. You may well think of garlic as a strong flavour, but when it’s slightly immature and freshly pulled, it’s actually quite mild and can be eaten as a side vegetable. It’s lovely roasted with a little olive oil and it still wards off vampires.

Don’t leave garlic too long in the ground though, the bulbs start to split apart into the cloves as it prepares to grow again next year. If in doubt, harvest one plant to see how it’s doing.

Money Saving Tip

It’s always annoyed me how hose fittings leak, even after standardising the various connectors and fittings so they were all Hozelock, they were still leaking. Well it turned out that the little black rubber rings were to blame. They looked OK but had actually perished and split, which ruins the seal allowing water to leak.

Now buying new fittings can get pretty expensive but I’ve found you can buy the O rings (as they’re properly called) very cheaply on eBay. I paid £1.65 for 20, which has fixed every fitting I’ve got for less than the cost of one new fitting. Just search on eBay for Hozelock O ring.

Chemicals – Good and Bad

At this time of year you could be forgiven for thinking the whole of nature is determined to steal your crops. The aphids, whitefly and blackfly suck the plant’s lifeblood. The slugs and snails gobble the seedlings. The caterpillars reduce your brassicas to skeletons and then along come the birds to strip the fruit from the bushes.

Well I always say the if the bugs won’t eat it, then it’s not any good! This year seems to be bad for the aphid family. I’ve written a little piece about dealing with them along with how I recovered my sickly tomato plants and some discussion on garden chemicals.

Chemicals – Good and Bad – Some thoughts on the benefits and pitfalls of using chemicals in the garden plot. Plus a bit of advice.

Crop Protection Offers

Site supporter, Harrod Horticultural offer a good range of netting to protect from insects and birds: Harrod Horticultural Netting

They’ve got an offer on their fruit tree sleeves, saving over 20% – additional savings still apply on the sets of 3

  • 17.5cm dia. x 10m roll currently £22.95 – now £17.95 (save £5 or over 20%)
  • 30cm dia. x 10m roll)currently £31.95 – now £24.95 (save £7 or over 20%)

Popadome Offer

Harrod’s also have a deep cut offer on their award winning Popadome Frame and Butterfly Netting

Suitable for the home gardener and allotmenteer alike, it is ideal for protecting everything from newly seeded lawns to fully grown plants. Can be used either singly or in multiple arrangements for larger areas.

1.8m x 0.9m Was £39.95 Now £23.95 Worth checking out.

Popadome

The Wartime Week End Gardener

I’ve been reading a gardening book from 80 years ago, The Wartime Week End Gardener by John Hampshire.

What struck me most is how much of the guidance then is just the same now. Sure, some varieties have changed but otherwise surprisingly little else. A carrot is still a carrot and a cabbage still a cabbage.

For this weekend he suggests as the first of many tasks:

You will, naturally, want a few cabbages late in the season, and there is time for them to come to maturity if you plant your seed now in a shallow drill in the seed-bed. When the plants are big enough to handle you will, of course, plant them out as you have done up to the present with all members of the Cabbage family.

In the same way you may now plant in the seed bed a few Cauliflowers, which will mature at the end of the summer. For a variety choose All the Year Round.

Incidentally, that variety is one of the Wartime Seed Collection we’re offering as a free gift with my book Dig for Victory. It’s still a popular variety today.

The Essential Allotment Guide

It’s an anniversary! 10 years ago I heard that my Essential Allotment Guide was voted Runner Up (to the RHS) for the Most Informative Gardening Book in the Grow Your Own Awards 2011.

Doesn’t seem possible, how time flies! I remember being surprised at the time as I didn’t even know there was a vote.

The Essential Allotment Guide

Hozelock Grow Bag Waterer

Last newsletter I mentioned the Hozelock Grow Bag Waterer which promptly sold out! Two Wests managed to get more stock and they’re available again. They’ve even kept the special offer running when you buy two.

Hozelock Grow Bag Waterer

Storing & Preserving Books Offer

We’re now reaching the time of year when the garden and allotment begin to overflow with their bounty. So, we’ve set up a special offer for you including both How to Store Your Home Grown Produce and Easy Jams, Chutneys and Preserves plus 8 packs of seeds for only £17.00!

That’s a saving of over 10% on buying each book individually PLUS an extra two packets of seeds! All seeds will have over a year to sow, meaning whilst harvesting this year’s bounty you can already be prepared for sowing in 2022

Storing & Preserving Books Offer

Know Your Enemy!

My pal at TwoWests has written an interesting piece on the gardener’s nemesis, the slug. She’s pulled together a list of 26 fascinating facts about these creatures that give us so much grief. Try not to have nightmares!

The A – Z Of Garden Slugs – Fascinating Facts And Top Tips

Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for July

Don’t forget there are things that can still be sown or planted even this far into the season. Beetroot, spring cabbage, Chinese cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, lettuce, rocket, peas (use an early variety so they’ll mature before the season ends), dwarf French beans, spring onions and radish. Check out your July Jobs.

Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for July

It’s always nice to hear back from readers but please understand we’ve a lot going on that I’m trying to keep up with. I really can’t reply to everyone but I do read all the emails that I’m sent.

If you need personal advice, why not ask on our help forums where there are lots of experienced gardeners who can assist you.

That’s it for now, I hope you’ve found this newsletter useful. The next newsletter will be a couple of weeks.

Good Growing but above all, keep well

John

Allotment Garden

Fron Dirion, Clogwyn Melyn,
CAERNARFON
LL54 6PT
Wales

Allotment-Garden.org

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