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Allotment Garden Newsletter Mid-June 2021

Allotment Garden Newsletter

From John Harrison

Dear Friend

The weather is much improved here in Wales. You could be forgiven for thinking summer is nearly here. We’re only a week away from the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern bit of the planet.

The hawthorn is heavy with blossom which has usually fallen by now but the red and blackcurrants are heavy with fruit and the jostaberries crop looks likely to be far more than we can cope with. As for strawberries, we’re harvesting those by the kilo!

Wicking Pots

The greenhouses are looking good with the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers well away. I’ve got my quadgrows in action which always give me good results but I’m trying an experiment with a really low-cost alternative. I’ve written about that here: Self-Watering Wicking Pot Experiment

Grow Bag Waterer

For those who use growbags, the Hozelock wicking grow-bag waterer gives brilliant results. Far easier than any other grow bag watering system I’ve tried in the past. Highly recommended. Available from Two Wests  who have an offer on them at the moment

Potatoes, What Comes Next?

I planted a small raised bed of potatoes in the polytunnel which we’ve been enjoying. They took longer to crop than I thought, in part due to the weather, but they’re here now. Just boiled with a little butter, absolutely delicious.

My outdoor potatoes are also doing well, judging by the haulm (the fancy word for the leaves) despite the weather we endured in May. Harvesting the outside first earlies should be starting in the middle of the month which creates some space.

Nature hates a vacuum, so if I don’t plant something to follow, the weeds will fill the gap. If you don’t use the soil, then the weeds will so you may as well keep it productive.

I could just sow a green manure like mustard to feed the soil or I could use the space profitably for some leeks. Another possibility is to sow dwarf French beans.

Even if you sow dwarf beans too late in the year to produce a crop, they provide a good green manure. The roots keep the soil open and being legumes they can provide nitrogen from the roots. As the season ends, the plants provide compost material.

There are articles on green manures on the site here.

Keep Your Plot Producing

We take an awful lot out of our plots and you don’t get something for nothing in life. Eventually we exhaust the soil and the yield plummets. Potatoes are a hungry crop and to get a decent follow-on crop add some fertiliser.

You can add a balanced fertiliser like Growmore or better still in my book; fish, blood and bone. The reason I think FBB is better is that it releases more slowly. Don’t over do it though, if the soil is in good heart you probably only need 40 or 50 grams per square metre to boost things.

BBQ Using the ash

As we move into summer, out comes the BBQ. As the cooking finishes and the charcoal burns out, throw any bones onto the fire. The minerals in the bones are a plant nutrient. Once things are cool, just add the ashes to the compost heap.

So much of what we throw away can be profitably recycled with a little thought and ingenuity.


Inevitably I’m getting a lot of emails about weeds. If only the crops grew as well. I wrote an article on controlling the more difficult weeds you might find helpful here:

Weeds and What to do

Flame Weeder

Chemicals like glyphosate are very effective but, apart from any environmental concerns about using chemicals, if the spray drifts you can end up killing the plants you want to keep.

One method I use is a flame weeder. The way to use them is to just pass the flame over the leaves for a second or two, which will effectively dehydrate and kill them. You do not need to burn them to a crisp, satisfying though it may be.

Flame Weeder from Harrod Horticultural

Low Cost Living

I’m sorry to say we’re out of stock of Low Cost Living .. again! I really don’t know what the publishers are playing at. They managed to supply our back-order and half what we wanted on top. It’s annoying to say the least but there is little I can do apart from moan at them, which I have been doing .. a lot.

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


These seem to be a lot of whitefly about already this year. Most often a greenhouse problem but they can be a real pest outdoors with brassicas. There are pesticide sprays available but I don’t like using them. Organic methods like encouraging predator species – see this article – but they take time to work. An immediate control is to use an organic soap-based spray that smothers the little beasts.

I particularly like SB Invigorator which kills adult whitefly, thrips etc. and boosts plant health with a foliar feed. It does need to be applied thoroughly each week to be effective. A 500ml bottle makes up to 250 litres of spray, so it’s not too expensive either.

Available from Harrod Horticultural


Talking of sprays, I found these trigger sprays on Twowests that enable you to convert an old plastic bottle into a sprayer.

They also have these bottle top roses that convert an old bottle into a mini-watering can. Ideal for seedlings.

Clever upcycling ideas!

Omlet Voucher Offer

We secured a 10% discount code for the poultry keepers but, having realised they have a large range of other quality pet products, it might be useful to you.

OMLET Offer Code for 10% Off All Orders – CHICKAG10

Dig for Victory Questions

I had a couple of emails about my Dig for Victory book cover. One person thought it was strange that the Spitfire had a black wing. Actually that was historically accurate, they used designs on the underside of wings to assist in identification from the ground.

The other complained that the chap was smoking a pipe. Well if you look at pictures and films from the period, pipes were almost compulsory! A lot of growers found space for growing their own tobacco, which was tightly rationed. There was a lot of discussion and advice around at the time about curing and preparing your own tobacco.

Tobacco growing is not covered in the dig for victory advice though, food was the priority.

Dig for Victory
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 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 in a couple of weeks.

Good Growing but above all, keep well


Allotment Garden

Fron Dirion, Clogwyn Melyn,
LL54 6PT


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