Welcome to part 2 of the ‘Allotmenteer’s Guide to Gardening: Weather Wars’, inspired by CCCU Edible Campus’s Allotment Blitz allotment events.
The weather can be a major battle when trying to grow the most perfect plants. Which is why we have compiled a guide of carefully selected tips on how to keep your plants thriving all year round. Now not even winter can ruin your allotment or garden.
1) GENERAL MAINTENANCE
Take advantage of the winter, when no plants are growing, to prepare for next year’s gardening season!
- Clean up your tools; give them a good clean to remove dirt and rust.
- Check fences, gates and other structures for weakness or rotting. Get them repaired!
- Avoid using the lawn to give it a breather.
- Start a compost heap.
- Deadhead autumn flowering plants before the heavy frosts arrive.
2) CARING FOR CABBAGES
If the winter starts warm, then becomes abruptly freezing, cabbage– and similar- may not thrive as well as it should, or even survive. Dig a one ft square around the plant with your shovel, a spade depth down. In doing this, the roots that weaken the whole system will be chopped off, leaving the plant with enough strength to survive the harsh winter.
3) TO SOW OR NOT TO SOW, THAT IS THE QUESTION
A good way to decide whether or not to start sowing seeds is to press an elbow, finger or hand to the soil. If it’s very cold or wet, don’t sow!
4) TIDY, TIDY, TIDY
In the spring months, give your allotment a rough tidy up. Remove leaves, and other pesky debris, from boarders, lawns and ponds. Cut back the dead growth of wild flowers- unless you’re wildlife friendly, in which case delay the cut back until early spring.
5) TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Spring is the perfect time to sow seeds that may need a longer season, such as Geraniums, Begonias, Peppers and Aubergine. Take a look at http://www.thompson-morgan.com/in-the-garden-this-month to see which month it is best to start growing different kinds of plant in.
During the warm summer months, a moat is the perfect way to channel water toward the root of a plant when it rains. Create the moats around each plant– so they are slightly larger than where the leaves reach out to.
7) ALIVE AND WELL
There are several ways to keep your plants alive and well over the sweltering summer months:
- Water early in the day, preferably in the morning, to avoid mildew and other fungi attacks.
- Add nutrients to water if you only water occasionally, preferably nutrients from a soluble fertiliser with added seaweed. For example:
- Water in potash- for fruit trees, improving flavours and juiciness.
- Potassium in potash- for avocados and mangos, to improve plant vigour and resistance to fungi.
Read http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/types-of-organic-fertilizer.htm for further advice on plant fertilisers.
Edible Campus’s beautiful allotments at the Chaplaincy. Sourced from Edible Campus’s Facebook page.
Consider shade thoroughly. New plants are likely to need plenty of shade while hardening to the sun. Plan trees to protect your garden from the harsh Summer sun. Equally, you may want some plants, flowers or vegetables to be exposed to more light.
9) TENDER PLANTS
Lift tender plants out of the bed before the first frost arrives! Tender plants are often perennial (meaning they only last one year). Tender plants include bananas, tree ferns, begonias and dahlias. Cut back the stems. Lift the tubers from the ground. Clean the soil from them, then carefully place and store them in trays of dry compost or sand, with only the tip of the crown visible. Keep in a cool, frost-free place over the winter.
10) PLANT EVERGREENS
They provide structure in your garden and will add interest to an otherwise empty plot in the winter months.
Now go ahead and perfect your incredible allotment, whatever the weather!
Need a recap on the basics of allotment gardening? Click here to visit our first ‘The Allotment Blitz Allotmenteer’s Guide to Gardening’ blog: Getting Started.
Liked this guide? Read more on futurelifehappiness.wordpress.com.
Have you seen our other guides?
- The SGO Quick Guide to Holiday Safety
- Do-It-Yourself Spa Day
- The Allotment Blitz Allotmenteer’s Guide to Gardening: Getting Started
- Holiday the Sustainable Way
- How to get a Good Night’s Sleep
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Meg & the SGO xxx