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The Allotment Blitz Allotmenteer’s Guide to Gardening: Weather Wars

Welcome to part 2 of the ‘Allotmenteer’s Guide to Gardening: Weather Wars’, inspired by CCCU Edible Campus’s Allotment Blitz allotment events.

1- all year round

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.

WINTER

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- winter 1

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- winter 2

SPRING

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- spring 1

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- spring 2

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.6- spring 3

SUMMER

6) MOAT

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- summer 1

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.

8- summer 2

Edible Campus’s beautiful allotments at the Chaplaincy. Sourced from Edible Campus’s Facebook page.

8) SHADE

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.

11- summer 3

AUTUMN

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.

9- autumn 1

10) PLANT EVERGREENS

They provide structure in your garden and will add interest to an otherwise empty plot in the winter months.

10- autumn 2

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?

  1. The SGO Quick Guide to Holiday Safety
  2. Do-It-Yourself Spa Day
  3. The Allotment Blitz Allotmenteer’s Guide to Gardening: Getting Started
  4. Holiday the Sustainable Way
  5. How to get a Good Night’s Sleep

Interested in writing blogs, creating recipe cards or writing reviews for Future.Life.Happiness? Email m.cork630@canterbury.ac.uk to let us know!

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Love,

Meg & the SGO xxx

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Shopping on a Budget

Many of you have probably been in a situation one time or another when funds were tight and food prices were HIGH. I’m currently in this situation, I am a full time student and shopping on a budget is a must if I wish to eat well in a week and have money left over. I have come up with a few tips that I live by when shopping.

 

Top Tips for shopping on a budget.

  1. Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and see what you have left.
  2. Make a menu of the dinners you would like to have that week. (This can be hard as not everyone knows what they want for Saturday if it’s Monday but you can swap around the days)
  3. Make a shopping list!!!
  4. When you in the store, pick up a basket not a trolley as you will tend to fill the trolley more, but will only fill the basket up with essentials as you have to carry it.
  5. Compare brand names to the shops own brand as they are usually the same but one is a lot cheaper.
  6. Offers! Check the small print of the offers for example weight, as you may get more for your money on a product that isn’t on offer.
  7. Sell by dates: if you are buying in bulk check you pick up the dates with the longest time till expiry
  8. Freezer guidelines, another way to cut costs is buying products that can be frozen day of purchase, such as ready meals, bread and milk.
  9. Carry a calculator with you, to make sure you have kept on budget and you don’t get any surprises at the till.
  10. Bring your own bags this will cut down on the plastic bags being used and if you have heavy products it will make it easier for you to carry home if it is in a bag for life.

This is the menu template I use, I found this keeps me focused when shopping as this comes with me and I have found when I keep to my menu, I can had a treat such as a bag of chocolate or alcohol as I have money left over.

A great way to cut costs in regards to shopping for food, is to make your own packed lunch the night before. This can be leftovers from your dinner such as roast chicken sandwich, bacon and pasta or any pasta dish really!! Or to make a sandwich, roll or wrap to take with you wherever you are that day.

 

Great sandwich fillers:

Left over roast chicken or any chicken

Sausage sandwich

Tuna Mayo/sweetcorn

Salad sandwich

 

Another way of shopping on a budget is cooking a meal from leftovers. I tend to do this a lot as I hate food going to waste and I make two portions of this so it can be eaten the next day for lunch or dinner.

 

One of my favourite recipes from leftovers:

Bacon, Chilli and tomato Pasta

Ingredients:

Bacon – 3 rashers

Chilli flakes – a pinch (or more if you love spice)

1 onion (small or half an hour) – dice thinly

2 cans of tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree.

1 tablespoon of garlic puree.

1 tablespoon of paprika

2 cups of penne pasta (or any pasta you have)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese to grate on top

 

Method:

  1. Fry bacon and onions together till onions are brown and bacon cooked.
  2. Add the garlic into the bacon and onions.
  3. In another saucepan fill with water, once to the boil add your pasta, I use two cups of pasta.
  4. Empty the cans of tomatoes into the saucepan and add the puree.
  5. Let the sauce simmer, don’t let it boil.
  6. Add chilli flakes and seasonings to taste – I like it spicy so add more chilli
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to sauce. Mix together.
  8. Grate cheese over the top.
  9. You will have leftovers if eating this for one, put into a Tupperware container, and leave the lid off to cool.
  10.  Enjoy!!

Top Tip: once you leftovers have cooled down, put an air tight lid on and keep in the fridge for the following day.

 

Love,

Jess & SGO

x

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Introduction

Hi,

Welcome to our fresh, new blog! We’ll be making weekly posts delegated to different sectors, including: D.I.Y, events, food, reviews, lifestyle and sustainability.

Our main aim is to inspire you to become more creative, develop a sense of sustainability and ensure that every post holds an element of fun or adventure. Whether you’re an artistic individual, or just having a peek – you’ve landed on our blog for a reason, and we can guarantee that we will post something you can relate to.

 

Please feel free to contact us, give us your feedback and tell us what you’d like to see more of on the blog.

 

Love,

Chelsea, Jess & Michaela

x

 

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Chelsea McMurray, Jessica Chamberlain & Michaela McDonell-Barbara