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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.



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


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



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


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


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



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


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.


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



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


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!


Meg & the SGO xxx

SGO Logo Website


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Summer’s here, and along with it becomes the inevitable long hours bathing in the sun, the impromptu trips to the beach, the flights to destinations near and far, the car/ coach/ train journeys to the hippest festivals and concerts, the ice creams, the partying, and everything else that defines university summer holidays. But don’t forget to consider your safety. We here at the SGO have compiled a ‘quick guide’ to holiday safety, to help make sure you have the summer you have dreamed of (and totally deserve after all that studying) and to ensure it doesn’t end in tears- sad tears anyway!

The SGO ‘Quick Guide to Holiday Safety’ contains five sections:

  1. Midnight Madness- dos and don’ts during nights out on holiday.
  2. Water Wellbeing- making sure you don’t drown while you’re out in that clear blue Mediterranean ocean.
  3. Festival Fiasco- tips on helping you avoid fiascos at festivals, including: camping safety, alcohol, clothing, packing and the word that begins with S and ends with X.
  4. Sun Safety- staying safe while relaxing in that glorious summer sun- with a cheeky photo of Audrey Hepburn to show you have awesome sun safety is.
  5. Thought for Food- helping you decide what/ what not to eat while on holiday. Guidance on food, drinks, uncooked food, water, street food.

Without further ado…


End your summer holiday like this…

1a springbreak

… Not like this

1 springbreakers

(The photograph above is sourced from the movie ‘Springbreakers’- the perfect example of what not to do on your holiday abroad.)


Sunset in Oia, Santorini. Here is my version of the sunset shot in Oia. This is a blend of 3 shots, 1.3 to 20 seconds, processed as follows: 1) Reduce noice on all 3 raws. 2) Create HRD in Photomatix 3) Blend using Exposure Fusion, sliders set to produce the most natural looking image while still showing some detail in the very dark areas. 4) PS smart sharpen. 5) PS burn the bottom 6) Nik Brilliance and warming 7) Nik Indian summer to warm th elights, masked to not affect the rest. 8) Nik sunlight, brushed over the buildings to add more light 9) Nik Glamour Glow to remove detail in the dark areas. 10) Detailed curves lightening pn windmills. 11) Dodge buildings that were too dark.

Nothing makes you feel more alive than walking around a town on a blissfully warm night, admiring the sunsets and the shining lights from the picture perfect homes. A drink in a local bar is the perfect end to any evening, however just because you’re relaxed, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain vigilant!

Caution + fun= the perfect holiday

  • Having a few drinks at that super gorgeous little bar downtown won’t do any harm. Just remember the alcohol guidelines while you’re buying that third or fourth drink. Remember, the UK guidelines state that women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day, and men should not drink more than 3-4 units.
  • Know your limit- drinking too much may end unhappily.
  • Keep an eye on your friends and help remove them from the situation if you think they’ve drunk too much.
  • There is safety in numbers- stick together all night.
  • Be mindful of strangers- they might seem friendly enough, but you can’t judge a book by its cover. Never accept a drink from a stranger, and never disappear with one- even if your friends know where you are, it may not be safe.
  • Keep your drink with you at all times. Don’t leave it on its own- this opens up the possibility of it being spiked.
  • Only take the essentials out with you. Leave unnecessary valuables back at your hotel.
  • Think about your nights out while packing. Take one pair of sensible shoes with you to keep your feet safe on a night time ramble.

Now, go, have fun, try that delicious looking Tequila Sunrise and have an amazing AND safe night out! 5 greek taverna

The perfect place to spend a warm summer’s evening.


2 water wellbeing

Spending a day on the beach is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. It is made even more awesome by a quick swim in that gloriously warm Mediterranean water. But just because you’re now officially an adult- and can swim strokes other than a doggy paddle- doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep in mind what your mum told you when you were six:

  • Don’t swim too far out to sea, and stay in the area of the beach patrolled with lifeguards.
  • Swim between flags put out by the lifeguard, demonstrating the safe areas of water.
  • Never swim in the sea alone.
  • If you get into trouble in the sea, stick your hand in the air and shout for help.
  • If someone else is in trouble, inform a lifeguard. If there is no lifeguard, call the emergency hotline for that country and ask for a coastguard.
  • Think sensibly- it’s a really bad idea to go into the sea after drinking, as alcohol slows your reactions and impairs your ability to judge distances. So when considering to take a risk- don’t. Just don’t. Keep the sea and alcohol separate.
  • Before going into the sea, ensure you know what to do if you encounter any tricky situations, such as rip currents, tides and waves.
  • Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyholidays/Pages/Beachsafety.aspx to find out more about these hazards, flags and further details on beach safety.

The above tips can be applied to swimming pools as well. Exercise caution while in pools. Just because there is no chance of tides or waves doesn’t mean there aren’t any other possible hazards. Think safe and you’ll stay safe, inside water and out. 3 swimming pool


7 Festival 1

Holi Celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

A festival is like a concert, a clubbing holiday and a summer holiday al in one. It’s fun, you spend a weekend with your friends, you get to see Imagine Dragons, or Bastille, or Paramore, or Taylor Swift live. There is unlimited food available, not to mention the booze. However, no matter how fun the event may seem to be, here are many risks. So let’s talk about it.

  • Think ‘festival’ when you pack. Pack all the necessities you need. Sensible clothing, spare batteries, waterproof jacket. One thing people always forget is medication. First Aiders, such as St John’s Ambulance, are only allowed to give out over-the-counter medication. So bring your prescribed medication with you. Bring a first aid kit with everything you might need: paracetamol, plasters, disinfectant, medication for headaches and stomach upsets.
  • Find out where the medical centre is when you arrive.
  • Personal hygiene is often tricky to control at festivals. So wash your hands before you eat, after using the loo and after handling rubbish to minimize risk of illness. Always pack wet wipes and antibacterial hand wash to use, as well as washing your hands.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry at festivals, to avoid contracting blisters, fungal infections and trench foot. Wear waterproof wellie boots and dry socks wen it is wet, and take them off at night. Avoid wearing flip flops and new shoes.
  • If you are standing near loudspeakers, wear earplugs. Take breaks regularly from the music
  • Waterproof and warm clothing is essential to meeting hypothermia. But the temperature drops, try to stay as dry as possible.
  • Wax flares can be a huge safety hazard. They can spit and run, causing wax burns, especially if they are legal. So only by authorised dealers.
  • Phones are a great invention, but network coverage at festivals is often limited. So, in case you lose signal, lose or break your phone, ensure you arrange a meeting point and time with your friends, in case somebody gets lost. Don’t feel afraid to ask festival stewards for help, and refrain from calling 999 as it can put additional stress and pressure on the emergency services.
  • Camping is often a huge part of festivals, so ensure you think ‘safety’ when you choose, pitch and use your tent. Practice putting your tent up prior to the festival. Have everything you need with you to assemble and use your tent at the festival. Choose a tent with bright luminescent guy ropes so people can see them in the dark. Avoid obstructing walkways. Pack one torch for late-night blue trips, and warm sleeping bag with enough bedding. Avoid naked flames and smoking within the tent, and ensure you know the fire safety arrangements, such as where the nearest source of water is. If there is a fire in your tent, get everyone out quickly.
  • Now… let’s talk about booze. Downing two bottles of cider with your mates may seem a good idea at first, but alcohol can distort you perception, and lead you to doing some silly things– not a good idea when you’re surrounded by strangers. So stick to the legal limit, and if you think you won’t be able to stop drinking, avoid drinking altogether. You won’t regret it the next morning!
  • This tip applies to festivals, clubbing holidays and any situation you might find yourself in. On TV shows such as ‘Sun, Festivals and Suspicious Parents’, sex is a huge aspect of the young people’s lives. However, remember that sex + no condom = increased chance of an STI and increased chance of pregnancy. So, if it is likely to happen, plan in advanced. Bring contraception with you. If you have any worries, talk to a paramedic. If you realise “oops, I had unprotected sex”, head to the medical centre ASAP, who can give you advice, or emergency contraception.
  • Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Festivalhealth/Pages/Survivalguide.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.

15 glast

Glastonbury sign at Glastonbury Festival.


9 sunny beach

Safety in the sun is vitally important for your health and well-being. So don’t take any risks. Memorise the tips below so you are 100% confident you are safe in the sun!

Protect yourself from harmful UV rays by wearing sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat.

  • How the sun is harmful: the sun penetrates the skin and damages the cells. These cells are at risk of becoming cancerous. This can happen whether sunburnt or not.
  • Who’s at risk: those particularly at risk include individuals with fair skin that burns easily in the sun, those with naturally red or fair hair, those with a multitude of moles and freckles, a personal or family history of skin cancer, or those who have already had sunburn, particularly when young.
  • Stay in the shade if possible, especially between 11 AM and 3 PM, when the sun rays are the strongest.
  • Never let yourself burn. Make sure you cover up, wear sun cream and reapply it at a regular basis.
  • Take extra care with children.
  • Use factor 15+ sun cream, if not stronger.
  • Noticeable change or unusual skin growth? Consult your GP ASAP.
  • Avoid using sunbeds, as health risks include skin cancer, premature ageing skin, sunburn, dryness and itching, and eye irritation.
  • It is illegal for people under 18 to use sunbeds.
  • Protect your eyes, as overexposure to sunlight increases the risk of cataract and growths on the surface of the eye. Overexposure to ultraviolet light can cause temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye.
  • Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to reduce the amount of UV rays reaching your face.
  • Byy sunglasses with the CE mark and British standard, a UV 400 label and 100% sun protection.
  • Visit http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.

1 breakfast at tiffanys

Holly Golightly had the right idea.


Food is a wonderful thing. Right now I’m thinking of Mexican Fajitas, Turkish Pilaf Rice and Shish Kebabs, Italian Pizzas, Swedish Meatballs, Spanish Tapas, Indian Curry and Chinese Stirfry. But not all restaurants, cafes and street markets are hygienic. Follow the tips below to help you choose yummy- but safe- foods and drinks while abroad!

12 drinking water abroad

  • Don’t drink tap water or use it to clean your teeth while abroad – unless it has been treated.
  • Use filtered, bottled, boiled or chemically treated water instead.
  • Bottled water with the sale intact is safe.
  • Avoid ice in drinks – unless you know it has been made with safe water.
  • Avoid foods that use animal waste as fertilisers, including:
    • Salads, for example lettuce.
    • Uncooked fruit and vegetables, unless watched in safe water by you.
    • Food is being left out at room temperature in warm environments, or has been exposed to flies.
    • Unpasteurised a products, for example milk, cheese or ice cream.
    • Raw and cooked seafood or shellfish.
    • Street trader food – unless freshly prepared and served hot and clean crockery.
  • Only dine in places which have a reputation for serving safe food.
  • Ensure you only eat food that is slowly cooked and served very hot.
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating.
  • Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/travelhealth/Pages/Food-and-water-abroad.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.

13 eating food abroad

Most importantly- HAVE FUN!

Use these tips with discretion. They will not apply to every situation, but they will help you remain safe, healthy and happy in many situations you face. Visit the linked web pages to find more detailed guidance on holiday safety.

Liked this guide? Read more on futurelifehappiness.wordpress.com.

Have you seen our other guides?

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



Meg & the SGO xxx

SGO Logo Website

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Holiday the Sustainable Way!

Everybody loves a good summer holiday. Whether you’re venturing afar to outback Australia, or chilling on the beach in Tunisia, or taking a short weekend break to Cambridge, a moment of consideration should be given to the environment and society no matter where you go. Going on holiday shouldn’t be an excuse to abandon good, environmentally-friendly habits for a week. It may seem tough to make holidays sustainable, what with airplane exhaust fumes and holiday destinations readily becoming globalised. Here are our top ten tips for squeezing every inch of sustainability out of your summer abroad.

0 Seychelleds

Don’t let your vacation destroy this beautiful paradise.

1) Cultural Research

Understand the environmental you are visiting. Learn about the natural environment, culture and history to truly experience and understand the destination you are visiting. Talk to locals, visit historic attractions, try local cuisine and participate in local activities and events.

1 Tribal Dance

     Participate in an Aborigine tribal dance while travelling in Australia.

2) Support Locals

While we don’t suggest you go crazy, buying local products and produce helps support the locals, who may depend on tourism for their income. So go ahead and buy a loaf of Turkish Ramadan bread to take home for your parents, a Greek vase, or take part in a Native American healing ritual. As long as you don’t spend over your limit, it can only do good!

3 Support Locals

3) Sustainable buying

While it’s important to support locals by buying their produce, consider its origins before purchasing. Never buy products made from endangered wildlife and certainly do not bring it back home- in many countries, this is illegal!

31 Sustainable Buying

4) Fuel Thinking

It’s hard to completely stop fuel use when vacationing, unless you’re walking or cycling to or through your destination. Instead, think of ways to cut down on fuel use. If you’re travelling within the UK, take a coach or train to your destination instead of driving. If you’re flying to your destination, book direct flights instead of changing. Walk or cycle as much as possible in your chosen destination. It may be more economically costly, but it will do a world of good for the environment! Remember, staying closer to home is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. So if you want to be truly sustainable, consider a camping trip in the UK rather than a resort holiday in Greece.

2 canadian mountains

Inter-rail across the stunning Kananaskis Mountains in Canada, rather than drive.

5) Proper Waste Disposal

Don’t let your good habits turn bad. Continue to recycle while on holiday. Dispose of your waste properly at the designated facilities. Dispose with care to protect the wildlife, and to leave the destination a beautiful place for future generations to enjoy.

4- Recyling

6) Sustainable Planning

Plan your holiday with sustainability in mind. Ensure you book your holiday with companies that engage in sustainability, perhaps through energy efficiency or recycling initiatives, or through actively helping to preserve communities and the environment. Similarly, make sure your hotel is green as well!

5 Travel Agency

7) Clubbing holidays

Destinations such as Ayia Napa, Ibiza, Kavos and Magaluf are well known for their vibrant nightlife and extreme clubbing. While this is fun for tourists, this behaviour may have inadvertent effects on the local community. Families with young children will not want to hear screaming and shouting at 3 o’clock in the morning. Similarly, local residents will not appreciate discovering broken glass bottles on pavements. Consider the impacts of your actions on the local community before embarking on this type of holiday. Vacations that are truly sustainable do not negatively impact on the local community.

7 Clubbing holidays

8) Dress code

Take the advantage of following the local dress code to explore the local culture. Dress appropriately by learning about local conventions. Remember that dressing modestly is an important aspect of many cultures.

8 Dress code

9) Bon Jour!

Learn the local language before or during your trip. Use the language you have learned to talk to locals and develop relationships with them.

9 Languages

10) Enhance the destination, instead of hinder

Make it one of your aims to not just leave the destination how you found it, but leave it better than you found it! Make the conscious decision to improve the destination by picking up trash, volunteering or donating money.

10 enhance destination

Preserve the stunning beauty of the Greek islands for years to come.

Did you know there is such a thing as sustainable tourism?   


11 unsustainable tourism

… To This

12 sustainable tourism

Help prevent the destruction of natural features such as coral reefs by thinking sustainably while on holiday.

Sustainable tourists aim to make only a positive impact on the environment, society and economy when visiting their chosen destination, using local transportation, accommodation, entertainment, food and shopping. Sustainable tourists should respect local cultures and environment, buying locally unfairly, protect water, energy and endangered wildlife, take responsibility for their actions, protect and enhance destinations. Everybody should be a sustainable tourists, no matter how close or far away from home they are travelling.

Following the 10 above steps will not only help you become the best sustainable tourist possible, but help preserve our beloved tourist destinations for many years to come!


Meg & the SGO xxx

SGO Logo Website