Making your own compost

compostingThe first aim of the compost heap is to enable allotment waste to be removed from the growing area without the need for bonfires or trips to the tip.  The second aim is to make a wonderful soil conditioner.

You will soon be able to order a pallet compost bin kit (a brand new version of the bin shown) from the shop or you may prefer to make your own wooden bin or use a ‘Dalek’ bin.

Daleks and Pallets - How do you compost?

compost binWe are being encouraged to make compost from veg waste from our plots to reduce the need for bonfires and journeys to the tip and to provide a wonderful soil conditioner.  Some commercial bins can be expensive but the committee is in the process of sourcing pallets and lengths of strong rope, all that is needed to make a simple single or double bin.

Heating my greenhouse for free

grass in a boxI start most seed off in my greenhouse. I seem to get better germination and less slug and snail damage if I do this but I would really like a bit more heat in it to start things off even earlier. I don't have access to electricity in the greenhouse and nor do I want to pay a lot of money so what follows are a few things that I have tried and the solutions I have settled on.

Forcing Rhubarb with Weed Control Fabric

Rhubarb is early this year but it can be even earlier by covering with weed control fabric, as sold by the shop, for a few weeks.

Top Tips for Making Leaf Mould

This time of year is almost as busy a time as the spring.  One of the main jobs that I start is to mulch the beds ready for next year. I always have an issue with creating enough mulch for the plots and so use a wide range of things: compost, seaweed, manure and leaf mould.  The compost can be used for anything and sometimes I put it on top of the seaweed or leaf mould so that I get a depth of about 5 - 10 cm. The seaweed is very good for the asparagus, and potatoes do really well in it. The leaf mould doesn't really contain nutrients but is a soil improver and any of the beds would benefit from it. However, it does  take some time to make.

So how can we make the best leaf mould in the quickest possible manner?

Brassica Massacre: Cabbage Whitefly

This hot and dry year has meant that slugs and snails and the damage they cause has been far less than usual but there is always something that will enjoy the conditions.  It seems that whitefly are the pest of the year and my brassicas are covered in the things, whether they are netted or not.  As I walk past them or disturb the plants by picking off the old leaves, clouds of them fly up and settle over the surroundings. They don't kill the plants but they are the very devil to wash off, particularly when they are on kale, as is the sooty mould that goes with them.

I have been doing a little research to find out what I can do next year to try and reduce their numbers. Sadly, all the images below come from my very own plot.

Thinking Ahead

2019 catalogue

One of the things about vegetable growing is the need to think and plan ahead and nothing says this more than the arrival of the seed catalogues.  It requires us to think about what has grown well and what hasn't, what we want more of and what we want less of (please don't make me eat any more cucumbers). And most excitingly of all, what we want to grow that is new to us. As I write this, the gales are blowing and the rain is falling so a perfect time to sit back and think of next year.

Pound Lane - Grand Opening Event

allotmentsA great day was had at the Pound Lane allotments on August 19th celebrating the opening of the community garden and summer house; we made some new friends and learnt some more tips. Thanks to the team for all your hard work and dedication. Click 'Read More' to see the photos.

Open Day 2018

The 13th - 19th of August was National Allotments week where allotment sites opened up their gates to show off their great growing skills and to encourage others to join us in growing their own food. Exmouth District Allotment Association held an Open Afternoon which included a vintage tea, a raffle with some fantastic prizes and a tour around the plots.

Weed Control - Plastic, Cardboard and Weed Fabric

allotmentI started work on a very weedy allotment in February. I have been experimenting with different methods of ridding an allotment of weeds without the use of chemical weedkillers, such as Roundup, and with minimum soil disturbance as I follow the no-dig method of Charles Dowding.

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