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Many new gardeners recognize a nettle, buttercup or dandelion but so often I hear someone say "I wouldn't know if it was a plant or a weed".  Many weeds are simply plants that grow invasive and usually where they are unwanted. I have put together a few of the ones that can often crop up in allotments and tried to simplify the facts as to how it will effect your plots, PLEASE add any others that you know off. CREEPING BUTTERCUP:  This is a troublesome weed that withstands some trampling, whilst it looks pretty in flower it slowly depletes the land of potassium. The seeds that disperse from the plant can stay in the soil for five to seven years. Chickens and geese love to eat the leaves.    SHEPHERDS PURSE: ( A member of the mustard family) This plant produces hundreds of seeds, it can easily spread and needs to be removed before it flowers. This...
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Posted by on in Gardening
It's that time of year when the allotment is thriving and looking good, the weather is maybe being kind and the greenhouse stays hot. It's also the time when holidays or short breaks are taken.  One problem with owning the allotment is leaving it for a while.  Is it going to be safe? Watered?  Will the livestock survive? Here is a basic list of to-dos to help with the holiday dilemma: Find someone reliable and trustworthy to be the caretaker for the time you are away. Let only trustworthy allotment friends know, and tell them who is going to be key holder, and for how long. Offer the caretaker anything ripe in the plot for his/her help especially continuously cropping plants such as peas and beans. This will ensure that no pods mature and  the plants switch off their flowering mechanism, even if it means composting some crops. Leave available - hosepipe attached to water if possible...
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One of the hardest jobs in the allotment is always keeping off the little pests that come along and nibble our produce before we get a chance to ourselves. Companion planting helps to deter the unwanted bugs and I am sure some of you have some old tried and tested remedies which I haven't mentioned.   This year I intend to use some old and new remedies for deterring the pests and I will tell you later on the site if these worked for me. CARROT FLY: I find this to be the worse pest, attracted to the smell of carrot leaves, so this year I will plant them in a raised bed with SPRING ONION and CHIVES growing all around the edge of the bed. ONIONS: I will grow these close to the greenhouse, which has got TOMATOES, PEPPERS and CUCUMBER inside, whilst also being in close proximity to LETTUCE, the CARROT bed and BEETROOT. Hopefully the strong smell will deter many common pests. GARLIC: this is one of natures most...
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Posted by on in Gardening
Years ago gardeners used nature and weather patterns to determine how and when to sow, plant and harvest. but another way not so commonly known is the use of planting by the moon.  When you think of the moon many believe its powers are through the mind and cults, but think again, the moon has impact on the sea and when you think of the power it has on the sea and tides, no wonder gardeners believed it also had impact on the land.     Biodynamic gardening is on the increase and I have to admit I am now after some research on the subject  interested to see if it really does work.  The theory behind moon planting is when the moon pulls you should plant seeds that grow above the ground and when the moon wanes you should grow plants that grow below the ground.  If there is a full moon you should...
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Posted by on in Gardening
What inspired you to become an allotment gardener? Was it your parents, money, or maybe just a spontaneous idea? For me it was an illness.   I am Hazel, and I am a coeliac and have been since diagnosed back in 2003. When I was diagnosed many did still not know coeliac disease, the gluten free diet I had to follow was confused with the F-plan diet and “low carb” crazes. It was a diet that many didn’t realise was keeping me from being very ill. Gluten free food wasn’t easily available, I was told by my dietician “you can no longer eat bread, cakes, pasta and cereal but eat plenty of fruit and vegetables with some meat, fish and dairy, and then the golden rules; (1) "Food shouldn’t be boring or tasteless," and (2) "cook and bake your own" and (3) 'Grow your own”. I have always from a very early age...
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