Allotments rock and that’s official! The sheer sense of achievement and satisfaction from spending many a happy hour down on the plot, pottering around and harvesting during gorgeous lazy summer weather is immeasurable.
I’ve been methodically harvesting redcurrants this week and what a satisfying, yet tedious job it is. Every time I go near the bushes a starling or pigeon seems to dart out from underneath despite my best attempt to protect the crop with netting! I really should invest in a fruit cage. However for this year, no great problem-there is enough bounty to go round. It’s worth checking your netting regularly as sometimes young birds can sadly get caught up in it.
There has been a bumper crop of strawberries over the past few weeks too. My new strawberry bed, planted last autumn has produced luscious super- sized berries packed with mouth-watering tantalising flavour. I like to create new strawberry beds every two years, rather than three years, to maintain good sized fruits.
Blueberries are nearly ready to pick too. Keep them well watered in dry weather, preferably with rainwater from a water butt. Blueberries are well worth growing on any allotment. Given lime free conditions, in the ground or in pots, they will give years of trouble-free service. They are expensive to buy in the shops too.
In some ways it is a challenging time of year to take an allotment on. Weeds are rampant and unless you are very lucky your new plot may resemble an overgrown jungle.
Try not to despair. Take inspiration from looking at other vibrant plots around you. Your neighbours probably began their allotment life in similar circumstances too. The main focus is really to plan for next year now- if a patch can be cleared by early September, spring cabbage and winter lettuce can be planted then. Then as autumn approaches garlic and over winter onions can also go in the ground. Some quick maturing salad crops can be sown now if the land isn’t too weedy.
As ever down on the allotment there is much to look forward to, with many exciting months ahead.
Crops in season this month include: Beetroot, broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, courgette, lettuce, peas, early and second early potatoes, radish, raspberry, spring onion and strawberries.