Monday, January 29

Chitting Potatoes - Of benefit or a waste of time?

There seems to be some uncertainty among the 'experts' as to whether chitting seed potatoes produces a heavier crop than planting unchitted seed potatoes. If your seed potatoes arrive in January then the decision is made for you. We have chitted ours for years and benefitted from good crops. Any low yield has been due to it being too dry, too wet, too cold, blight or slug attack. We have no evidence to suggest that chitting causes potato crops not to flourish.
Chitting Potatoes
Click here to read more about our method.

Sunday, January 28

Websites that may be of interest

In the news articles of Kitchen Garden Magazine was a piece on a web site that provides guides on greener living. One area focused on is greener gardening click here to visit.
The Kitchen Garden Magazine web site has also undergone a facelift click here if you want to pay a visit.

Saturday, January 27

Sweet Garlic and Chilli Dipping Sauce

Pat has been really busy again! Just think of poor Jo who has to try out all the recipes until Pat gets it just right!!
Pat made this dipping sauce because she found that a small bottle being sold in the supermarket was £1.99.

sweet garlic and chilli dipping sauce
Pat says this dipping sauce goes well with fish, meat and cheese. It can be used in stir-fries. You can put a little in a dish add a little lemon juice and use as a salad dressing. Or just dip in your barbecued meats
Click here access the recipe.

Thursday, January 25

Big Garden Bird watch this weekend!

Don't forget that this weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch event. Click here for details. Just spend an hour looking out of your window into your garden. Trouble is the birds seem to know they are being watched and seem to go into hiding. I'm sure we get more birds every other weekend. Bet the woodpecker doesn't make an appearance! I think the birds want the numbers counted to be low so that the RSPB launch support programmes on their behalf!

Tuesday, January 23

How closely do you look at nature?

This is a close up section of a photo taken on the plot. Can you guess what it is? Click here to see more close-ups. Post what you think the photos are in the comments linked to this post. I'll put answers up when 10 people have responded! How's that for coercion?
I must admit to looking more closely since I started using a digital camera. Isn't nature fascinating?

Monday, January 22

Allotment Association Meeting

The next meeting of the Green Lane Allotments Association is on Wednesday 31st January
Cricketers Pub - Cluntergate 7:30pm
(venue changed from Calder due to popular demand!)

Issues to discuss:
This years activities i.e. BBQ’s, Competitions, Days out.
Site facilities i.e. Site toilet, fence, secure storage.
Nominations for Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Committee

Any additional issues you want to raise please tell Al on Plot 34 before the meeting.

It would be great to see as many people there as possible.
For details of past agendas and minutes click here

Sunday, January 21

Video Diary and other bits and pieces

We've just started a video diary on the web site which may be of interest. Click here. Videos on the web site are stored on YouTube so if they won't play it is likely that your administrator has filtered YouTube. I have posted a notice on the site notice board asking tenants to indicate whether they give permission for us to publish photos or video of their plot on our blog or web site. I would be really grateful if you would complete the form provided and let people who haven't access to the Internet know about this too.
Commiserations to the people who have suffered damage in the gales this week. I noticed today several sheds and greenhouses had suffered with some having been completely destroyed. Let's hope that the strong winds don't come back.
I didn't stay on the site for long as it was raining and freezing cold - just stayed long enough to gather the week's supplies. The plot was standing in water after all the rain. Will it ever stop?
On the notice board was information that an annual general meeting of the Association is being held on 31st January. Maybe the organisers would like to post further information here as it is likely that due to the poor weather many will not visit the site and may miss the notice.

Saturday, January 20

Who said - "Plants don't fight back" ?

I was watching a gardening programme on TV recently when I heard the presenter say that plants didn’t fight back. I don’t think the person uttering this phrase can have ever pruned blackberry canes - a very necessary although deadly task and not for the faint hearted.
Click here to read more about how I do battle with the bramble.

Thursday, January 18

Letters to councillors and MP - responses

I have recently written letters to the three local councillors and Ed Balls our MP.

So far I have had a response from Councillor Janet Holmes indicating that she has asked Groundwork to contact the site secretary to view the site and also from Councillor John Sharp who has agreed for his response to be published here - it reads as follows:

Could I first thank you for your email about the Green Lane allotments and then point out I am not the green fingers type, and know very little about gardening or allotments. However I do appreciated what allotments do for the environment and the enjoyment it brings for the people who run them.
I do apologise for the fact you do not feel you have received enough support from the council. I will make some enquiries to find out what the current situation is concerning allotments and see what can be done over the security of the site. As a new councillor it may time me a bit of time to find out which part of the council deals with allotments but I will keep you informed of what I find out.
If possible could we arrange a meeting down at the allotments so you can show me the problems you are facing and so I can fully appreciate what you do and how I could help.
Finally feel free to put any information on your Blog, I will make it clear any information I would not want to be made public.
Many thanks for you time
John Sharp
Councillor - Horbury & South Ossett"

If anyone can think of any other influential people that we can canvas please let me know and I will forward similar letters to them
Hot off the press!
I have just this minute had an email from Groundwork and they are going to contact us in March and will try to support us in obtaining some funding.

Recent additional information
Click here to access the site referred to by Plot34 in the comments.

Tuesday, January 16

The site in January 2007

If you would like to browse more photos of the site taken on Sunday 14 January 2007 click here.
To view the photo album click on the larger single arrow at the bottom right of the picture and the slideshow will begin.
The plots were soggy with all the weeks of nearly constant rain but there was still work to do and vegetables to harvest!
If I appear to have been standing in the middle of your plot - please do not worry, pictures were taken using a zoom lens!

Sunday, January 14

Beetroot pickle

Did you manage to produce a good crop of beetroot last season? Why not try this tasty alternative to pickled beetroot?

It is equally good in sandwiches and as an accompaniment to salad.

Click here
for the recipe.

Saturday, January 6

Slugs - do you love em or loathe em?

Which is the top of your worst garden pest list?
Take part in the mini ballot in the sidebar of this blog to place your vote.
Thanks to all who have voted so far - slugs and snails and whitefly are proving to be high up the hate list but things could change! Don't just visit - place your vote.
No gardener can have failed to come in close contact with slugs and snails on numerous occasions. Many feel that they are constantly battling to protect their precious plants from this voracious feeder.
There seem to be as many ideas of how to control them as there are slugs. With one favourite method being to be jettison them into someone else's garden, it's a wonder that a species with wings hasn't yet evolved. Apparently the UK is the number one habitat for slugs and snails so are they all bad news or are they just misunderstood?
Click here to read more.

Do you have a favourite effective way of controlling slugs? - If so tell us about it by posting a comment on this blog.

Tuesday, January 2

Downing Street Petition site

Found a web site with petitions to Number 10. Some of you may be interested in signing the one asking the government to create more allotment sites. Click here to access. Even if you have a plot there are plenty of people on waiting lists all around the country.
Did think of starting one asking the government to put more money into existing sites too. What do you think? Probably won't have any effect but who knows?