It’s time to sum up another peculiar year. Monty Don suggested that it was a poor year for gardeners but a good year for many plants.
The allotments lie on heavy soil at the top of a slope and moisture retention can be a problem in many years – but not this year! Raspberries cropped very well, probably showing why they do well in the wetter atmosphere of Scotland. Green vegetables also thrived and some root crops such as the primitive celeriac which requires continuous moisture filled out well. On the other hand the potato crop was poor with potato blight difficult to control. The blight also spread rapidly onto its other favourite host, the tomato. Low light levels, as well, delayed some flowering and ripening. Potato seed suppliers are warning of total crop failure of some varieties and shortage of others including Charlotte which is becoming a firm favourite on our soil.
To our great regret Don Frost decided that he could no longer take an active role as our Chairman and resigned. Don remains our Life President and a trustee and will not be losing his interest in our activities. He is probably our last active link with the founding members of 1976 and we have no intention of losing his extensive knowledge of the Society and the site. By the time that you read this we will have had our annual social evening and presented Don with a memento of the Society. This is a painting of the site that, importantly, includes the site hut, obtained by some nefarious route when Don was in the building trade. We hope to see him still sunning himself on the bench outside.
Unfortunately, we have also received the resignation of long-term member, Geoff Faulkner. Geoff has featured highly in our list of prize winning plots and has been an active committee member. We have relied on his engineering and DIY expertise for site maintenance and overhauling our communal equipment. We will be looking for new blood at the AGM!
As a result of our autumn competition, won by Neil Crump for full-plots and by Peter Longbottom for half-plots they become our “Allotment Gardeners of the Year”. They were not easy successes, Steve Eszrenyi and Karen Salisbury, respectively, were close behind.
Allotmenteers are never satisfied, but of all the recent seasons to moan about, this is probably the one.
The Royal Horticultural Society has just noted the hot topics for its advisory service this summer –
Tender plants not growing. Without warm sunny days in late summer petunias and other tender plants will not give their best.
Light crops of apples and pears. Likely this autumn after poor pollination in spring.
Disappointing flowers. To flower plants need plenty of light as well as moisture, and late summer flowers may be disappointing unless the weather is warm.
Potato (and tomato) blight. This relishes wet weather and 2012 is shaping up to be a bad blight year
Horsetail. Relishing wet soil, this spreads widely in early summer and unless dealt with can consolidate its grip and become hard to deal with.
Given the above, our summer competition produced some very good results for those who had managed to exploit the gaps in the bad weather. Point scores were higher than those in more amenable seasons
Best Full Plot
1st Steve Eszrenyi 85 pts
2nd Neil Crump 83 pts
3rd Peter & Alice Topliss75 pts
4th Geoff Faulkner 71 pts
=5th Tom Woodward 68 pts
=5th Roy Ottewell 68 pts
Best Half Plot
1st Peter Longbottom 74 pts
2nd Mrs Karen Salisbury70 pts
3rd Mrs Petula Paul 65 pts
4th David Morgan 61pts
Best Crop Not On Prize Winning Plot
Bryan Bennett for sweet corn
The Society has sponsored classes in the horticultural section of Rolleston Club’s Village Gala again this year. We hope that local gardeners will support the show.
In September we take a trip to Malvern Autumn Show to compare our results with those of the “big boys”.
Politically, there’s been much afoot in the local allotment world. Residents will be aware that East Staffs. Borough Council has created a number of new parishes in the central Burton Area. Legally, allotments have to be owned by the lowest tier of local government and so the Borough Council has devolved all sites to the relevant Parish Council. Rolleston remains the single anomaly. The Allotment Society leases a site that will return to cemetery land when required for that purpose and ESBC remains our landlord. Transfer will not start to happen for several years yet – old hands declare that they will swap plots from one side of the fence to the other and check on the competence of new incumbents! Never the less the Parish Council is aware of the long term need for a permanent site in the village and our healthy waiting list indicates that this need will not go away.
It’s been another atypical start to the year. With the hot spell in March members were getting out their watering cans to germinate newly planted seed. A few weeks later anything too advanced was suffering in the cold and wet winds. Yet another reminder that good gardening is a game of patience, later sowings often catch up in the end.
ESBC Brighter Borough Gardening Competition
Got a garden you’re proud of? If you have then why not enter the Brighter Borough gardening competition?
It’s free to enter and you can enter your back garden, your front garden, your vegetable patch, your pond or just a container or hanging basket that you are really pleased with.
Entry is free and gardens will be judged in the first two weeks in July. Every entry will be given an award from bronze to gold and the winning gardens will win trophies at a special presentation evening in September.
There are also categories for community gardens, schools, pubs, businesses and places of worship so everyone can get involved.
The closing date for entries is 1st June 2012. If you would like to know more and get your entry form, please contact Charlotte Killick on 01283 508573 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: 26 December 2012