Roehampton Garden Society


May jobs on your allotment

Pea Frame

Maintaining soil and structures and planning ahead

  • Hand weed and hoe regularly to keep on top of weeds. (Chickweed will produce 2,000 seeds per plant per season if left untouched!)
  • Keep the soil in good condition. Add garden compost or well-rotted manure to maintain soil structure and retain moisture and nutrients.
  • Sow fast-growing green manure such as crimson clover, buckwheat and phacellia where there are areas of bare soil or where summer or autumn vegetables are to be planted out. Dug in before July they will fix nitrogen in the soil and improve soil structure.
  • Plant comfrey.  The leaves can be used as a compost activator or for making an excellent liquid feed.
  • Keep adding to the compost heap, making sure to mix ‘greens’ (lawn cuttings, kitchen vegetable waste) with ‘browns’ (ripped cardboard, straw etc) and added layers of uncomposted stable manure.
  • Continue to mow grass paths.  (A strimmer is available to borrow in the store. Charge £1.00.  Contact root@roehamptonallotments.co.uk to book. Lawn mowers, free to borrow, are  stored in the toilets on both sites.)
  • Apply greenhouse shading to limit temperatures to 27c (81f) and ventilate on warmer days.
  • Watch night time temperatures and cover vulnerable plants with fleece or cloches if necessary.
  • Net cherry trees against birds as cherries begin to form.

Sowing and growing

  • Sow salad crops including radishes, spring onions, spinach and beetroot successionally for continuous cropping.
  • Sow herbs such as basil, coriander, dill and parsley.
  • Early in the month sow cucumbers and courgettes pots indoors for planting out later.
  • Sow cauliflowers, sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts and leeks for harvesting next winter.
  • Sow sweetcorn, French and runner beans direct into the soil.
  • Sow carrots in finely raked soil.  Use insect mesh to protect from carrot fly, securing well by pushing edges in to the soil, or sow in containers higher than 2 feet to lessen risk of carrot fly attack.
  • Sow pumpkins, squashes and outdoor cucumbers under cover now or outdoors towards the end of the month. Watch for cold nights.
  • Make late sowings of peas by the end of the month.
  • Prepare a fine seed bed and sow flowering annuals to attract pollinating insects.
  • Support broad beans and with stakes and tie in with strings.
  • Watch out for blackfly on broad beans and rub off or wash off with squirted water. Pinch off the tips with blackfly above the flowers as soon as the first beans start to form and bury in the compost heap.
  • Earth up potatoes when shoots are approx. 9 inches to prevent green tubers, pulling the earth up with a rake to form peaked rows. Remove any cold-damaged foliage.
  • Watch out for early summer dryness. Recently planted trees, shrubs and fruit need regular watering for the first two growing seasons.
  • Remove raspberry suckers encroaching onto paths or between rows.
  • Check gooseberries and redcurrants for sawfly larvae and remove manually.
  • Plant out tomatoes towards the end of the month watching out for drops in night time temperatures below 12 degrees c.  
  • Start to remove side shoots from leaf axils of cordon tomatoes.
  • Plant out Brussels sprouts, celeriac and leeks for autumn and winter harvesting.
  • Hang pheromone traps in apple trees to reduce codling moth caterpillar attack.
  • Start hardening off tender plants for planting out at the end of the month.
  • Place straw under strawberries to keep fruit clean and deter slug damage. Feed with tomato fertiliser every week.

Harvesting

  • Harvest up to half stems of established rhubarb when the stalk reaches 9-12 in. Pull (do not cut) stalks, taking no more than half at any one time.
  • Start harvesting established asparagus spears when 5-7” tall.
  • Harvest early crops of radishes and salad leaves as they appear.

Gardening for Wildlife

  • When plant buying choose single flowers as better sources of pollinating insect food than double blooms.
  • Top up bird feeders to help birds feed their young. Avoid peanuts now as these can choke chicks.
  • Froglets and efts (baby newts) will be leaving ponds by now so make sure there is a slope for them to climb up.  Make sure there is plant coverage on surrounding flagstones or they will fry on these.


Can you help the Putney Community gardeners

Dear Roehampton gardeners!

We’re writing to you from up the hill on Putney Community Gardens! This is our third year and we’re working hard and learning a lot! Some of our raised beds are East facing and surrounded by high blocks so have limited sunshine, they are also far from a water source.  We’ve decided that a few hardy pollinator friendly or forageable perennials is the way forwards with managing these plots.   We do our best to do swaps, find and use salvaged plants and take cuttings. We therefore wanted to reach out and ask if any of you might be in the process of thinning your perennials at this time of year? If you have any shrubs or cuttings to spare, we plan on visiting the allotments shop on the Pleasance on Sunday the 10th of February and would be delighted to pick up any plants going spare and spread the pollen up the hill!   Alternatively feel free to drop off any plants during our gardening session on February the 17th from 10-12 🙂

Thank you for reading and helping out! 

Rowan, Floriane, Blae and Charlotte from Putney Community Gardens


Important 2019 dates for allotment holders

February 20th Check your email for your invoice. If it hasn’t arrived let us know
February 28thGiving up your allotment? Let us know before this date (by e-mail or post) to avoid April’s rent.
March 31stPay your invoice before this date (cheque or bank transfer only please) and collect your new membership card from the store.
For Associate members (RGS subscription £2.50) cash will be accepted in the store and membership cards will be issued at that time.

How to Contact Us

Use our contact form
Email: rgs.sw15@gmail.com
Text: 07736 422 373.
By Post: RGS, The Pleasance Allotments, The Pleasance, London SW15 5HF


Changes to RHS London Shows for 2019

The RHS is moving several shows away from the Horticultural Halls in London to RHS gardens. This includes the RHS Early Spring Plant Fair and the RHS Harvest Festival Show both moving to RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex. Once the new events building is open at Wisley, one or more of the shows may move from Hyde Hall to Wisley in 2020.

The first London show in 2019 will be the RHS Orchid Show & Plant Fair on 8-10 April.

The relocated shows at Hyde Hall and Wisley will be free for RHS members.


January jobs on your allotment

Maintaining soil and structures and planning ahead

  • As crops are harvested clear debris and cover cleared soil with weed suppressant.
  • Plan a crop system for vegetables- leaving a minimum of two years before replanting crops in the same place.
  • Complete winter digging of bare beds and cover the ground to warm beds for early crops.
  • Open greenhouse vents on mild days
  • Clean greenhouses, staging, pots and seed-trays for the coming growing season.

Sowing and growing

  • Apply winter washes to fruit trees to control overwintering pests.
  • Start ‘chitting’ tubers of early potatoes in trays in a cool, light, frost-free location.
  • Sow broad beans in pots under cover.
  • Sow winter salads in a greenhouse or windowsill.
  • Sow summer brassicas and spinach on a windowsill to plant out in late February.
  • Aubergines can be sown under cover on a sunny windowsill from late January.
  • Bring potted runners of strawberries under glass for forcing.
  • Sow later sweet peas now and pot on autumn-sown sweet peas, pinching out the tip after 4 pairs of leaves have developed or when plants have reached 3.5 cms. Place on a sunny windowsill, in a cold frame or greenhouse.
  • Ensure brassicas are protected against pigeons by netting.
  • Begin forcing rhubarb for an early crop by placing a bucket or forcing jar over the crop.

Harvesting

  • Harvest parsnip, swede, sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leek and turnip.

Pruning

  • Prune overgrown blackcurrant bushes- remove a third of the old, weak or unproductive stems to ground level to encourage new basal shoots.
  • Prune freestanding apples and pears, maintaining an open centre. Do not remove more than 20% of the crown in one winter
  • Prune gooseberries, redcurrants and whitecurrants by removing dead wood and low lying shoots. Prune last year’s growth of the main stems by about a half. Prune all side-shoots back to one to three buds from their bases.
  • Prune grapevines before mid January.

Gardening for wildlife

  • Regularly replenish bird feeders.
  • Clear out bird boxes by removing old nests and rinse out boxes.