Roehampton Garden Society


October jobs on your allotment

  

Maintaining soil and structures and planning ahead

  • Continue to clear the ground of this summer’s growth, weeding as you go.
  • Turn the compost heap to speed its decomposition.
  • Compost fallen leaves in hessian bags. Compost pea and bean foliage,but leave the roots in the ground as they contain nitrogen.
  • Plan where you will grow brassicas next year. Manure the area now and lime in the spring if the ph level is below 7.
  • To maximise light levels and reduce harbouring of bugs, clean the green house with eco-friendly detergent. Garden disinfectant such as Jeyes Fluid can be used in a greenhouse or a sulphur candle if resident bugs are suspected.
  • Make a last cut on grass paths and reinstate beds where grass has encroached.
  • Apply grease bands around the trunks of fruit trees as a barrier to winter moths.
  • Order bare-rooted fruit trees to be delivered November onwards. (See guidance on website and contact Site Secretary)
  • Check that the bird netting on brassicas is secure in preparation for more wintry weather.
  • Collect seeds of plants that have not been harvested. Peas and beans save well. Collect directly from the plant on a dry day to avoid fungal rot and put straight into paper bags.

Sowing and planting

  • Winter salads and oriental greens can be sown in the green house or cold frame.
  • Sow over-wintering broad beans either directly or start under cover in pots or root-trainers.
  • Sow green manures such as rye, vetches or ryegrass to be dug in next February.
  • Plant overwintering onion sets and garlic. Soil must be well drained. Onion sets should just peep above the surface. If the ph is lower than 7 add a little calicified seaweed. Plant garlic planted 1.5- 2”deep, spaced 7” apart. Both benefit from onion fertilizer.
  • Plant daffodils, alliums and other spring bulbs for early spring flowering. (Hold off planting tulips till November.)
  • Sow sweet peas in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse for early summer flowering and showing. Sow in root trainers or 3” pots.
  • Plant out spring cabbage 6” apart.
  • Take hardwood cuttings, 1ft long, from gooseberries and currants. Plant in pots of compost.

Harvesting

  • Harvest winter squashes. Cut the squash carefully leaving a 2-3” stem. ‘Cure’ in a warm, dry place for 10-14 days, then in a cool, light place at around 50-55F until ready to eat. Many squash can be stored for up to 6 months.
  • Store disease-free apples, pears and potatoes in a cool, dry place.
  • Ensure carrots are protected with insect mesh as carrot flies are most damaging in late summer and autumn. Leave in the ground to harvest as needed.
  • Harvest maincrop potatoes. Check each tuber for disease or damage and do not store damaged tubers. Store in a cool, dry place. Let the tubers dry off before storing in jute, hessian or paper bags in a dark frost-free place.

Pruning

  • Lift and divide rhubarb plants that have been in situ for more than 5 years or are less productive. Keep and replant the newer outside growth and discard the centre.
  • Cut down asparagus stems as they turn yellow and mulch with well-rotted manure.
  • Clear away strawberry foliage to prevent build-up of pests and diseases.

Gardening for wildlife

  • Leave decorative perennial seed heads as food and habitats for wildlife
  • Build an insect hotel or install a log pile.

 

 

 


May jobs on your allotment

Pea Frame

  • 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 where there are areas of bare soil where summer or autumn vegetables are to be planted out. Dug in before July it will fix nitrogen in the soil.
  • Plant comfrey.  The leaves can be used as a compost activator, as well as a making an excellent liquid feed.
  • Keep adding to the compost heap, making sure to mix ‘greens’ (lawn cuttings etc) with ‘browns’ (ripped cardboard, straw etc)
  • Continue to mow grass paths.
    • Strimmer is available to borrow in store. Charge £1.00.  Contact rgs.sw15@gmail.com to book.
    • Lawnmowers, free to borrow, are stored in the toilets on both sites.
  • 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.
  • Sow salad crops successionally, including radishes, spinach and beetroot and herbs such as basil, coriander and parsley.
  • Sow cauliflowers, sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts and leeks for harvesting next winter.
  • Sow sweet corn, French and runner beans direct into the soil.
  • Sow carrots.  Use insect mesh to protect from carrot fly.
  • Make late sowings of peas by the end of the month.
  • Prepare a fine seedbed and sow flowering annuals to attract pollinating insects.
  • Plant out tomatoes towards the end of the month watching out for drops in nighttime temperatures below 12 degrees C.  Be ready to put protection such as fleece or cloches around plants on cold nights.
  • Sow pumpkins, squashes and outdoor cucumbers under cover now or outdoors towards the end of the month. Watch for cold nights.
  • Start hardening off tender plants for planting out at the end of the month.
  • Ventilate greenhouses on warm days and cover vulnerable plants with fleece if cold nights are forecast. Apply shading to prevent scorching of plants.
  • Place straw under strawberries to keep fruit clean and deter slug damage. Feed with tomato fertiliser every week.
  • Support broad beans with string attached to stakes. 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 and bury in the compost heap.
  • Net cherry trees against birds.
  • Harvest 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.
  • Inspect gooseberries for signs of sawfly damage. Pick off by hand.
  • Start harvesting established asparagus.


February jobs on your allotment

  • Prepare for early vegetable crops by warming soil before sowing, covering seedbeds with polythene or cloches.
  • Keep off wet soils to avoid compaction. Use long boards as walkways, to spread your weight.
  • If the soil isn’t too wet, start to dig in overwintered green manures such as grazing rye and winter tares, as the frost should have killed them off.
  • Continue to tidy up and re-cut grass path edges where the grass has encroached on your plot.
  • Give your compost heap a ‘spring turn’ this month. Turning will aerate and stimulate the heap. If it’s too dry, continue adding wet kitchen waste, and water it occasionally. If too wet, add more carbon-rich stuff such as twigs, crumpled cardboard and paper waste, to open up and aerate the heap. Continue to add layers of uncomposted stable manure to your heap.
  • Empty compost heaps when ready and spread the well-rotted dark crumbly compost on beds prior to sowing or use as seed compost.
  • Chit potato tubers in a light, cool, frost- free place.
  • Clean pots and trays by scrubbing in hot, soapy water before starting to sow new seeds. Pests and diseases can overwinter in old potting compost, surviving to damage newly emerging seedlings.
  • Sow sweet peas in deep pots or Root-trainers in a cold frame, greenhouse or windowsill. (A wide range of sweet peas – single varieties such as King’s High Scent and Midnight as well as mixes e.g. Mammoth mixed and Incense are all available in store. Root trainers are available in store as well as free pots in the pot box next to the store.)
  • Pot on and pinch out autumn-sown sweet peas to encourage side-shoots to form.
  • Sow (Check out the range of varieties available in store such as Ildi, Megabyte F1, Gigantomo, Fandango,and Akron).
  • Sow sweet and chilli peppers from mid- February in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. Chillies can be slow to germinate. (Check out the varieties available in store such as Long Red Marconi, Trinidad Perfume.)
  • Sow aubergines in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. (Check out the varieties in store such as Black Beauty and Long Purple as well as the patio varieties Jackpot and Pinstripe.)
  • Sow celeriac in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. (Variety, Prinz is available in store.)
  • Sow broad beans outside. (Check out the varieties in store such as Karmazyn, de Monica, Masterpiece Green Longpod and The Sutton.)
  • Sow cabbage. Check sowing advice on packets for different varieties. (Cabbage varieties available in store are Greyhound and Hispi.)
  • Sow peas outdoors. (Variety, Early Onward, is available in store.)
  • Sow onions and early leeks in the greenhouse or under cover. (Varieties, Blue Solaise, Below Zero F1 and Giant Winter are available in store.)
  • Sow early lettuce and keep in cold frame or greenhouse for earlier harvest. (Varieties Oakleaf Navara, Salad Bowl and Little Gem Cos are all available in store.)
  • Sow hardy annuals for companion planting such as Calendula and Tagetes indoors for earlier blooms.
  • Sow mustard and cress in a small seed tray on a warm windowsill for pickings in just a few weeks.
  • Complete pruning of apple and pear trees, gooseberries, redcurrants and prune out a quarter of blackcurrants’ older growth at ground level.
  • Prune autumn raspberries, cutting all canes down to the ground.
  • If summer-fruiting raspberries have grown above their supports, cut back to one or two buds above the top wire.
  • After pruning, apply a general-purpose fertilizer to tree, bush and cane fruit and mulch with well-rotted manure or garden compost. (all available in Store)
  • Top-dress all tree and soft fruit with sulphate of potash. (available in Store)
  • Spray dormant fruit trees and bushes with plant oil-based winter tree wash (available In Store) to kill overwintering eggs of aphid pests.
  • Apply 2” layer of well-rotted garden manure or garden compost around perennial crops such as Jerusalem artichokes or rhubarb. (Country Natural available in Store)
  • Start pruning bush roses at the end of the month.
  • Fruit bushes can still be planted now.
  • Force rhubarb for sweeter, earlier stems by covering crowns with straw and then a container to exclude light.
  • To reduce club root on brassicas, apply lime to soil at 270g per sq m, 8oz per sq yd. (lime available in Store)
  • Prepare a new asparagus bed by digging in well-rotted manure and order asparagus crowns.
  • Apply general fertilizers such as Growmore, (inorganic) or fish, blood and bone or seaweed, organic. (all available in Store)


December jobs on your allotment

  • Clear away any remaining plant debris from plots and compost if disease-free.
  • Earth up and check stakes on Brussels sprouts and other tall brassicas to prevent wind rock.
  • Prune grape vines before the end of the month, when dormant, to avoid sap bleeding.
  • Continue to plant fruit trees and bushes if soil is not frozen.
  • Divide and replant rhubarb.
  • Ventilate green houses on mild days to reduce diseases.
  • Plant blackcurrants 5cm below the soil to encourage new shoots.
  • Your last opportunities – 3 and 10 December – to shop for seeds in the Store for stocking fillers – sweet peas and herbs etc.
  • Protect autumn-sown broad beans with cloches during extended periods of frost.
  • For early tender stems, ‘force’ rhubarb by covering crowns with a dark-coloured bucket.
  • Plant fruit trees trained as cordons or espaliers to make good use of limited space. Check RGS website for guidance on permitted trees.
  • Plant blueberries in pots of ericaceous compost. (Ericaceous compost available in store)


June 2017 Bulletin

Download June 2017 Bulletin

  • Slug traps and control
  • Plan for midsummer planting – it’s not too late for beetroot, sprouting broccoli, florence fennel, lettuce, carrots, and some varieties of squash.
  • All about Rhubarb
  • Recipe: asparagus mimosa salad

And find out about what was judged to be the best allotment site in Wandsworth….

Plus all the information for the June 24th Summer show.