Archive for January, 2009

National Trust for England to give land for Allotments

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

According to the Telegraph of Sunday 25/01/09 The National Trust (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland) a major landowner, has asked all its local managers  to consider land suitable for allotments. The charity is also asking older people to come forward to teach people the “lost skills” of gardening as part of a new initiative to encourage self sufficiency and healthy eating.

Government adviser Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University London, said the last time public land was given over to allotments was when parks were devoted to food production in the Second World War. He pointed out that the vast proportion of land in Britain is owned by one per cent of the population, meaning few ordinary people have access to land to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

Could the National Trust for Scotland, also a huge landowner in Scottish terms, consider following this example?

How Green are your Bean Poles?

Sunday, January 18th, 2009
Most of us prop up our peas, beans and other climbing plants using plastic netting and bamboo canes imported from China.  After all that is what is available in the local garden centre.Now some organisations in England are working to revive the art of coppicing, and other small woodland crafts.  This picture shows a plant wigwam built from bean poles and younger coppice shoots. Bean poles, 7 to 8 feet long and between 3/4 and 1 1/4 inches in diameter, often from hazel or sweet chestnut trees, were the traditional support but their use has declined with the easy availability of imported bamboo canes.  However some say that the rougher and irregular surface of traditional bean poles promotes better growth.  In addition the tops of the coppiced branches can be used as peas sticks, replacing the use of plastic netting.Using home-grown wood products can create new rural jobs, protect British woodland wildlife, at the same time as reducing damage to the rainforests. Now a community organisation Allotment Forestry is suggesting ways that allotmenteers and gardeners could grow and manage their own small coppice:  http://www.allotmentforestry.com/fact/growown.htm.  They also have a directory of woodland craft workers, including one organisation in Scotland – in Midlothian.

Along with a couple of other organisations they are sponsoring a National Beanpole Week from 25 April to 3 May to encourage the use of home grown bean and pea supports.  For more details see the web sites:www.beanpoles.org.uk and www.coppice-products.org.uk as well as www.allotmentforestry.com

January at Lady Road 2009

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

The cold wet weather does not allow much digging but I managed to fork in three bags of shredded mushroom compost into the salad bed.  This bed produces lots of lettuce, radish and is my seed bed so it gets special treatment.  The other job done this month is the annual weight survey of the produce from my plot.  Which can be seen by clicking here.

The link  is to a 12 month  snapshot of the produce from the allotment plot, from January 2008 to January 2009.

Currently I am harvesting:
Parsnips, Swedes,Spinach,Winter cabbage,Sprouts, Leeks, Desiree potatoes from store

The weights of the above produce will be included in next year’s survey. Also growing as green manure’s are field beans and grazing rye.

There is no wasted produce. I produce 4 gallons each of rhubarb, gooseberry and blackberry wine. My wife makes several batches of chutney and jams. Spare vegetables go to neighbours and when we visit them down South to our grown up children. Most spare produce goes to St. Catherine’s Convent Edinburgh who produce meals for the less fortunate of society.