Archive for March, 2014

Scottish Charity Awards

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) annually offers awards to voluntary organisations.  Any voluntary organisation, charity, community group or individual charity volunteer or staff member may apply.  It is not necessary to be a registered charity.  The awards for 2014 were launched in February and the deadlines for award applications is March 26.

Note that the awards are NOT grants.  They are ‘after the event’ recognition for projects that took place in the time period Jan 1 2013 to March 31 2014.  In other words your project should be completed or in full swing by now.  You have to be able to show how the project is already making a difference to a group of people.

To find full details of what sort of activity is covered and how to enter for an award click here to go to the SCVO web site.  The most relevant category for allotment groups is probably Celebrating Communities.

March is here

Saturday, March 15th, 2014
Chives

Chives and tulips

Hopefully by now we are standing on the threshold of spring and the new gardening season. The days are beginning to lengthen and although it may not feel like it, the temperature is increasing day by day.  More importantly the longer days are trigger to new growth and you will find that with the help of little protection you can really go for those early sowings.

Sowing and Planting

Plant out first early potatoes as soon as possible and follow on planting out at regular intervals with the second earlies and first maincrops until the end of the month.  A little bit of forward planning: don’t be tempted to plant out more potatoes than you can protect from frosty weather futher down the line.

Transplant any early peas, beans, cabbages or lettuce you may have started off earlier. Sow the seed of brussels sprouts, summer cabbage, broccoli, onions and leeks in short rows on a nursery bed.  These will be grown on to be transplanted in April.

Rhubarb could use a top dressing too

Rhubarb could use a top dressing

Plant out onion sets, shallots and garlic before they start to produce shoots. If you are buying any from the site shed or garden centre reject any that are shooting. They will only bolt during the summer. Transplant any onions that were grown from seed sown last summer in rows. It is best to treat these as a sacrificial crop to be harvested and used from August onwards.

General

Complete any unfinished digging and winter pruning. Clear  old leaves from the strawberry plants and clean up the ground in between the plants before giving them a top dressing of general fertillsers.

Does your allotment need more trees?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Whether you’re thinking of planting for commemoration or remembrance, for shade or shelter, for food or for wildlife, or for other reasons the Woodland Trust is once again offering communities (allotment associations are communities!!), youth groups and schools the chance to apply for packs of free trees for delivery in November 2014. (Closing date 4 September 2014)

There are over 4000 packs to give away in autumn and they come in three sizes – 30 saplings, 105 saplings and 420 saplings in various themes (hedge, copse, wildlife, wild harvest, year-round colour, working wood, wild wood and wetland). You can apply for more than one pack and theme with 420 saplings being the maximum quantity. You can find out more about them and apply online at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees but I’d advise groups to apply sooner rather than later as the free packs are extremely popular and they may run out.

Talented Gardeners wanted for BBC2 show, The Big Allotment Challenge

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

ThePerfectAllotmentSilver River Productions are keen to hear from talented amateur gardeners. They are looking for ‘kitchen gardeners’ who would like to participate in the second BBC2 series of The Big Allotment Challenge (series 1 is due to be broadcast soon). Successful applicants will need to love to use their produce as well as grow it – gardeners who can not only grow the perfect carrot but can also turn their green tomatoes into award winning chutney and their dahlias and sweet peas into magnificent bouquets.

Participants will be offered the opportunity to turn a virgin plot of land into a place of beauty, and to be filmed while doing it! The plot of land is near Reading in the south of England. Interested applicants will need to think in terms of committing 1 or 2 days a week between April and August to maintain the plot and allow for filming however all travel and accommodation would be covered by the production company.

Anyone reading this who is interested can download an application form by clicking here. The form must be completed and submitted by midnight of March 13.