The Exchange goes live

We are happy to announce a full compliment of allotment holders and welcome them warmly to the new growing season.

February has seen the arrival of a new “cupboard on legs” on the allotments. Constructed by Rob Dove and installed by Dan Hotchkiss, The Exchange provides a much needed resource for all the allotment holders. We now have the perfect opportunity to swap seeds, plants, ideas and information, even if we might be the only person on the site.

The Exchange.
The Exchange. Taken in February 2021 by Sue Hotchkiss

Inside, there are a couple of boxes to keep the “swaps” dry…and out of the reach of mice! There are pin boards to leave messages, share ideas and top growing tips as well as a “heads up” for bargain purchases. To make sure we are Covid-compliant, hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial spray are immediately available for everyone’s safety.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll install a lower shelf on The Exchange to take all the extra seedlings and young plants that we’ve produced ( yes…we all do it!) so that nothing goes to waste. It means that all the growers benefit all through the season. Any surplus packets of seeds at the end of the year will be sent via various charitable organisations to developing countries to contribute to their own support programmes that help people live independently.

Although the weather is rather brisk at the moment, once things improve, it will be a great time to get started on the green roof project for The Exchange. The design has given us a space in the roof area to develop a green sward, hopefully with some wild flowers that will help The Exchange blend a little more into the landscape, we just need the smallest sheep in the world to browse it!

Fingers crossed, The Exchange is just the start of exciting things to happen on the allotments this year. It’s the middle of February and seed sowing has already started…watch this space!

Looking forward to the year ahead

This year the Association will be actively pursuing any available grants and funding and it is hoped that the allotment holders themselves will provide the strongest steer for those things that they feel are important to help the allotments thrive and flourish in future years. It is immensely pleasing to see young children coming onto the allotments with their parents, they are after all, the guardians of our amazing community facility and their participation should be encouraged every step of the way.

Although the weather is still inclement, there’s still plenty of jobs to do both on the plot and in the garden.

  1. Get your seeds ordered early: many people were caught out by a huge increase in demand last year and 2021 looks to be heading the same way.
  2. If you have one, wash down your greenhouse, inside and out and clear the guttering. This will make a huge difference to the amount of light coming in and also eradicate pests and disease that might have taken up residence.
  3. Re-use pots and labels, spend a couple of hours washing, cleaning and drying them: you’ll be glad you did it now.
  4. Clean, sharpen and oil your garden tools.
  5. Take an inventory of things that you almost ran out of at the end of last season: fertiliser, string, canes etc and make a note to buy more.
  6. Identify seeds that can be sown early, either under glass or on a warm windowsill such as sweet peas, hillies, aubergines, broadbeans…
  7. Decide on one brand new thing to grow this year that you’ve never tried before!
Albert in the snow. Taken in January 2021 by Sarah Bray.

And finally, Albert, our resident scarecrow is in desperate need of a new set of clothes. It may be some while before he can peruse the charity shops again, so if anyone has anything suitable: a straw hat, waistcoat, shirt, pants, braces, then all offers kindly received.