This is the time of year when we can’t move for seedlings. The shelves in the little potting shed are overflowing and all the windowsills in the house are crammed full. In a week or so, I’ll start to harden some of them off – let them stand outside during the day – so that they gradually get used to a less sheltered existence. It’s amazing to think that, in a matter of months it will be the allotment that is overflowing and we’ll being walking home across the bridge with bags full of vegetables.
I’m not sowing many seeds at a time this year – I’d like to master the art of succession sowing – but I am sowing a few extra of everything ready for the Allotment Association Plant Sale on Saturday 28 May. If you grow any young plants you’d like to donate to raise funds, keep an eye on the notice boards for news of the drop off points as the sale approaches.
If on the other hand, your seed sowing has been a bit sporadic this year, you could come along to the Market Place between 9.00 and 1.00 on 28 May to pick up plants to fill the gaps. You know they will have been grown with love by fellow plot holders – they’re almost guaranteed to crop well!
I’m trying a couple of new (to me) vegetables this year – Buckler-leaf sorrel and a Yacon (Peruvian Ground Apple). The sorrel is already making itself comfortable in a partially shady section of my quick to over heat garden. It has smaller leaves and a more delicate lemon flavour than the better-known Broad-leaf sorrel. We’re looking forward to trying it in salads or as a cooked veg.
The Yacon will go wherever I can find a gap on the allotment. It’s grown for its crisp, sweet-tasting roots that are harvested during the autumn and winter. It’s said to be high in potassium. I’ll give the Yacon and the sorrel a season or two to settle in and then perhaps they’ll be ready to be propagated. They might even make an appearance at the plant sale.
If you enjoy woodland walks there’s a treat ahead. Plot holders are invited to join a guided bluebell walk through privately owned woodland on Sunday 8 May. Meet at 2.15 at Rotherfield Peppard Church.
Tips from the allotment
Carrots and beetroot
Parsnip are slow to germinate – sow them alongside a sprinkling of quick to germinate radish seeds to mark the rows
Sow kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, calabrese, sprouting broccoli
Chillies, peppers, cucumbers, courgettes and sweetcorn
Give French and Runner beans a head start by sowing them in pots. If you would prefer to sow direct then wait a week or so.