Growing a Greener Henley – Dreaming of Rain and Great Big Green Week


‘It’s a mistake to go away in the summer when you have a garden!’  The words of a fellow gardener are ringing in my ears as temperatures rise again.  I’m struggling to keep the veg on my allotment going and with a few days away planned, I’m tempted to agree with him.

Down at Greencroft Allotments, we don’t have taps or hosepipes. All our water comes from old-fashioned hand pumps and we carry it back to our plots in watering cans.  It’s hard work, especially in this weather.  As a result, we don’t waste a drop!

Giving everything a thorough water at the roots every third day and in the cool of the evening has been a good ploy.  Rather than evaporating as soon as it hits the ground, the water soaks down to the roots overnight.  Everything on my plot is alive, but some things are struggling.

The courgettes and squashes have suffered, but they’re still fruiting.  The poor brassicas on the other hand, look terrible.  The tips of their leaves scorched badly in the fierce heat we had a few weeks ago.  Fingers crossed that the rain we’ve been promised helps to revive them.

Every year, my mistakes teach me something new. From now on, I’ll never try to dig up carrots when the ground is very dry.  Yesterday, I snapped the tops off the healthiest carrots I’ve grown in years.  Their bottom halves stayed rather stubbornly underground.  It’s as if they’ve been cemented into the soil!  Another job to add to the ‘when we get some rain’ list.

It’s mid-August and it’s time for Greener Henley to get started on this autumn’s Great Big Green Week – a nationwide celebration of all things green and environmental.  This year it runs from 24 September to 2 October.

Keep an eye out for the many activities that are being arranged by Henley’s community groups and organisations.  Everything starts on Saturday 24th when Greener Henley takes over Falaise Square for the day.  Masses of interesting, helpful and thought-provoking stalls are being planned Put the date in your diary now!  There will be ice cream!