Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Baity's Allotment!

We just love our little garden/allotment – everyday it gives us totally organic, fresh and fragrant herbs which we could not live without!

Baity's list of ways allotments can change your life: 

  • They provide you with a cheap source of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • They are organic as there is less contact with pesticides - which means that the fruit and vegetables that you grow are better for you
  • They give you a great reason to spend more time outside
  • They give you a good sense of achievement
  • They provide you with a positive focus
  • They are educational as you will learn lots of things your didn't already know about how to plant/grow various fruits and vegetables
  • They are a great stress release
  • They give you a great way to escape the pressures of modern living
  • They encourage you to spend time with your neighbours and create a good community spirit
  • Its a very sociable activity
  • They provide you with a fun form of exercise
To find about getting an allotment near you...click here

One of our favourite things to grow at the moment is strawberries. Now is the perfect time to plant strawberries outdoors (they can be planted anytime between late June – September) – in your allotment!

Top-Tips for growing strawberries

  • The ideal soil is well-drained and rich in humus
  • They prefer to be planted in full sun, out of the wind
  • They can produce fruit for five or six years
  • To prevent slugs, put down pellets or place grit or broken egg shells under each plan
  • Place a net over the plants to prevent birds and squirrels from eating the fruit 
  • Pick any ripe strawberries so they don't rot on the plan
  • Check the plants every other day during the ripening period 

How to plant your strawberries

Prepare the soil by digging over, removing any perennial weeds and adding manure
Plant with the crown at soil level and water well

  Five strawberry varieties to try…
  1. 'Elvira' - a heavy cropper producing large, soft fruits from June to early July
  2. 'Hapil' - high-yielding variety with large, bright red fruits from early to late July
  3. 'Florence' - grows well in all soils and produces large, dark fruit in late summer
  4. 'Vivarosa' - one of the few varieties to produce pink (instead of white) flowers
  5. Fragaria vesca - provides good ground cover in cottage gardens

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