Preparing for summer veg

As all fears of frost fade and we begin summer proper, windowsills and cold frames can finally be emptied of, and the allotment filled with, all those seedlings and cuttings.

If the dry weather continues, it’s vital to not just puddle them in, but also to keep them watered during the first weeks while they get their roots down.

Both the bigger allotment sites in Reepham have had trouble with potato blight, which also affects tomatoes, so I don’t grow mine outside directly in the ground.

Growing them in a greenhouse helps protect them from blight as well as giving them the warmth they love, but since I don’t have a greenhouse on my half-plot, I grow mine at home in pots in a sunny corner, instead.

Home-grown tomatoes, straight from the vine, are sweeter than any you’ll find in the shops.

I understand that Stoney Lane has been having problems with dogs doing their business on allotment site.

If the gate is left open, dogs being walked on Marriott’s Way can run through before their owners can stop them, stressing the chickens and leaving mess behind them. If everyone remembers to keep the gate shut, hopefully the problem should cease.

It’s not too late to sow courgettes and cucumbers for a late summer crop since they look for warmth rather than increasing daylight to produce flowers and fruits.

Succession sowing of peas, French beans, beetroot and salad ensures a continuous harvest rather than a glut, but do water the soil before sowing to give your crops the best possible start.

Meanwhile, as the asparagus season ends in June, the broad bean season has just begun, herbs are producing fragrant foliage, and roses and other cutting flowers are blooming.

And as I pick sun-ripened strawberries, I always share any over-ripe or slug-nibbled fruit with some pretty excited hens.

Sarah Oates

  • To ask about renting an allotment, contact: Jo Boxall, Town Clerk, Reepham Town Hall, Church Street, Reepham, Norfolk NR10 4JW. Tel: 01603 873355 or email. For information on joining RALGA, email or write via the allotment postbox.