Meet the Plotholder

Dennis Smith, Plot 48B, joined the ground in 2011 after visiting the summer show and being shown around the ground and expressing an interest in allotment gardening.

Dennis is now an active member of the committee and is an enthusiastic regular for the monthly grounds maintenance sessions.

3rd Year Already!Dennis_pumpkins

Hard to believe but yes I’m in to my third growing season at Granville Park. My half plot 48B is large enough to keep me busy and yields enough fruit and vegetables for the family. The neighbours too have benefited from surplus produce such as courgettes and rhubarb.

I’ve already realised that no two growing seasons are the same. Each year brings a different combination of warm, cold, wet and dry and as such it is impossible to have set dates for sowing and/or planting out. The biggest mistake I made last year was trying to get things started too early, that is before the soil had warmed up sufficiently and the night temperatures were holding up. As a result I ended up with poor or no germination and having to sow again. I recently heard a radio pundit say “if the weeds haven’t started growing then it is too early for your veg”. Whatever the weather turns out to be it seems that something will be suited and grow well and similarly something else will perform poorly.

As well as the staple produce of potatoes, onions, beans and cabbages I have been trying to grow something new each year. First year was Purple Sprouting (brilliant results), Second year was Beetroot (very poor yield) and this year I’m trying Sweetcorn (fingers crossed)

Having mentioned weeds I have to say that they have grown exceptionally well each year whatever the weather. You have to wage constant war on them and I make it a rule to spend some time weeding or hoeing every time I visit the plot.

In my first year there were extra jobs to do to get the plot ready for the next growing season and at times it seemed like hard work. But it was worth it. Now that I am retired I have more choice over when to visit my plot and for how long. Although I’ve done some long catch-up sessions after a holiday or prolonged spell of wet or dry

weather I find that more frequent and shorter visits of two to three hours is better. I like to set myself two or three jobs plus 10 minutes weeding and when they are done, I’m done.

So three years in and it’s still fun and satisfying.
Happy digging, planting and weeding

Dennis