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What's Happening ?     Last Updated: Friday 15th September 2017

I have just returned from a month spent in USA so was unfortunately not able to post a report on the July visit to Hessle Allotments site or post photos.  A customer of mine told me that about 30 visitors attended and thoroughly enjoyed their visit. 

Many congratulations to Keith Abel on being awarded the NVS Silver Medal for outstanding service to the Society over many years and also to Janet Abel and Brian Potter who have both been awarded Fellowships of the Society.

Lance has just issued the latest newsletter and I have added a link to Wyevale Garden Centre for Growing Apples in the Useful Links Fruit Section.

I came across this useful design on Facebook.  I hope this link will work for non Facebookers as well.


The long-awaited new NVS Judges Guide is now available to purchase at £8.50 per copy, or £10 including post and packing.  I obtained mine from the NVS office at Harrogate Show today but I am told that Keith Abel may have some copies available for purchase at our next meeting in Beverley.  You will note that the cover design bears a striking similarity to the RHS Show Guide.






There was a great turnout of about 40 persons for our last indoor meeting before the summer recess on Monday 26th June 2017 when Graham Wagstaffe assisted by his wife, gave a slide presentation entitled Round and Round The Garden.  Whilst being a keen and well-known exhibitor of show quality produce, Graham and his wife also maximise the use of their garden to produce sufficient vegetables for their year round culinary needs and this talk reflected this particular aspect of their gardening rather than growing for exhibition. He grows on the deep bed system which avoids having to stand on the soil and he also covers everything with fleece or enviromesh to avoid the use of chemical sprays.

He believes in avoiding gluts of produce by sowing in succession and only sowing/planting only small quanities at a time. He also argues that two Purple Sprouting Broccoli plants, rather than two rows, is enough for the average family! He also aims to get at least two, and sometimes three different crops, from every part of his ground over the course of the year.  Plants from the legume family, like peas and beans, which fix their own nitrogen needs with bacteria in their root nodules, are harvested at soil level.  The roots are allowed to remain in the soil to help the next crop of nitrogen-hungry brassicas, rather than dug up and composted.  Another useful tip offered was to place a layer of chicken wire over your open sown peas seeds in order to prevent birds and rodents from digging them up before they have sprouted.  His ground is also infested with club root disease but he overcomes this problem by growing his brassicas on in 5 inch pots before planting them out with a layer of lime applied to the inside of the excavated hole. By the time the infection has permeated through the lime layer, the plant will already have grown well beyond the stage where club root becomes a damaging influence.

He also uses his cold greenhouse and outdoor frames to full effect in order to bring on early crops but one of the secrets is to select only those varieties that are bred for early cropping.   He grows early potatoes like Swift and Lady Christl in 5L pots, for example.  He also grows mini vegetables that have been bred specifically for close spacing.  Candid Charm will produce decent cauliflowers at six inch spacings rather than the conventional 18 to 24 inches.  He also uses root trainers to great effect.  He can grow early carrots to finger length in the 10 inch pot size by selecting the right variety such as Amsterdam.  Similarly, globe beetroot can be grown in pots if you use a suitable variety such as Boltardy.

Where space is at a premium, the mini cob varieties of sweet corn will grow vertically and produce lots of fruit on a cut and come again basis. Similarly, picking peas from your plants regularly will ensure you get the sweetest peas to eat and will encourage further peas to fill out and flowers to set. Early runner beans can be grown in 5L pots in the herb garden which helps with insect pollination.

Some useful hints for the general vegetable gardener were provided and, if we are lucky, we may see Graham bring some of his exhibition produce to our DA Show on Sunday 1st October.


I have updated Local Shows 2016/17 page as far as I am able. If anyone wishes their Show dates to be advertised on this website page then please contact me in person, through the webmaster email link shown on the Home Page, the Guestbook link,  phone, or even drop me an old-fashioned note through the post.  Humberside Chrysanthemum Club is a useful link for listing many shows, especially those held towards the end of the season but is not currently updated with any 2017 dates. 

Those of you on Facebook will no doubt be familiar with Giantveg blog postings. They have produced a number of instructional video clips and you can access them all via their website here. They may also be able to supply seeds for purchase.



Keith Abel promoting growing and showing vegetables at Driffield Agricultural Show - July 2017

Our Secretary, Trevor Barningham, is still collecting the bar code labels from any Taylors of Harrogate product cartons that you may have finished with.  They are worth money to Trevor who can redeem them to support a wheelchair charity that he is raising funds for. So please bring any old tea cartons bearing the bar code section along to Trevor at future meetings, if you can please. 

Although collecting rubbish and recyclable materials are considered to be statutuory services, the collection of green waste is not.  According to Garden News, some 44% of local Councils across the UK already charge for collection of green waste with charges averaging £20-£50 per household per annum.  It is feared that, faced with further budgetary constraints, all Councils may be forced to levy a green waste collection charge within the next five years.  Should this come to pass locally, those of you with compost bins, at home or on the allotment, will obviously benefit in being able to recycle most of your green waste materials for free.


Colin Maughan promoting growing and showing vegetables at Driffield Agricultural Show - July 2017


The Annual Show will be held on Sunday 1st October 2017 at Cherry Lane Garden Centre, Beverley. There have been some modifications to the Show classes for this year. For example, celery and asters have been dropped and tomatoes have now been included.  The Vegetable Basket is only open to members who attend our monthly meetings. If you missed picking up a paper copy of the Show Schedule, you can view and download a digital version of the Schedule and entry form here. Apparently. the Garden Centre is preparing a large banner which will be erected outside the venue a week before the Show.


If you saw the TV programme you might wish to buy the book - The Great British Village Show. Details here.

Morrisons the supermarket is giving away used coffee grounds from its cafes.  You can read all about it here.

Make your own nematode soup to kill slugs.  Read all about it here Make_your_own_slug_killer.pdf

An interesting way to assess the type of soil you have by looking at the types of weeds that grow there. Read all about it here.

An interesting article about the history of allotments from the Daily Mail can be seen here.

Using growing bags, sacks and pots is a popular way of growing edible crops where space is limited.  The depth of the growing medium makes sacks ideal for deeper rooting vegetables, or crops sensitive to drying out.  These include sweet potatoes,artichokes, courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes, runner and French beans.  Further information from here.

For those of you with sheds on allotments, or workplaces well away from your house without access to mains electrical power, you can now get a solar powered charging device for your mobile phone and it will also run a few lights.  Details from here but Facebook tells me that Home Bargains are selling a cheaper version for £7.99, if you can find any stocks left. 

Ashridge Nurseries is offering a 10% discount to orders made online.  Just key in HORT10 at the checkout stage.

At this time of year, many people are contemplating bringing back some seeds, plants or cuttings from their holiday abroad.  However, there are strict rules covering what you can and what you cannot import into the UK.  More details from here.

Did you know that chamomile tea can be used as an organic fungicide? Try one chamomile tea bag in four cups of boiling water, steep and cool for 24 hours; or put 16 tea bags in two quarts of water, simmer 20 minutes, steep and cool. Dilute with water to a pale color. Refrigerated it lasts up to a week. How do you use chamomile tea to protect your seedlings? Soak seeds in tea for 2 hours before planting. Use tea to water seed trays. Spray seedlings with a plant mister each time you water. If you see white mould forming on soil and at base of seedlings spray it immediately with the tea. Read more here

Our next meeting will be held on Monday 25th September 2017 at the Conservative Club, Beverley commencing 7.30pm when Julian Davis of Cawood Horticulture will talk about Growing Media

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