Plotholder's Newsletter

January 30th 2018

The seed potatoes should be in in the next week or so. I'll let you know when they arrive.
Bird boxes
I am sure you have spotted that there are several bird boxes around the site. However they are getting a bit old and tired (just like me). In fact one of them recently fell down.
We would like to replace them/add more. Do you have bird boxes going spare? Could you make some or do you know anyone who could? Any help would be appreciated.
Planner
This year's planner and competition calendar are now available. As usual, there is some uncertainty in the BDAC competition judging dates so I've just given a best guess.
Competitions
The annual competitions are kicking off soon. The seed potatoes should be in in the next couple of weeks or so. This will be followed by the sunflower seeds, show plant etc.
As you will recall, the pumpkin competition has been stopped due to lack of interest. It is important to note that the remaining competitions will only continue if a reasonable number of people take part.

This year we are introducing a largest sunflower head competition which will run alongside the tallest sunflower contest.
The entry fee for the potato and sunflower competitions remains at 50p. There is no prize money. The entry fee goes towards the cost of the potatoes/seeds & engraving the trophies.
John Mills has drawn up a competition information sheet which I have attached to the competitions page.




It's time to get started….

STRAWBERRIES
At the end of January each year apply sulphate of potash at ½ oz per sq yard along each side of the row for hardiness, the development of flowers and flavour.  No other feeding is necessary unless growth has been poor.  In this case apply sulphate of ammonia at ½ oz per sq yard in April, taking care to prevent fertilizer touching the foliage because it will scorch it. Weeds compete for nutrients and water.  Keep the rows clean by shallow hoeing and tuck any runners into the row to fill gaps.  Pay particular attention to cleaning up between the rows before strawing down. Water regularly for the first few weeks after planting and whenever dry conditions occur during the growing season, try to keep water away from the ripening berries because this encourages grey mould (Botrytis cinerea). The risk is less with trickle or drip irrigation because only the soil is wetted. Water in the morning so that the plants are dry by nightfall. Tip from a fellow plot holder;- Feed Strawberries with Phostrogen every two weeks from flowering commencing. RASPBERRIES
In late January each year apply 1oz of sulphate of potash per sq yard. Every third year add 2 oz of superphosphate per sq yard.  In late March apply sulphate of ammonia at ½ oz per sq yard.  The fertilizers should be applied as a top dressing covering about 18ins each side of the row.  Also in late March, mulch with a 2in layer of garden compost, damp peat or manure, keeping the material just clear of the canes. The mulch helps to conserve moisture in the summer and inhibits weed seeds from germinating. Throughout the growing seasonkeep down weeds and unwanted suckers by shallow hoeing.  Be careful not to damage or disturb the roots of the raspberries. In dry weather water the raspberries regularly but, to minimize the risk of fungal troubles, keep the water off the canes.
Taken from :-
The Royal Horticultural Society Book "Growing Fruit"


Note:-
Superphosphate, sulphate of potash and sulphate of ammonia are in the storeshed.