National Allotment Week 2018

National Allotment Week is running until Sunday 19 August. Here's a chance to win an Earth Cycle bag of compost.

Start the outdoor experience from your kitchen

The sun is shining. Got some spare time for the allotment or back garden? Eager to get out amongst some greenery and feel good? Why not start that feeling while you’re having breakfast, right in the kitchen?

You can create a vertical garden in the kitchen with plants on floating shelves. Instal a small tree to make an accent. Live plants in the kitchen are great, but have some associated pitfalls. Trees and plants need regular care and maintenance to keep them healthy. They require regular trimming and pruning to keep them in shape and limited within the space. They are also prone to mould growth, which requires periodic application of pesticide. Not good in a kitchen.

But artificial trees and plants, such as those at Museum Trees, have no such hassles. They are professionally made using high-quality foliage and strong, colourfast pigment to make them absolutely lifelike. Thus, the faux greens deliver the same aesthetic beauty as their live cousins. Available in a wide variety of size and types they can fit all interior decor requirements and allow customisation to fit into any space constraints. The great thing about faux greens is they do not require any sunlight and can be placed anywhere. You can enjoy an improved ambiance throughout the year.

Cemetery Road Allotments, Birkby, Huddersfield

It's quite shocking to find allotment holders still having to battle to save their precious patches. But it's happening again in Huddersfield. A new school is planned for September 2018. To satisfy Sport England's requirements for a public football pitch, Kirklees Council are moving allotment holders to other sites. All because Greenhead College won't allow public use of their football pitches.

The Council are offering to pay for moving greenhouses and sheds. But the loss is more fundamental. It's the break-up of a community and loss of decades of blood, sweat and tears making each allotment something unique. All for a football pitch, when there are several already available nearby. Many of the more mature allotment holders won't have the will to start again.

If you care about allotments and want to do your bit for our friends at Cemetery Road Allotments, please sign their petition. And of you want to keep up to date with progress, like the Cemetery Road Allotments Facebook page.

Please vote!

Waltons are running their annual competition for the best allotment blog of 2017. They've chosen some entertaining and interesting blog sites in their list of fourteen. Honoured to have Allotment Heaven included.

Got ten minutes or so to spare? Why not have a read of the sites and place your votes? You're allowed to vote for up to three. And if you choose to include Allotment Heaven as one of your votes, thank you!

Do you dig it?

Allotment looking a bit sorry for itself? Covered in weeds and looking beyond hope? This past year has been a bit of a disaster for me too. Family commitments left little time to do anything on the plot. Result? Weeds, weeds and more weeds.

Autumn is the perfect time to get back on top. The objective is to turn the soil so winter frost can get right into the ground. If your soil is easy to work, aim to remove all weeds. First job on each subsequent visit is to rake over the areas already worked to upset any new weeds.

Unlucky and have heavy clay soil? Don't worry too much about removing all the weeds. Your aim is to turn the land spadeful by spadeful, dumping the weeds upside down. The bigger the clods of earth the better. Frost will reach right into the earth to break up those lumps of clay. In early spring you can re-dig the land, now more easy to work, removing any remaining weeds.

You might think you can spend a whole afternoon digging for Britain, but pretty soon you'll be finding excuses to avoid another muscle-aching session. Much better to restrict yourself to a couple of hours or less. That's enough time to make progress without killing yourself. You'll be amazed how quickly you get the plot back under control.

Don't delay. Go get that spade and boots. Don't forget the coffee and cake for half time. Here's the result after my first tidy up session...

19 amazing allotment blogs

Thank you Waltons, for including Allotment Heaven as one of their 19 amazing allotment blogs. To read the full list of entries, click here.

Bee friendly

It's hard to understate the importance of bees. Don't just think honey. We rely on bees and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables. Sadly, our bee population is under threat from intensive farming, urbanisation, disease and other factors. In the last century 20 species have become extinct in the UK, with another 35 currently under threat. 

The honey bee and bumblebee are the most recognisable of the species. Actually there are about 270 varieties. And not all depend on a hive. Some bees are solitary. 

The strange thing is, places that are good for bees are good for people too. We share their love of varied, natural green spaces, clean air and water. We both love wild areas full of blossom. Grow plants that attract bees and not only will your allotment or garden have the happy background sound of buzzing, you'll improve your chances of a better fruit, vegetable and flower crop too.

Suttons Seeds have produced a useful infographic giving more information and action you can take to encourage bees in your allotment or garden. To view this click here. There's also a useful list shown below of bee friendly plants to grow throughout the year, produce by Friends of the Earth.

Grow your own superfoods

Superfoods is the latest food industry health buzzword to persuade us to buy their products. There is lots of evidence they really do you good. To read independent advice on their benefits from the NHS click here.

Having convinced yourself they're a good thing to have in your diet, here's a helpful and informative guide to growing your own superfoods. Just click either image to access more information about superfoods. If you'd like to print this guide, click the Print Friendly button at the foot of the post.

Grow Your Own Superfoods Grow Your Own Superfoods

Social history website

So damp over the last few weeks, there's been little chance to do anything on the allotment. So what's been occupying me?

I've been building a social history website all about St Ives. It's such a beautiful little town with an ancient history. Quite a bit of my time has been spent transcribing newspaper reports from 100 years ago mentioning St Ives in local and national newspapers. 

Seems so much further back in time. Transportation to Australia for minor offences, and public whipping. World War 1 seems to have crept up unannounced locally, but pretty soon all the town was taken up with military manoeuvrings. Poignant letters from sons at the Front. And the first news of casualties and deaths in battle.

If you're interested in that type of thing, click the image above to go to the website.

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