A still, frosty day gave some Caley hardy allotmenteers a good start to the allotment year. They began in style with a bonfire of waste wood and prunings. The Caley’s bonfire supremo showed how to get the fire going and the importance of keeping the centre open and moving the drying wood from the edges inwards. With no wind, The ‘Do Not Tip Here’ sign was very useful in making a draught to keep the flames going. There is now a good pile of wood ash which is full of potash for adding to the soil round the fruit trees It was a chilly day and the ground was frozen (as you can see from the picture) so after a quick lunch and a picking of kale, cabbage, flower sprouts and Brussel sprouts, they called it a day.
This is however, the time of year to take some preventive measures to reduce pests so the team always give the fruit trees a spray of Winter Wash which kills off any pests overwintering in the bark. Ideally, it should be done again in March. The spraying is best done on a still day of course and a dry one.
Anither serious problem, which occures each year is with gooseberry sawfly – stripping the leaves off the gooseberries and redcurrants. One suggestion for reducing it is to remove the topsoil from around the plants where the sawfly are overwintering so the team will this and see if it makes a difference.
Jobs for next week: Fix the windbreak; Clear the soil from around the gooseberries and redcurrants; Dig up the grass paths; Clean and sharpen the tools