Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association Hut winter opening times

Prudhoe Gardeners' Association HutThe Hut is open from 10 am to 11 am in November as it has traditionally been.

However this year we will be closed throughout December – mainly because we have so few visitors in the month that it costs us money in heating to open and our takings are negligible to non-existant.

We shall be open again on 2nd January 2016 for the normal two hours for the taking of rents and subscriptions, the selling of seeds and gardening requirements and for all queries.

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Green manures

Green manure cover cropThe benefits of Green Manure include:-

Improving Soil Structure
Some green manures have deep penetrative roots that as they grow open up the soil. This is an advantage on heavy soils as allows drainage to occur more freely and organic matter to be left in the soil and on lighter soils the particles of soil can bind together better so they can hold water better and leaves organic matter in the soil.

Weed Suppression
Green manures crops grow quickly and their very leafy growth smothers weeds. It is like a living mulch as it suppresses weeds and retains moisture in the soil. It is good practice to make sure the soil is weed free first. That is why they are very important when areas are left fallow in winter.

Adding Nutrients
Certain varieties bring to the surface minerals they would be unusable to plants and leguminous green manures absorb nitrogen from the air and fix it in root nodules on their roots so that when it is dug in it becomes available to the following crop. Specific soil bacteria are required to be present but they are usually present in healthy soil. Nitrogen is required by plants as it encourages healthy stem and leaf growth.

Soil Protection
As a living mulch it helps to protect the soil from compaction due to heavy rainfall, prevents the leaching of nutrients, and helps hold the soil together. In the summer it will protect the soil from the drying effects of the sun and wind.

Resting Soil
Some soils need a rest to recover from constant cultivation and by planting with a green manure it will help soil fertility and structure with very little effort. Green manures can be left in for a year or more, but in the case of most domestic gardens and allotments it is generally a winter thing.

Green manures can be left to grow and then periodically cut down before flowering so as to prevent seeds growing. The plant material can be composted in a compost bin.

They can be allowed to grow and then dug in and left to decompose – allow 30 days before planting the next crop.

No dig systems can still use green manures the crop is simply cut down, the foliage is left on the ground to decompose, and is treated as mulch and planted through this layer or just move it to one side to sow seeds. The foliage can also be removed and composted.

Taken from Green Manures website

What are they and which one to use when?

The Royal Horticultural Society lists the common ones and their uses here. Some of the suggested items are easy to obtain either from your local garden centre but all of them can be purchased through the well known on line seed retailers. Decide which one you need and then decide how much you need before you go happily off to purchase too much, too little or the wrong thing of course.

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Autumn Newsletter 2015

gardenerWe’ve done the autumn newsletter for you to read.

We’ve included news from the Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association, useful information on allotment keeping and one or two tried and tested recipes to use up your allotment produce.

Dig This – Autumn 2015

You will need Adobe Reader to open this file which you can download from here if you don’t have it on your computer already.

Posted in Newsletters

The view of a southern council

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT OUR LOCAL COUNCIL SO DON’T ALL SHOUT AT ONCE! But it’ll give you all something to think about.

Following a recent risk assessment carried out on all allotment sites, the council have been advised that they should display the health and safety guidelines below on all allotment sites. We representatives have been asked to be placed on each entrance gate, notice boards, site huts, trading huts etc.

  • Do not drink the water from the tanks or standpipes.
  • Wear gloves whenever handling soil, compost, fertiliser or pesticides. Thin latex (or latex-free for allergy sufferers) gloves can be worn for delicate work.
  • Do not open bags of compost or potting media with your head right over it.
  • Fold over the top of compost bags when not in use.
  • Avoid potting-up in confined spaces.
  • Moisten dry potting media before use.
  • Also dampen down dry compost heaps before turning or use.
  • Consider wearing a dust mask when turning compost heaps and handling potting media or other dusty materials.
  • Avoiding storing potting media in greenhouses as these will heat up and may encourage Legionella.
  • Empty the water out of garden hoses after use and do not leave full hoses in the sun after use.
  • Avoid splashing water around when watering pots.
  • Wear gloves and keep arms covered when pruning plants that can cause irritations; e.g. ivy (Hedera), Fremontodendron, Euphorbia or rue (Ruta).
  • Only shred woody prunings in an open, well-ventilated area.
  • Ensure tetanus jabs are up to date. Otherwise, see your local GP for a tetanus vaccination if you have cut yourself on a plant or got soil or manure in an open wound.
  • Discourage rats by securing rubbish in bins and not putting cooked food on the compost heap.
  • Rat-proof compost bins with wire mesh if necessary. To reduce the risks from salmonella avoid using rat-infested compost on edible crops, especially those not cooked before consumption.
  • Protect from water-borne diseases such as Weil’s disease by wearing waterproof gloves, clothing and boots when clearing out ponds.
  • Always wash your hands after gardening and especially before eating.
  • Keep a hand sterilising gel down in the potting shed if clean water is not available.
  • Children should always be accompanied by an adult and supervised on site.

It was observed by one of the site representatives that the rules regarding bonfires were not incorporated and that fires are only allowed when the water supply is turned off.

Concern was also expressed on the lack of any risk assessments regarding the use of hosepipes as no mention is made of trip hazards, proper assembling of hose pipes nor proper storing.

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Prudhoe Town Show Report 2015

Giant Teddy with no nameOnce more the Annual Prudhoe Town Show organised by the Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association has lived up to expectations in providing a wonderful opportunity for exhibitors, of all ages, to show-case their skills. The displays of flowers, fruit and vegetables, baking and handicrafts were excellent and given very good coverage in the Hexham Courant the following Friday.

We would like to congratulate all the prize, trophy and medal winners in what was a keenly fought competitive but friendly environment. This year’s raffle also surpassed itself in the number of prizes available – alongside the giant Teddy in search of a name.

Uncollected raffle prizes and prize money can be collected from the Hut on Saturday mornings.

The Prudhoe Town Show, though, would not continue to be as successful without the many sponsors, volunteers and supporters who step up to the mark each year. Our grateful thanks, once again, go to them all. As you can imagine, the small Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association Show Committee are indebted to their support and hopefully we have been able to thank them all.

Evaluation of the event and planning for 2016 will start soon – with a number of new ideas for classes for consideration.

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