News, Tips and Offers for Growers & Gardeners

Allotment Garden Newsletter

From John Harrison

Allotment Garden Newsletter July 2019


Well the weather here continues to be surprising. Just as I've accepted it's going to be a mediocre summer, a short heatwave arrives. At least it's not as bad as they're suffering in France and Spain.

I must admit there are times when I've been watching the rain pour down that I've wished we'd emigrated to a warmer climate. However, I have enough trouble coping with 30ºC never mind 45ºC – that's 113ºF for my US readers!

Questions Galore!

I've been a bit overwhelmed with questions this month. I don't mind people asking things but please help me by giving me as much information as you can. Where you are and what sort of soil you have really help. Best of all are photographs.

It may take some time for me to reply. I'm sorry but there are only so many hours in the day. If you have an urgent question, why not ask on the forums? If you've not posted before you'll need to register but that doesn't take long.

Slugs & Snails Horror Film

Last year the RHS conducted research into common household slug deterrent methods. They tested copper rings, wool pellets, egg shells, pine bark mulch and horticultural grit and found that none of them appeared to deter slugs.

Envii, who produce a range of environmentally friendly garden products, replicated the experiment and filmed it, showing how easily slugs and snails overcome these barriers. They also showed that their Feed & Fortify does stop slugs and snails from getting to the crops. Seeing is believing! You can see the video and read more about it in my blog.

Feed & Fortify is an organic slug control method that uses diatomaceous earth to naturally protect plants from slugs, snails and other small pests. It also contains iron silicates to improve soil fertility and maximise plant growth. Available from Envii here.

15% Off Envii Garden Products During July – Use Code AG15

I've persuaded Envii to give us an exclusive discount of 15% during July – just pop the code AG15 in at the checkout. The discount can be used on their entire gardening range until the 31st July.

Envii Garden Products

It's Jamming Time!

Top Tip

The strawberries have been coming in thick and fast, the raspberries too and the currants are colouring up now so they'll be harvested shortly.

If you're turning some of your berries or currants into jam and don't fancy standing over a hot stove on a hot day; just prepare the fruit as normal, pop into a plastic bag and drop into the freezer. It's not ideal for long-term storage but will hold them for a couple of months or so in good condition for jamming.

Natural Pectin

With fruits low in pectin, like strawberries, you will need to add some to get a good set. You can buy pectin in the shops or make your own pectin stock. Usually this is made from apples but they come later in the year. However, you can make pectin stock from redcurrants or gooseberries..

There's more information on the web site here: Pectin for Jam, Jelly & Marmalade Making.

Shameless Plug Time!

Since the strawberries and blackcurrants are ripening and with a bit of luck other fruits, can I plug our Easy Jams, Chutneys and Preserve book?

It's full of tried and tested recipes as well as methods, information and what to do when things go wrong. We're told the last bit comes in very useful at times!

And for storing the rest of the harvest, How to Store Your Home Grown Produce might come in useful!

All our books come with free Suttons seeds worth at least £10.00 and free P&P in the UK

See All Our Books Here

Money Saving Tip

It's always annoyed me how hose fittings leak, even after standardising the various connectors and fittings so they were all Hozelock, they were still leaking. Well it turned out that the little black rubber rings were to blame. They looked OK superficially but had actually perished, which ruined the seal allowing water to leak.

Now buying new fittings can get pretty expensive but I've found you can buy the O rings (as they're properly called) very cheaply on eBay. I paid £1.80 for 20, which have fixed every fitting I've got for less than the cost of one new fitting. Just search on eBay for Hozelock O ring.

Last Chance!

This time of year we're getting towards what I call Last Chance. It's the last chance to sow a lot of seeds or they just won't have time to grow before winter's frosts hit. Basically, 'last chance' arrives later in the south than the colder north of the country.

I've popped a map onto the site which illustrates this

Monthly Gardening, Fruit & Vegetable Growing Advice

10% Discount Voucher Code

Harrod Horticulture are giving us an exclusive 10% discount offer. They've a huge range of top-quality gardening equipment. The voucher code to claim is JHTEN

Full details and terms can be found here

Netting & Mesh

This month, as the butterflies return and the birds feed their families, Harrod's wide range of netting can help defend your crops.

For control of smaller pests like carrot fly, see their range of quality mesh netting.

On the Web Site

Growing Questions & Answers June 2019

As I said above, I've had a lot of questions. Because I'm often asked the same question more than once, I've published the questions and answers in my blog. Full list of June's posts including the Q&As here: June Blog Posts – everything from increasing the worm population in the soil to using coffee grounds and banana peel in the garden.

Polytunnel Temperature Control

Polytunnels, like greenhouses, can get very hot in sunny weather. Controlling temperature and humidity is critical to success. I’m experimenting with the problem of polytunnel ventilation by installing a solar powered cooling system. It's very simple and cost effective.

Polytunnel Ventilation – Solar Powered Cooling System

Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for July

Although the hectic sowing of the first part of the year is past, there are still things to sow, plant out and happily harvest.

Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for July

Any Questions?

I'm always happy to hear back from you but it may take a little while for me to reply - I get a lot of emails.

If you've a growing question feel free to ask but please give me as much information as possible. Where you are, what your soil is like and what your climate is like all effect things. Photographs are particularly helpful.

If it's something I think will be generally useful, then I may write an article on the subject and possibly use the photographs supplied.or pop them in the monthly Q&A

Don't forget there are a lot of good growers on our forums who are happy to help with your questions. It's often useful to get more than one person's input to a problem.

Suggestions for the newsletter and website are especially welcome.

That's it for July, I hope you've found this newsletter useful. The next newsletter will be early August.

Good Growing


Allotment Garden

Fron Dirion, Clogwyn Melyn,
LL54 6PT


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