Rain dance works at allotments

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At last the drought has broken. The rain starting last weekend and carrying on intermittently has been gratefully received by gardeners both with and without allotments.

At Berryfield the surface of the soil had been dry and dusty down to about half an inch, and under that it was cool and still slightly damp, which was okay for tatties - which are now mostly peeping out of their driels - although they would like more to avoid scab, but not really wet enough for the early planted seedlings such as peas and beans

Usually at this time of year there is a glut of rhubarb, this normally continues through May and June, when picking should stop to allow the plant to gather energy for next year, but growth this year has slowed due to lack of rain and new stems tend to be thin and stringy. Rhubarb both loves and needs water - they say it’s the only plant you need to water even though it’s raining!

But smaller fruit bushes are bursting with blossom – the other Peter’s blueberries have perked up since the rain, and both red and blackcurrants are full of buds.

A number of plotholders are finding that the wood edging for their plots – most in place since the allotment was first occupied – have come to the end of their useful life. Even treated timber has succumbed to the exposure and weather and is rotting away. Plotholder Laura has – provisionally at least – gone for one large growing area, which is easier to clean and maintain between growing seasons, whilst plotholder Christina had husband Carl build very deep raised beds, which they have found difficult to fill. Plotholder John number one has done the same, but not quite as deep. The other Peter has accepted the inevitable and will be replacing his edging at the end of the season.