An allotment doesn't need expensive raised beds to be effective
For those of you rooting around in the Limerick Leader looking for my column, you won't find it. It has been given the chop......oh well, happy birthday to me :) The Leader were very good to us in our time of need when Vizes Court was all over the headlines. Were it not for them we wouldn't have had so much publicity so credit where credit is due. I'll write a detailed update on the Vizes Field situation in my next post, but for now, here's last weeks unprinted column
A new year, a new allotment, maybe..
One hundred and fifty or so people replied to a call for interest in having their own allotment from Limerick City Council late last year. The size of the reply was significant and shows that the interest is real and the demand is keen. Whether or not the project was going to go ahead was hanging in the air until Labour Cllr Tom Shortt fought its corner by stating that to wait another year would be hugely disappointing to Limerick citizens who are keen to make a start on such a project. Where the allotments will be, what size they will be and when they will be available remains to be seen. If you got your letter from the council then maybe call them to enquire. Will there be 150 allotments available this year, and for the growing season? That would be a much needed boost in morale for the city. Other city councils across the country have had allotments up and running for some years now so it’s great to be catching up.
This will be the first time most people have ever had an allotment. How will it work? Do we know what to do? Whether or not most of the applicatants are absolute beginners is unknown. Many people will want to go the organc route and though they may have good intentions, there are things to know to ensure good crops. Crop rotation, pest control, companion planting, making liquid feeds, protecting you plants from the elements, these are some of the issues facing the allotment holder to be. Where will this information be available? If the council promises that allotments will be available for the growing season then that means very soon as keen growers will already be preparing their polytunnels to get the first early potatoes on to have ready for May.
Allotment or no allotment, anyone who applied to have one must be keen on growing food. You may be lucky and get one and you may not, so either way, now is the time to begin preparations. When trying to decide what to grow, it’s very simple, grow what you like. Take a trip to your local garden centre and look for seeds that will give you plants you will actually want to eat. Easy varieties are carrots, parsnips, courgettes, onions, garlic and kale. There isn’t an Irish person who would tun their nose up at some freshly dug potatoes and gardens centres will have their seed potatoes available to buy now. Varieties like Coleen and Orla are good first earlies and will be delicious when you dig them up in early summer. Begin by ‘chitting’ them on a window sill. Simply sit the potatoes in an egg box and leave them in the light for two to three weeks until greeen shoots of about one inch long appear. They are now ready to plant in either containers, the garden, or your new allotment.