Title image courtesy of Robert Golden
When growing fruit and vegetables at home or on an allotment, these are some of the main things we can all do to help adapt to the changing climate:
Prevent soil erosion
- use ‘mulching’ (i.e. covering the soil) such as compost, manure, spent hops, cardboard – any nearby and free resources;
- avoid compacting the soil – try out a ‘no dig’ approach.
Reduce evaporation and increase water storage for dry periods.
Intercrop to minimise pests and diseases and reduce weeds. This also improves the soil (such as nitrogen fixing), and makes shading to give a moister canopy.
Save Seeds, and use heirloom varieties, open pollinated as opposed to buying F1 hybrid seed.
Alter some of the crops we grow for example:
- grow some protein crops such as amaranth, peas and beans, helping to protect against supply challenges with ‘regular proteins’;
- grow more leafy greens and salad crops – taking advantage of the warming climate, and reducing vulnerability in the face of supply problems from hotter countries;
- choose varieties of current crops which are more tolerant of drought.
Create windbreaks – plant hedges against a strong southwesterly!
Make our own Biochar – charcoal used as a soil amendment for both carbon sequestration and soil health benefits.
For more detailed guidance on climate adaptive cultivation methods and crops, plus case studies, see the Growing through Climate Change Report , and look in to Permaculture and biodynamic principles of production.
Being an Allotment Ambassador means being prepared to experiment with climate adaptive growing methods and produce, and to share your experience with and inspire others.
You might be prolonging the growing season, protecting the soil from extreme weather events or extended rainfall, or choosing to grow different – more resilient – produce in the face of milder winters and warmer summers.
We share what Ambassadors are doing via the Bridport Food Matters newsletters, and, when COVID permits, we arrange occasional ‘open allotments’ so that people can exchange ideas.
So far, Ambassadors are:
- Rachel Millson from the Symene Community Land Trust allotment
- Lin Scrannage from the Bridport Cohousing community plot at Flaxhayes
- Julie Penfold from the West Road allotments
- Mandy Rathbone from the Skilling allotments
- Eileen Haste from the Flaxhayes allotments
- Sarah Wilberforce from the Edible Garden at St Mary’s, with gardener Tia Perrella
- Ian Bark, Walditch Allotments
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a food security and climate change ‘Ambassador’ in every allotment in the Bridport area? Get in touch with Candida via our contact form if you’d be happy to join in.