The humid and warm, but not really sunny, summer has led to blight on many tomatoes. To reduce the chances of this, it helps to ensure space between the plants, remove lower eaves and water the soil (avoiding the leaves) in the morning rather than evening, to help prevent damp. Lin Scrannage of the Co-housing project says “2021 proved to be the most challenging and disappointing year in all my 25 years’ experience of allotment growing. Our polytunnel was replaced, but quite late in the season and tomatoes and peppers that had been languishing in pots in the greenhouse were late going in. Consequently, I think the plants may not have been at their peak of health and a couple of weeks ago were devastated by blight.”

She adds that snails have become out of control!! Our mild winters have resulted in a population explosion and they have eaten everything that I planted (except the squash, which are doing well). Luckily the snails don’t seem to have a taste for soft fruits – my plan next year is to give up the whole site to fruit production and not worry about our little friends………..or maybe do some creative cookery!!

The Sea buckthorn at the Edible Gardens 1 at St Mary’s Primary school is growing vigorously and creates a great barrier, through the thorns, for footballs. Our newly planted artichokes have all flowered; we didn’t pick them as they are young. First year of planting Edamame beans only moderately successful.

Eileen Gray at Flaxhayes says now’s the time to sow Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, a low creeping perennial with clusters of deep yellow flowers. We plan to plant it in among the soft fruit bushes to provide ground cover to maintain the structure of the soil. Bird’s-Foot Trefoil seeds are widely available and are sold as a green manure for their nitrogen fixing properties. It’s also a wonderful source of nectar to pollinating insects. A magic little plant!

Mandy Rathbone shares the exciting news that the Bridport & District Allotment Society has been allocated a small piece of land by the Town Council at the end of the Skilling North Allotment Site, which will be used for outdoor meetings/events such as the summer BBQ, but also more regular year-round get-togethers for plant/seed swaps and exchange of views/information for its members. B.A.D.A.S. have purchased a shed which has been installed on the site, raised up well above ground level as the site is very prone to flooding.  In addition, we also plan to plant some fruit/nut trees on site and members will be invited to contribute towards this activity too. The B.A.D.A.S. Members’ AGM is on Wednesday 15th September, 7 p.m.

Bridport Community Orchard and Allotments are looking for more volunteers to get involved. The next St Mary’s Church Field orchard working party is Sunday 12th September (just off South Street).