Featured

Welcome

Weald Allotments has a long history – but now it’s time to focus on our present. We’ve started a blog to share information about allotment growing, and news about Weald allotments. We hope this site will be useful to the more than 400 allotment holders who currently have a plot on Weald.

Where is Weald allotments?

We’re in Hove actually, just off Weald Avenue. A gated allotment community that is one of the best kept secrets in the city of Brighton and Hove, we have a large, thriving allotment site with its own shop, toilets and car park. We also have many charity plots onsite from Grace Eyre to Plot 22 … where groups of people can work together to grow crops and enjoy the pleasures of community gardening.

Weald allotment shop

Our allotment shop is a well kept secret! It’s not just for allotment holders, the general public can come and buy from us too. We stock an excellent range of seeds, high quality compost and lots of specialist allotment equipment. We’re not generalists, like the DIY stores, so we’re not always cheapest, but what we buy is always chosen to be best on the long run: better quality compost, for example, produces better crops. And if you become a member of our Association (open to the general public too!) you get discounts on every purchase. We’re run by volunteers and we’re open 09:30 to 13:00 on Saturday and 11:00 to 13:00 on Sunday

Weald Community Food Centre

The Weald Community Food Centre combines a Community Fridge, a Community Kitchen and lockdown food deliveries. The Fridge is open to the public 10:00 to 13:00 on Thursday and anybody can come along and get food. Deliveries are made on a Sunday and limited to those who cannot attend the fridge and have reasons to need food during lockdown. Workshops in our Community Kitchen will resume when lockdown ends, but until then we cook a vegetarian soup on the first Sunday of every month from November to April, please come along and share with us! Soup is free (suggested donation 50 pence) and over 65s are not expected to pay. This initiative is designed to encourage older isolated people to join us for a good hot lunch and a chat. Currently we’re serving soup outdoors from our amazing purple gazebo.

April Allotment Tasks

Did you think we’d forgotten? No, it’s just a busy month for everyone, including us. As you’ll have noticed, April can be deceptive. Sunny days followed by viciously frosty nights are common so watch the weather forecast and be sure you don’t get caught out.

April sowing

Get your second earlies out by the middle of this month and your main crops in the ground by the end of April for the best harvest.

Aubergines, chillies and tomatoes need to be sown now to have a long enough grown season to achieve maturity before the shorter autumn days curtail their productivity. Garden centres will have plants you can buy in May, but raising your own from seed gives you greater variety and allows your seedlings to adjust to local conditions from the very beginning. Also worth starting indoors or in the greenhouse: celeriac, courgettes, cucumbers, leeks, marrows, pumpkins, runner beans, and all other squashes, as well as sweetcorn.

Once the frost is over you can sow beetroot and carrots outside, peas too, but the Weald is notorious for mice eating pea seeds so you might want to start them off in root-trainers and plant them out once they’re a few centimetres high, as it’s the sugars in the seeds that attract rodents and the sugars are all used up in the germination process, making them much less attractive as food.

Before the end of April you need to get new asparagus crowns and Jerusalem artichokes in the ground, as well as onions, shallots and new strawberry crowns.

Seedling care

Transplant seedlings like broad beans into their growing positions after hardening them off by leaving them out in the day and bringing them in during the night. Thin any outdoor grown seedlings to give them a better chance of maturing.

Pests

Greenfly are around by now, and the whitefly will be becoming active too, although this year’s heavy frosts will have reduced their numbers, happily. Wash them off with a water spray or even horticultural soft soap which is ladybird friendly.

Keep on weeding

Annual weeds can be hoed, but perennials need to be dug out of the ground, with as much root as possible.

Preparation

It’s time to put up your climbing bean poles and prepare seed beds for next month’s main crop veg.

Photos by Eva Elijas and Egor Kamelev from Pexels.

Apple trees

If you’re at the Weald shop today, we have some wonderful nursery grown apple trees looking for a new home. Donations welcomed – they’ll be used to fund the work of the Community Fridge – but not necessary. If you’d like an apple tree, come and collect one, they’re going fast!

Donation problems

Due to a glitch in the software that allows us to collect donations, we have been unable to pick up the food that we normally collect from one of our local supermarkets this evening. As a result, we will be limiting tomorrow’s food bags to five items. Please understand that we do this to ensure everybody receives some food. And we hope this will be resolved by next week so we’ll be back to our normal food quantities!

Community Fridge new offerings …

Thanks to the amazing support of the RSPCA, we can now offer dog and cat food to people who visit the community fridge on a Thursday – so please feel free to mention if you have a pet that you’re struggling to feed.

We also have our toy-box for little children, so if you’re collecting a bag of food and you have a small child at home, don’t hesitate to mention it and we’ll pop a little toy into the bag to give them a nice surprise!

And of course if you have anything to donate: fresh food, tinned food, allotment crops, unwanted toys … you can drop them off on Thursday between 10:00 and 13:00 or on Saturday between 11:00 and 14:00.

Memorial garden makeover!

If you’ve walked past the Memorial Garden this week, you’ve probably seen the stunning new sign created by one of our amazing volunteers, Joanna. But what you might not have noticed, unless you took a stroll inside, is that she has also made a canvas leaf, with a gardening quotation, for every allotment-holder that we know has been commemorated in the garden, or who has died of coronavirus during the past year. Please go in and have a look, it’s a moving and lovely way to remember those we have lost.