Water, water….

Elephant garlic

Magnificent runner beans and Elephant garlic

<a Despite the very welcome rain that finally came after an incredibly dry July, we felt the feedback from the tenants about the problems with empty water butts had to be looked at.
So, we turned back to the 1,000-litre tank we have installed behind the training shed – the guttering will pick up a lot of rainwater to fill the tank, but you need rain first.
The key step has been to fit a tap kit onto the 'rain tank', which means the water can be accessed through a simple garden hose, rather than the two-inch outlet, which just poured water over your shoes!
The recent rain has produced enough water to keep tenants happy that there's enough in reserve in the tank – some needed persuading after it had rained that you don't need to water your plants again!
The parched look to the allotments had been a big worry – hanging baskets bone dry, raised beds with the soil cracked, fruit bushes dying back, strawberries the size of grapes (and very like dried wild strawberries in texture!).
However, the mulching and soil conditioning we'd done earlier in the year seems to have really paid off with some of the crops, which have bounced back very well.
We might yet get a small crop off our new raspberries and the strawberries have had a renaissance. The brassicas have recovered and even the potatoes have put on a bit of weight, having been left in the ground a few more weeks than normal.
The recent mix of rain and warm weather has meant a more 'normal' pattern of growth. Tenants have done well with their maize, squashes, beans and other produce. Fanwell Tandi's Zimbabwean ruggare (stalk kale) looks terrific and his maize is about 10-feet tall now!
We're in the process of hopefully getting 1-2 more new faces joining us, which will be good if that happens. New people bring with them enthusiasm, energy and ideas.

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