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The 2020 WYOG annual organic show has been cancelled, the committee felt that there was too much uncertainty about the future to put effort into organising the show to find it couldn’t go ahead.

Instead we will be celebrating organic growing through photography. We are encouraging everyone to take photos of their organic growing – whether it be photos of bees and butterflies in an organic garden to show the environmental impact we can have or wonderful fruit and veg, flowers and herbs or even pots of jam or cakes. The plan is that we will be open for you to start sending in your photos from mid-July and continue to mid-September, roughly when the show would have been; then we will have a judging competition of the photos and award prizes! So get your cameras and phones out and start to take pictures of all your lovely growing and from July 13th you can email them to valharris@phonecoop.coop and I will put them up on our web site. We will be looking to get some good publicity for the entries and to continue to promote organic growing.  Make sure you put your name in the email when you send me photos; there is no limit on how many you can send. We want to make a big splash of colour!

Other news this month..

What to do now in your organic growing.

As we approach July our friends at Garden Organic suggest these parts of their web site are worth exploring

Other sowing tips

Care for veg

  • Sow lettuce and beetroot in module trays, so you have plants ready to fill the gap when you lift early crops, such as potatoes and spring onions.
  • Pull up spinach and coriander when they begin to flower (bolt), which they naturally do as the day length increases at this time of year. You can sow them again in August for crops from autumn to spring.
  • Remove the shoots that appear between the main stem of tomato plants and their leaves (sideshoots). Doing this will channel the plant’s energy into making flowers and fruit.
  • Water veg as needed. Rather than doing it every day, wait until the surface looks dry and then give a decent amount.

Watch out for pests

Pests are out in force this month as plants are growing strongly. Try not to spray them as you could inadvertently kill pollinating insects, such as bees. As well as treating pests that are already there, you can also take measures now to prevent pests that can be a problem later in the year, such as plum moth.

Plum moth

Put up a pheromone trap now to prevent your maggots in your plums when you harvest them later in the summer.

Pear midge

This causes the baby fruits to drop now because it burrowed into them in spring. Pick up any fruits you find on the ground and dispose of them.

Lily beetle

The black grubs and red beetles can quickly strip the leaves and flowers of lilies so remove any you find.

Aphids

These sap-sucking insects will suddenly proliferate and can weaken your plants as well as possibly giving them a virus. Squash them as soon as you see them.

Helen Browning’s Organic Farm Tour

The Soil Association has put up a series of 4 videos on YouTube which take a tour of Helen’s farm and what she has achieved on it. It’s fascinating.

They also have a detailed statement about how they are responding to Covid- 19 – what they are doing to support farmers, ensure children on free school meals still get a meal once a day; they also have good tips on growing herbs at home, how to make your own organic deodorant and how to limit your food waste.

www.soilassociation.org/responding-to-coronavirus

The seed cooperative is the only UKs community owned organic seed company whose mission is to sow the seeds of a healthy and resilient organic food system that promotes diversity, democracy and a closer relationship with our food, and those who grow it. They specialise in varieties if seed that are open pollinated and adoated to organic growing; so they grow, process and sell organic open pollinated seed for the UK and aboard and they seek to develop new varieties through organic plant breeding, which everyone can grow, save for next year and which everyone can afford. They are based in Lincolnshire at Gosberton Bank Nursery and have an informative web site www.seedcooperative.org.uk  they are looking to build a network of certified growers in the UK and always looking for new members

Practical Actions Small World recent magazine has a fascinating  special feature on cleaning up cities with ingenuity which is all about  dealing with sanitation and human waste in cities; how they are creating better paid jobs by transforming waste into something useful, whether its collecting plastic waste from river or tuning human waste into compost. Take a look at www.practicalaction.org/smallworld

Previous articles

Concern Worldwide  have an interesting web site and a story on how the potato is building resilience and tackling food insecurity in Ethiopia www.concern.org.uk/who-we-are/why-hunger/meet-humble-potato?utm_source=newsletter_c2we32020&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nutritioncampaign&utm_content=mnbtn

If the link doesn’t work, go to www.concern.org.uk go to the our work page and click on where we work on the left hand side and find Ethiopia

 Growing advice

WYOG have teamed up with Garden Organic to allow our members to access Garden Organics massive list of help available on their web site. In each mailing we will concentrate on a relevant theme so this month it’s all about getting going, planting seeds and potting on.

What to plant now: https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/what-sow-and-plant-april

How to sow seeds: https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/six-steps-successful-seed-sowing

Potting on: https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/potting

Getting growing supplies

Some on line suppliers have stopped taking orders as they are temporarily overloaded, www.organiccatalogue.com is taking orders although deliveries may not be as fast as usual.

In the Aire Valley we are finding that many of the small independent garden centres have had to close their shops but are now offering a delivery service, as many do not have detailed web sites they are asking people to ring and talk about what they want, they will sort out a price and ring you back with a delivery date. The ones we know about are ACW, Bradford; Woodbanks, Harden; Acorn, Bingley; New Coley, Denholme.  It would be good to try and keep them going.

Supermarkets and pesticides

The pesticide action network (PAN) UK has published a ranking of how well the top ten UK supermarkets are doing on reducing pesticides and they conclude that well known supermarkets are not doing enough to protect human health, wildlife or the environment from hazadous pesticides. Some companies are doing better than others, so M&S, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s were found to be making good progress but overall supermarkets are not being open about pesticides, the information is not on food labels or their websites. PAN argues that the supermarkets with their sprawling supply chains and powerful influence over how food is produced are uniquely positioned to drive a wholesale shift away from pesticides, not just in the UK but globally. The full report is at www.pan-uk.org/supermarkets/

Getting water wise

The Organic Way has an interesting article on dealing with extremes of weather when gardening and the Spring edition has an article on water

Some tips for dealing with flooding

  • Trees and shrubs have deeper roots which can absorb and retain water
  • Allow grass to stay long over winter
  • Growing more perennials will help
  • As soil has air pockets which can hold water don’t dig it over or let it get compacted
  • Keep soil covered in winter, green manure or spent crops
  • A compost rich soil will have an improved structure that can hold more water (but don’t compost in the winter as the valuable nutrients will wash away
  • Hard surfaces such as concrete cause run off problems so go for porous pathways and space instead, such as gravel or paving stones
  • Use gravel and raised beds to enable the water to soak away and leave the crops and their roots protected

Some tips for collecting and storing water

  • Increasing the number of storage vessels, water butts or underground storage systems if you have the space and money, otherwise leaving out buckets and barrels when its raining to collect what you can
  • Water flows downhill so think about that when planning your garden
  • If your land is flat you could buy a small pump, some of them are solar powered
  • A pump will allow you to channel water around your garden and from paddling pools and baths

Dealing with perennial weeds – by composting

With perennials such as bindweed, couch grass, nettles and docks it tends not to be a good idea to put them into your compost bin/ heap. Made a separate pile and cover with black plastic, or use an old builders dumpy bag and fill up and cover with black plastic; leave for 18 months and you will have a lovely heap of compost

Most things can be composted despite the number of myths around, so tomatoes, pumpkins, orange peel, poisonous plants, carrot tops, potato haulms can all be added. Avoid infected potato tubers, plants with clubroot, used cat litter and dog poo.