Online Gardening Workshops!

Find out about Colin Shaw’s online workshops. Colin has been an organic gardener for over 30 years. More information can be found at http://www.organicgarden.org.uk/online-workshops/

Photography Competition

Thanks to everyone who sent in their photos; the winners of the public vote are:

Vegetables and Fruit

1st: Terry Marshall – Ayesha Harvesting Aura Potatoes. Terry says “Ayesha is keeping Keith’s potato in cultivation. Over all the years of the show, that is one variety that has been consistently exhibited and among the prizewinners,it really is delicious, it is such a pity that it is no longer available.”

2nd: Ayesha Marshall – Dog collecting blackberries;

3rd Harriet Gardiner Harvest – Trug of veg and edible flowers

Different ways of growing

joint 1st: Jack First – Old Lanterns. Jack says “The old lamp shades are made with thick glass. They will keep off mice, snails and slugs. Very good for germinating seeds and protecting young plants. Can be found in charity shops. I paid between fifty pence to one pound each. They are opaque so allow light in”

Rachel Munro-Fawcett – Water Butt at Hollin Lane allotments

3rd Jack First Hot and raised bed

Wonderful photos

1st: Sharon Heleine – Evening on Plot 29

 2nd Laura Harris – Potato digging hands

3rd Marion Pencavel – Hungry hedgehog

The winner of the best in show by the WYOG judges is  Dianne Pearks with Ready for Pickling

I am  absolutely delighted that I won ‘best in show’. It has given me a real boast given these difficult times – Dianne

We will be in touch with all the winners to explain about their prizes and certificates.

You can see all the winning entries on the WYOG web site and all the other entries as well.

Potato Day 2021

Sadly we have had to cancel next year’s potato day as we cannot get a suitable venue to deal with pre-orders and collection. The committee has worked hard to try and come up with various Covid secure options but the college are not accepting any external bookings and other venues are ether not suitable or not sure if they will be open.

We can offer to order whole sacks for you and get them delivered to Northcliffe Allotments in Shipley, and then they can be collected from there or delivered by WYOG to you on 13th February. You can choose from the list from SKEA or WCF; WCF offer the option to have a sack which is already prepacked into 8 x 2.5k or 10 x2 k – so you could easily split one with other people. Find out more here.

We are contacting all the stall holders and asking them for information about where you can buy from them and will post this as soon as we have the details

Potato trials

One of our members Brian was involved with the trials of the Mira/ Valor cross and this year planted on some of the ones he had grown from seed; he planted them into 3 litre pots, as he was out of space elsewhere, dumped them in an old cold frame on the railway embankment, then ignored them apart from an occasional watering and 2 or 3 comfrey feeds. He emptied the first one in late September and incredibly got 1280g from the first pot. They were wedged so tight in the pot that it distorted the pot & malformed some of the spuds.  See his photos in the potato A-Z list.

If you have any potato stories and photos, please let us have them to add to our site.

WYOG mugs

As we haven’t been able to hold any events we have a rather large stock of WYOG mugs. If you would like to help reduce the mountain they are £3.50 each or 3 for £9. They are nicely made, with a logo that’s doesn’t date, and a good size and I am sure you could find people to give them to!

Organic Growing in Dewsbury

Andy MacDonald   is having some ideas about running an organic market gardening business. He has  created a draft outline at https://www.spacehive.com/dewsbury-organic-growers and is looking for people to join him, he has some ideas about setting it up as a workers co-op and am researching what is involved.

Soil association campaign

The soil association has teamed up with The Climate Coalition to push for a healthier, fairer and greener future. They ae asking people to join them and make a declaration for the future of food and farming that you want to see to support climate change and to highlight the vital need to tackle climate change and make sure that nature friendly food and farming is at the heart of the response to climate change. You can add your name to the declaration at soilassociation.org/declaration.

Jobs to do this month

  • Plant garlic – either directly into the ground or pots and keep the area weed free
  • Winter salad leaves can be sown along with other hardy veg such as peas and beans
  • Plant overwintering broad beans and onions
  • Sow Spinach Palco F1 under glass
  • Pak Choi Tatsoi – crops 10 weeks from sowing and well into winter
  • Check your tree stakes are nice and firm
  • Sow green manures as you clear your beds
  • Order and plant bare rooted fruit bushes and trees
  • Sown corn salad/ lambs lettuce outside or under glass
  • As your beans finish, take out the stakes and tread the bean plants flat and cover with layers of cardboard, they will disappear into the ground over winter keeping the nitrogen ready for you to utilise next year
  • If you have a bramble hedge/ patch, then you can start to cut it back.
  • Plant sweet peas in October/ November in root trainers or toilet roll inner tubes
  • Pull up and compost annuals and replace with winter and summer flowering pansies, wallflowers, bells and primulas
  • Bring in houseplant that have been outside in the summer

Heritage seed library update

Last month we sent out a plea asking for help to replace the cooling system in the Heritage Seed Library cold store.  

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you – we were absolutely blown away with the response, which far exceeded anything we could have hoped for. Thanks to generous donations from members like you, not only can we buy a new cooling system with an extended service package, but we have enough left over to replace two of our nine polytunnels which are in desperate need of an upgrade.

 Knowing we have reliable infrastructure has such an impact on the work my team and I can do. Without having to worry about failing equipment we know our time can be devoted to the important work of growing, saving and sharing these precious varieties.

The wonders of sage, and lemon balm

Sage is part of the family of herbs with the Latin name Salvia. It has a rich history of medicinal use and was, and often is, used as a brain tonic, with reputed cognitive enhancing properties indicated to address age associated memory loss.  A study which investigated the effect of consuming 50ml sage oil, given 7 days apart on 36 healthy participants compared to a placebo, showed interesting results. The sage consumption resulted in improved performance of memory and attention to tasks, most notably one hour after the dose was administered, while 4 hours’ post dose reduced mental fatigue and increased alertness were more prominent.

Lemon Balm is another on to look out for. Clinical trials have highlighted that lemon balm extracts standardised to rosmarinic acid have demonstrated clear benefit to memory and cognitive performance. In a recent study lemon balm extract was given at a dose of 300mg twice daily to a group of stressed people with mild to moderate anxiety and sleep disturbances. Lemon balm reduced anxiety associated symptoms by 15% and lowered insomnia by 42%. Most people responded to the treatment (95% of which 70% achieved full remission for anxiety and 85% achieved full remission for insomnia. It may also improve memory an concentration and has been studied in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. After 4 months of treatment lemon balm produced a significantly better outcome on cognitive function than placebo and helped reduce feelings of agitation.

The Organic Way, Summer 2020.