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GROWITCOOKIT; with TERRY WALTON of Rhondda Allotments and Radio Two fame.

Byline: TERRY WALTON

AFTER a four-day stint at the Malvern show I have returned to my plot on the hill.

What a waste, as the sun shone for three of the four days I was at the show and my mind kept turning to all those jobs that were queuing up for me back home here in Wales.

The early May period has left the allotment looking a lot barer than it normally is and those plants that are out on the open plot are fighting for their very existence. Oh what a difficult year this has been so far.

Never mind, the boys did me proud while I was away and the greenhouse was kept well watered. All those tomatoes were very happy to see me and I swear they had grown several inches while I was away. But I am sure that they are glad that I am back and giving them their daily talking to. There is a bit of the Prince Charles about me.

Just before I left I had stood for two hours sowing my chitted runner beans in their 3in polystyrene cups with only their little tails of root emerging.

What a surprise on my return to see those large seed leaves popping through the compost. In another week or so these will have their tendrils flapping in the wind looking for a cane to climb.

I had better get busy and erect those canes and prepare the ground so that their eagerness is not deterred.

When I returned there was uproar on the plot as the stock of bamboo canes had run out and there was a clamour for who could have the last ones. Ron was very upset that there were none left but after a quick telephone call to our supplier, 24 hours later there were two bales available for sale. I hope this is the last rush order for this season.

There must be an upsurge in allotmenteers growing this most productive of crops this year.

As the end of May approaches there is a more contented feel around the allotment as those nights are less likely to experience a touch of frost and most of the plants housed in the greenhouse are ready to be hardened off and then on to life in the open.

I did not sow any pumpkin seeds this year so my old compost heap might have had a chance to rest. But on any allotment there is always someone to come to your rescue and Gary had two plants spare so my grandchildren will not go without their Halloween lights.

I rarely eat my home grown pumpkins as I treat these as a fun vegetable.

So with the greenhouse almost empty of its spring inhabitants those summer hot house crops can finally be planted in my borders.

All the staging is dismantled and stacked away for the summer and the borders spruced up with a little fresh compost and the last of my tomatoes are in. Joining these are my aubergine and peppers in the border soil.

Then finally in the four corners go those tenderest of crops, the cucumber.

These are housed in bottomless tall pots in the four corners of the greenhouse where it is the most draught free and is usually the warmest and steamiest.

These are the perfect conditions for hundreds of those green torpedoes to fill my summer salad plate.

I grow the mini ones these days as these make a meal in one go and are not spoilt by storing in the fridge.

Busy, busy, busy.

Good gardening Terry
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 26, 2012
Words:601
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