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IT GROW IT COOK WITH TERRY WALTON Of Rhondda Allotments and Radio Two fame.

The weather has turned kinder to us allotmenteers and the icy grip that brought the allotments to a standstill during December is hopefully a distant memory. The caf has reopened and the daily gathering has a lot of catching up to do.Thoseworld problems have remained unsolved formanyweeks are back on the agenda aswe sit anddrink ourmorningcoffee.Theallotments are alive again as many of the plot in those crops they failed to harvest when frozen deep in the soil.

Many of our members keep their onions hanging in the greenhouse so there has been an exodus of bunches of onions being carried out to save those pennies. Russ and Bolts looked like two Breton onion sellers as they left the gate carrying those long strung up bunches of onions.

It was a pleasure to get some work done again. The hedge at the bottom of the plot had grown wildly over last summer and has been in desperate need of trimming right through autumn. So with a decent dry day last week Dai and I set out to cut off those twiggy overhanging branches.

In truth it was probably Dai who did the most useful work while I just pulled the cut fallen branches away. These are piled up all over the place and will make plenty of fine pea sticks for many of the members. Jeff went one step further than most and actually planted his long overdue garlic. The ground was frost-free and dry enough to turn over so he took the opportunity to get this garlic into the ground.

The green manure that grew like a prairie throughout the mild, wet autumn was quickly checked by the sub-zero temperatures and flattened by the deep snow. This has made it much easier to turn back in and with spade at the ready I was soon in full flight.

The first row is the hardest but I was soon in the swing of it and those extra festive calories were soon being worked off. The plot is taking on that drab winter appearance though this green, green grass of home did at least brighten it to some extent. By digging it back in now it will have chance to breakdown and add extra goodness to my soil before the spring planting season starts in earnest.

My seeds have arrived and they are sorted into planting order. I look through them most days and try my patience to start sowing in the warmth of my greenhouse. But patience prevails and they are soon back in their tin to await a couple more weeks and an extension to those daylight hours before the real pleasures of gardening start.

January and February are the two of the gardeners' worst months to face before the sowing regime can continue. The last two years these have been two very severe winter months so a little wait longer will save money in heating the greenhouse and give these new sowings a faster start to the growing life.

Good gardening, Terry
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 15, 2011
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