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Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide



Dig for Victory Garden and Allotment Guide November 1945 page 3

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facsimile of page 3

November 1945

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Ministry of Agriculture
Allotment & Garden Guides Index

January 1945

February 1945

March 1945

April 1945

May 1945

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July 1945

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September 1945

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November 1945

December 1945

The Allotment DVD
The delights of having an allotment. 15 programmes as seen on ITV. Suit new and established growers. Seasonal guide, top gardening tips, fascinating food facts and insights into what's really in those sheds! 

THE ALLOTMENT SERIES was first shown on ITV 1 West

Allotments UK and other related allotment links


    That early DIGGING cont'd      
       When digging the heavy land, work in plenty of humus—making material such as strawy manure—if you are lucky enough to have it—or compost, that will help to make the soil lighter, warmer and better aerated. On the light soils it is not usually wise to dig in manure at this time of year, since there is a danger that much of the plant food it contains will be wasted to lower levels by the winter rains and so be lost to the plant.
   Many of us are now worried about the problem of keeping our land fertile and in good heart, after flogging it for years during the war.
   We can't expect to get much manure, if any, from farmers, who likewise have their fertility problems. Our only solution is compost. If we have not already realised this, we can now start a compost heap, for there should be plenty of material available, especially fallen leaves. The way to make compost was described in an earlier guide (March), so it will not be repeated here. If you need further information you can still get a free Dig for Victory Leaflet No. 7—"How to make a Compost Heap" from the Ministry at Berri Court Hotel, St. Anees, Lytham St. Annes, Lancs.  

Jack Frost in the garden

    Facts about WEEDS  
       Gardeners may argue about whether weeds or pests are their chief headache. Pests we have dealt with pretty fully in earlier Guides and it may not be out of place here to say a few words about weeds, for a wet autumn may have brought us another crop, though we kept our plots fairly clean all summer. Now we may be doing a bit of digging we can dig in the annual weeds, but we must be careful to dig up and burn such perennials as dandelions, bindweed, thistles, docks and couch. Most gardeners know the serious objections to weeds, but for those who don't, here they are. Weeds absorb from the soil moisture and plant food that would otherwise nourish and increase the vegetable or fruit crop. They crowd the crop and keep from it the sunlight so essential for healthy growth; they prevent the air circulating freely among the plants, and they harbour and favour insect pests and fungus diseases.
   But as a writer in The Times said nearly forty years ago, "Many a casual gardener owes what success he has largely to the accident of weeds. They demand the use of the hoe; and the more soils and plants are studied, the more manifest does it become that t friable, well-worked surface is the prime secret of cultivation, even in the case of things that grow deep."
     The most obvious way to suppress weeds is to stop them seeding. And what trouble we should save ourselves if we did—and if all our neighbours did likewise! For many weed plants produce several thousand seeds. And the seeds of many weeds do not all germinate at the same time and may lie dormant in the soil and come up after many years. A single dandelion flower turns to about 170 seeds, but an established three-year-old plant produces nearly 5,000 seeds. But the groundsel beats that figure by 1,000. The pretty little blue-flowered Eyebright can score 5,000 though the common dock easily beats that, for a fair specimen can easily carry 13,000 seeds. Hence the everlasting fight against weeds with hand and hoe and weed-killer.
   On the other hand, on light soils, from which plant food is washed away by autumn and winter rains, it is a good plan to let annual weeds grow on patches from which crops have been lifted and are remaining bare for some time. The weeds take up the plant food and store it; and when they are dug in in the spring, they give it up again by rotting away.

one dock weed can product 13,000 seeds