Don't forget to cover young brassicas to protect them from the pigeons. I didn't - and during the dry spell at Easter my young Cavelo Nero seedlings that had been carefully tended in the greenhouse since February, were all pecked off. Probably because they were young and juicy for the birds !

I have now covered them, and hopefully they will recover and re-grow and go on to produce some fabulous tasty greens for many months to come.

I grow the Cavelo Nero (Italian Black Kale) because it is so versatile, goes on for months and months even in the harshest of winters and seems to avoid the dreaded 'cabbage white' and other diseases.


Welcome to our new ‘seasonal tips’ section of the website. We have only just launched the new website in May 2019 – so our tips are about as up to date as they can be. If you have some tips that you would like to share please send them to derehamallotments@gmail.co.uk

By the time MAY comes along sowing and planting outdoors can be done in earnest – although a late frost or two can kill off some younger seedlings – it is well worth taking the risk !

It’s a good time to sow beetroot, carrots, peas, radishes, beans, sweetcorn and a host of other crops – initially undercover. Try succession sowing – by leaving a couple of weeks or even more between sowings of the same crop.

MAY is also the last month for sowing brassicas for the coming Winter – sprouts, cauliflower and cabbages.

Top tasks for MAY include outdoor sowing, hardening off seedlings and planting out and planting the last of seed potatoes. Protecting tender plants against a sudden drop in temperature can be done with cloches, fleeces or even newspaper and its also worthwhile considering covering fruit bushes with nets to prevent the birds having a seasonal feast or two.

Weeding and mulching fruit bushes is also a good idea – before the leaves and young fruit completely hide everything.


If your’e feeling adventurous this Spring how about trying a traditional technique called THE THREE SISTERS. This practice, originated by Native Americans believed that sweetcorn, climbing beans and squash were like three inseparable sisters that would only thrive when grown together, like companion planting. The sweetcorn provides a support for the beans, whilst the beans fix nitrogen with their roots that feed the squash the following season. The trailing system of the squash keeps the weeds down and removes the competition for moisture for the growing plants. Worth a try – and if you do – let us know how you get on !