The recent lengthy spell of hot weather has taken its toll on much of our greenery, and there are many brown lawns and wilting plants visible as a I travel around the Brentwood and Ongar area.
The local water companies, Affinity and Essex and Suffolk Water, have made it clear they are doing their bit to ensure we have the water we need but are urging us to do our bit to conserve this precious resource during the dry summer (at the time of writing the driest start to a summer ever). Those brown lawns are deceptive – a couple of days of rain and they will be back to their full emerald glory.
We are fortunate to have many well cultivated allotment sites across the constituency, and there is a steady stream of plot holders heading out to water their rapidly developing courgettes, tomatoes and beans when the air is cooler and the water will not be burned off by the sun. Hosepipes are not allowed on most allotment sites, so there is plenty of hard work to be done trudging backwards and forwards from the water points with heavy watering cans.
Allotmenteers are canny people, and there are multiple water butts and water saving devices to be seen next to the homebuilt sheds and polytunnels. And the watering can/water butt system seems to work well for them…a quick glance across the sites sees an abundance of crops.
I’m impressed by the enthusiasm for homegrown veg across the constituency – there’s a real feel of “Dig for Victory” from some people who prefer a back garden full of potatoes and swedes than neatly clipped shrubs and lawns. And it seems to work – one of last year’s Great British Bake Off competitors used his Brentwood allotment produce for his bakes, and I’ve noticed while out visiting groups in the constituency there are an abundance of courgette recipes doing the rounds too.
If you have any pictures of your home-grown produce of which you’re particularly proud, send them to me at email@example.com and I’ll post them on my Facebook page (fb.com/alex.burghart.brentwood.ongar) to show off what grows in Brentwood and Ongar.