Not long now until the clocks change. We could feel downhearted but there are already signs of wonderful things to come. Buds are appearing on the Christmas box (Sarcococca confusa) at either side of my garden gate. No matter how short the days, it won’t be long before its flowers lift our spirits whenever we leave the house.
It was a good idea to sow spinach and chard in our small garden during the summer. They’re perfectly happy in the middle of the flowerbeds and there’ll be something fresh to pick (with a torch if necessary) when I can’t get to the allotment before dark.
This is the time to pick the last of any unprotected tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and peppers. We’re lifting our potatoes, beetroots and carrots too. The advice from other allotmenteers is that parsnips are better flavoured after a few frosts so they’ll be staying in the ground for a while. The turnips should be OK for a bit longer too. I’m not thrilled with mine. The tops are leafy but there’s no sign of any delicious little roots yet. Perhaps I sowed them too late? I’ll try to be more organised next year. The tops are good to eat so they won’t be wasted.
Most of the beans on the allotments have finished now. We’ve left a few pods on our plants so that we have seeds to collect for next year. Chard and leek seeds are also easy to collect. Just leave a couple of plants to flower and go to seed. Alternatively, we can order new seeds from the Allotment Association through their bulk buy scheme. Either way, it’s a good time to start planning for next year.
Otherwise we’re clearing away dead plant material and digging over the ground ready for next season. I’ll be removing the old fruit bushes on my plot. I waited for a year to see how productive they were. Now I know. It’s time they were replaced. It’ll be a good opportunity to dig over the soil and remove as much bindweed root as I can.
Tips from the Allotments:
- Keep harvesting crops and cutting flowers
- Dig a bean trench and put compostable plant material straight in it
- Plant garlic at the end of the month
- Keep busy with the hoe to control the weeds
- Tidy up the strawberry bed
- Sow sweet peas, broad beans and hardy peas ready for next year