Allotment, Grow Your Own

GYO – Winter Crops

It is the time of year where most people have their allotments dug over for spring, as would mine have been last year, the crops I had sown all went in late due to poor germination. This year some seedlings really struggled to set, however I have to admit they were old packets, for example the few hundred of beans (purple and yellow dwarf varieties), onions were the same although I have heard that they are difficult to grow on our site.

My leeks got scorched by the sun, despite several good sowing’s however I might try to set some as they can cope with colder weather. The crops I have managed to set for winter are doing extremely well. As leeks are one of my favourite additions to roast dinners, the more fresh vegetables the better.

The summer sown beans are fabulous, still producing large pods a lot of which I will be saving for seed. Our winter sowing’s are growing along well with the field beans up the new arches and trellis, however this week the children’s craft projects will provide me with the gourd and small squash seeds that were not a priority. I plant to use the remainder of the mesh trellis to make a grow frame on my pergola, this will be to grow butternut squashes, small gourds and pumpkins.

The Broccoli; sown mid-summer are fabulous and hold great potential, the leaves are large and luscious, I have kept them under fleece to provide added protection from the frost. They will need very little to grow on to harvest when the florets are finally formed, these are the first really successful crop we have had which were home sewn.

My assorted cabbage crop which I over-planted for an extended crop are going strong as are the first lettuces. The beans on the trellis are following the wires without over crowding the cabbages, the fact that they are growing keeps me distracted that the main season has been and gone.

For now the plot is green thanks to the tomatoes, beans, flowers and Brassica plants, which are still going strong. As our impending new arrival keeps me busy I am thankful for the harvests we have received and for the mild autumn.

I have planted a few of the seedlings which were germinating into our new raised bed in a hope that they grow steadily, another bonus for next summer. I plan to fill a full bed with Brassicas next year and hope to plant an area to provide a Christmas and New year harvest.

For now it is nice to have things growing away while I work towards other things, but I hope to return later this week to dig over the potato bed for next year, before it returns to its natural state.

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

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