Allotment, Grow Your Own, Harvests

GYO – The Winter Allotment!

The Winter Allotment really is dreary on a dull day, as some of my neighbours toiled with their soil I set about checking over the effects of the cold weather. The fence had shifted in the strong winds, as had a glass panel in the greenhouse roof but other than that all was well.

It is surprising what you can complete a few weeks after major surgery, pottering around the plot on a dull day for an hour while my husband read and my youngest two had a post dinner nap. I had not planned to visit quite so soon, but after returning from a shopping trip with an hour until the children were to be picked up, I popped in to see what progress was being made.

Our water tank is just below the 500 litre mark, I am confident we will start the new season with a tank full to capacity as it has only been in since September. This will require a little engineering to add a hose but I look forward to using our own water supply.

The carrots are still growing well, now forming minute orange roots, I feel we will be harvesting early summer, which I feel opens my second parsnip box  (or not as the case my be!) to a spring sowing of carrots to ensure a rolling supply next year.

As I checked my broccoli I was happy to see half the bed which looks like early purple were beginning to show the first florets, something I hope to harvest for Christmas. Along with the broad beans and a surprise addition of red and green Brussel sprouts which have appeared at the opposite end of the raised bed. There is a lot to be said about the magic of worn labels, I had no idea what Brassicas had germinated and have ended up with many wonderful surprises.

At the end of our space in our new raised beds, my second Brassicas I have found a few fantastic winter lettuces, which we sowed and planted whatever survived the heat. So I now have a chance to add to our Christmas dinner some home grown Brussel sprouts, Broccoli and a salad starter with a few tomatoes which are ripening on our window sills.

All in all the greenhouse was full of tomato plants finally beginning to go over, so picking the last of the tomatoes, I lifted the plants shaking off the excess soil and adding it to this years compost, after twenty minutes I had to clear beds add around twenty fruit to allow to colour at home. The last pepper plant I left to over winter in there, I set aside with the plant pots used for the additional tomato plants. My husband had returned with the other pepper plant around a week ago, which now holds three small red peppers, a fantastic result for our first attempt and something to flavour a seasonal stew or to add to a chilli.

Next the bean canes were covered in bean plants holding the final pods, after picking the best to dry over winter, I pulled out the canes and stripped the plants off. These again were placed on the compost heap and my stakes and canes from the ‘A’ frame were returned to the shed until next year.

My calendula and nasturtiums have set a lot of seed in their current position so leaving some stakes as markers I have left the plants and seeds as they are. My plan is to wait to see if they germinate nest year and move them as the appear next year. They will be set in pots and in a thin bed in front of the compost bins to add colour and pollen for the wildlife garden. I may grow sweet peas over the mesh of the bins to utilise the space, it would be nice to train the bramble into a large cone shape as it refuses to die off and my son loves to harvest the fruit.

So, after clearing the greenhouse of plants, my bean canes and clearing some grass from our paths it was time to collect the children. No major works completed but at least the spaces are clear for next year. I can focus on a little at a time until I can dig over again. I still have manuring and trenching to look forward to but until then I can harvest from the spaces I have managed to ensure hold winter crops.

Finally Along with our Autumn Garden which is full of winter flowers, I shall add a new Christmas tree, which I plan to plant in a large tree pot so it can be moved out into the garden, additionally I shall sow some more Brassicas, lettuces and leeks which tolerate much lower temperatures and set them in the main greenhouse, this will allow a spring crop to plant out and I hope to have some more winter crops to harvests next year.

Happy Horticulture!






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