The end of the year

  • Leeks and parsnips

During November I didn’t manage to get to the plot much at all. With a combination of a busy season of work and unhelpful timing of weekend wet weather the plot sadly lacked much attention at all, except for quick visits to grab some veg to take home to cook, and other times were spent visiting a nearby farm to pick up sacks of manure for mulching on the veggie beds.

I begun to de-turf and dig out the other side length of the plot, in readiness for moving my raspberry bed over to allow space for a new veggie bed to enable a 5 bed rotation.  I really like leeks and onions and root vegetables and having them squeezed into one small bed this year was quite a challenge. So next year, they’ll all have some more space.  For the moment, where the new bed will be going I’ve covered the area with membrane to help start to break down or at least slow down the grass growth in that area until I can tend to it properly.  I’d ordered some onion sets and garlic from Otter Farm and planted these in modules and popped them onto the rack in the courtyard until their new bed is ready to transplanting later in the winter.  They all seem to be growing rather well, and hope they can stay contained and contented until transplanting.

Just before Christmas Day, I popped to the plot to harvest some leeks and parsnips for use over Christmas (the leeks ended up being used in a scrummy Roquefort and Leek tart and the parsnips roasted – yum!)

In December we had lots of storms with strong gales and winds.  The lock (and wood holding it!) on the shed had broken during the storms, and when I visited the plot on the final day of the year, I discovered the doors wide open and the contents of the shed damp and rather wet (including my work boots too!). However, that didn’t deter me, and on the final day of the year, I spent a glorious couple of hours at the plot during the afternoon, in a moment of nearly fine weather with the chatter of birds around me, and finished clearing the area for the forthcoming raspberry bed move. I’m hoping after new year to visit a timber yard to pick up some gravel boards and pegs to put along the edge to help thwart encroaching grass and weeds and at the same time enable a good mulch layer over the fruit bed which won’t then spill onto the public path area.  I’m looking forward to getting started for next year.

Winter is a wonderful time for gardeners and allotmonteers.  With the wind and rain coming down outside, we’re able to be inside in the warm, and peruse gardening and growing catalogues and dream of our crops for the coming seasons ahead.  I’m hoping that we’ll have some fine weather again in the coming year and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve already decided what to sow and grow, well mostly, I’m still pondering on tomato choices for the coming year ahead.  This year I grew mainly a single variety, but am pondering on growing several varieties. Also, my now tatty gardening notebook is full of scribbles and sketches of ideas for the remaining areas on the plot too.  Here’s hoping for a fruitful year ahead!

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