After a week’s absence, the allotment was the beginning of my very busy Saturday.It’s looking very autumnal at the moment and Saturday was a very quick visit.
We cleared up the Halloween stuff and cleared the nasturtiums that finally admitted defeat in the face of the frosts. We also picked the last lettuce and carrots, and the usual chard and kale. As well as some mustard and pak choi.
We knew it would be a short trip, next weekend Ma has booked a car so we can go and buy compost and make a start on filling beds and sow things to overwinter.
We are having a go at garlic again this year. I grew it the first winter I had the plot and it wasn’t terribly successful (it got rust), this year I decided that I’d buy some from somewhere other than Wilkinsons. I’ve heard great things about The Garlic Farm but there seems to be a problem with the website and although I tried and Ma tried over several different cards, it wouldn’t take our order. So I ordered from Suttons. The Lovers Autumn Planting Collection. Which claimed to have two bulbs each of Printanor, Germidour, Messidrome and Red Duke, I actually got three bulbs of the softnecks and two of the Red Duke which is a hardneck. We also need to sow the broad beans which we do every year. I know I could sow them in spring but there is something about having some things growing through winter that is hopeful and I like it. I’m also considering doing the same with some peas and I want to start some sweet peas too, which I’ll plant in pots and then cover up with fleece. I didn’t have a good year with the sweet peas this year so I’m going to see if this way works any better and if it does, it’s one less thing to have in the living room in spring!
That’s plenty to be doing and we’ll be covering up any beds that we aren’t using again until spring too. They’ll get a weed and maybe a top up and then covered to stop the foxes digging them up, they can and do have enough fun on all the paths!
If there is any light and/or time left over, there is a bonfire that needs to happen and a shed that could do with another coat of paint.Then we can start thinking about next season. We do have space constraints and I don’t think that we’ll be able to build anymore beds. So next year will be more of the same, we will have more flowers on the plot, and hopefully the spring bulbs we planted (tulips/snowdrops/snakes head fritillary) will join the grape hyacinth in the spring. The Californian poppies, aramanth, borage and nasturtium will (within limits) be allowed to do their thing and hopefully the lavenders in the ground and verbena bonariesus will survive the winter. Next year, I’ll like to grow more marigolds and have a go at calendula (which will probably self seed the year after and suits me fine!)For herbs, the hardy and half hardy perennials in the herb bed (rosemary, sage, oregano, lemon verbena, chives and tarragon should all be fine). The mint and summer savoury in the bathtub are dying back and I’m hoping that the mint will come back next year. I also have a lemon balm which seeded into one of this year’s tomato beds, that will need a new location and a chocolate mint and chamomile that I’m hoping to nurse through winter and plant out in pots. I have two little lavenders that will go into terracotta pots as soon as we buy some compost! The annuals parsley, dill and basil, we’ll sow again in spring because we love them.For vegetables, I’m not sure that we’ll grow much new to us veg. We will increase potato production because we really enjoyed them. We’ll grow peas and beetroot and we may grow more beetroot than last year because Ma doesn’t believe in too much! Salad crops as we did last year. We had the right amount of courgettes and crookneck this year and we really like what we grow. The success of last year was the winter squash and the three sisters bed. So we’ll grow more of all of that. The plan is put the corn, squash and borlotto beans in a bigger bed and with smaller squash, so probably the uchuri kiki in that bed and something else in the climbing squash boxes. I also want to grow bigger butternuts next year. I also want to devote a bed to carrots and try some more autumn crops (swedes, more pak choi and have a think about other things we could grow maybe under cover for the winter!)However the chard, kale and leeks are winter staples and we’ll do them again. It seems strange that just as the current beds of these finish, I’ll be sowing leeks and kale again!
It was a good tomato year and we’ll grow plum, baby plum and black Russians again I do think that 3 beds might be enough next year, we can always use the buckets for extra. I also want a couple of more blueberries plants next year and next year will be the first year, we can pick from all three rhubarb plants. Which is good because the year after that, we’ll need to split the big one on the corner, but I’ll worry about that later.
This time of year is strange, we’ve just finished with summer and we are tired but there is still quite a bit to do before we can stop for a bit and some things to harvest and it really doesn’t take much for the planning for next year to start. There will be a point in January went the new seeds come into Wilko and I’ll be ramping up for spring again….