Allotment Adventures: Winter Work

Winter on the plot is the time for working on the things you don’t get around to in the spring and summer. There isn’t a lot growing (we have kale, chard, leeks and overwintering broad beans and cauliflowers) but there is always work to do.This year most of that work is at the back on the new half. In December we demolished a shed, had a massive bonfire, dug up the loganberries and taken the frame holding them up down, we had already created a compost and a work area but over the last couple of weeks, we’ve moved the pallets up to the back to be used for storage and demarcation of the area.We’ve also built our first bed, and have the wood for the next one! It will look much better when it has soil and plants in it but I’m still really happy with it. We will have to dig over and weed the area the second bed is going on. I know that we could just cover with cardboard and top up with compost but the weeds at the back of the plot are many and mostly couch grass and it’s been walked on loads as we’ve cleared the shed and moved things around. So I’m going to dig it over and do an initial weed with Ma following behind and that should sort the worst of it!We also tidied the shed, because a tidy shed keeps Ma happy!Shifting everything to the back of the plot gives us a clear space to the side of the shed. My eventual goal is still to make a sitting area and to put up some guttering and have a water butt but that may be next winter’s work! Right now, the shed needs a paint but all of our energy is going to setting up beds on the new half.In terms of growing, the chard didn’t do well this year and Ma and I have made the decision to pull it up and something got into the broad beans and had a feast, some plants are still standing so I’m going to re sow in the gaps and net them to keep out the critters!

The leeks are also having a poor year, part of that is because I got them in much later than I should have but it’s also been so wet! We dug a bed up and we’ll leave the others in and see if spring helps them grow any bigger. Fortunately, the kale has been amazing and we have loads. I took down a couple of the plants this weekend and put the languishing purple sprouting in the gaps. If they give us anything it will be a miracle but they’d only have gone on the compost if I hadn’t put them!

The January work list looks like this:

  • Paint the shed
  • Dig over and weed the area the second squash bed is going.
  • Build the second squash bed
  • Cut the blue pipe to the right size
  • Sow some more broad beans and cover the bed with netting
  • Pull up the chard and cover that bed
  • Use the various collected bricks around the plot to mark out the space where my bulbs are next to the herb bed.
  • Learn about transplanting roses
  • Order and install the first three long beds next to the fruit beds
  • Move the boysenberry
  • Split the autumn raspberry bed into two.
  • Sow sweet peas

In February’s list looks a lot better

  • Sow leeks
  • Move the roses at the back of the plot to somewhere else
  • Split and trim the verbena bonariensis
  • Trim the rosemary
  • Sow the first batch of peas
  • Weed everything!
  • Order and install 4 square beds
  • Assess the rest of the space

I’m sure we’ll be good to go in spring, I’ll always find something else that needs changing, fixing or improving, provided it’s not raining, winter is the perfect time to do it…


About nicdempsey

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3 Responses to Allotment Adventures: Winter Work

  1. Dr B says:

    Classic! Good stuff 👍👍👏👏

  2. carolee says:

    Oh, I wish I could plant peas in February! Can’t happen here, so I will watch your garden until mine comes out from under the snow. How lovely that you can garden with your mother!

  3. nicdempsey says:

    One of the advantages of being a soft southerner, we rarely get snow in London and we can start some things off in February, this year we didn’t sow the broad beans in time so they’ll need to be sown then too, but I can’t grow half of the things that you get to grow as our summers just don’t get as hot! And yes, I’m lucky that my mum enjoys the plot too, we didn’t have a garden when I was a kid but her grandad was a market gardener so we’ve decided that’s why we enjoy it so much. We’re in our third lockdown over here, so mum can’t come to the allotment at the moment and I’m not sure if she misses me or the allotment more!

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