Once the clocks go back, and it’s too dark to pop in after work, we visit the allotment less. We do still grow things over the cold season and right now we’ll still harvesting carrots, turnips, kale, chard, parsnips, cabbage and salsify. We’ll also overwinter broad beans, garlic and onions again this year. Having growing things to harvest and check on over the winter is also a way to encourage me to visit the plot because we always have a winter work list!
I like to use the winter to plan but also to make the structural changes that the plot needs for the next season. I always say that the work is never done but I’m so close to having the lay out of the plot done and working for me, this winter is the last big push. There’s also work that you have to do in winter, transporting plants and so on. So here is Plot 186’s winter work list, which along with generally keeping everything tidy and harvesting produce, should see us ready to start again in the Spring:
- New raised beds. Hopefully this will be it for new beds. The very hastily constructed lawn edging beds will (bar two) go and be replaced by 6 square beds. The polytunnel will have two new beds, one across the back and one down the side. We’ve ordered them and will assemble and then position them and then I’ll order compost.
- Moving plants. The peony, two of the pink roses in the rose garden and the red and yellow roses at the back are moving. Some of the bulbs next to the herb beds will move to the ‘wilderness’ area, two of the white lavenders are moving to the new flower bed. Finally the three gooseberry bushes that I replanted last year need to move as the rhubarb is cramping their style.
- Repotting the blueberries. I have nine blueberry bushes, one of them is going to a friend and 7 of them need new pots. I need to order ericaceous compost and do that.
- Clearing and covering beds. As beds get cleared, they need topping up with fresh compost and covering for spring. Obviously new beds need filling. This isn’t going to be a one and done job, I’ll need to barrow the compost to the plot so I expect to be pushing a wheelbarrow at least until February.
- Reupping the wood chip. Whether from free woodchip or from buying it, paths need re cardboading and covering with woodchip.
- Planning for next year. This is the good bit, working out what we’ll grow where, what varieties we want and when we’ll start, and how we’ll work the polytunnel into our plans