Winter is Coming!

It’s been a while since my last blog post, mainly because I was in sunny Cuba, but also because now the  winter is approaching and the weather is turning, I have taken a step back from the allotment! Unfortunately, there is still a long list of things to get done but the rain keeps me at home and I hate walking on the soil when its so wet.

However, since my last post, the allotment plots have changed quite a bit!  We had an unfortunate mishap with our polytunnel where the cover was ripped off and mysteriously one of the top bars has bent. I’m not sure what happened as, at the time, it wasn’t particularly windy. I’m hoping to repair the structure and get a new cover (the grass needs cutting too!).

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We have harvested all our butternut squash, 32 in total, and the smallest one was similar in size to those sold in a supermarket! We have given a few away but now we are frantically trying to find new recipes with which to use our butternut squash. If anyone has any unusual ideas – please share! There is only so much butternut squash soup and butternut squash risotto we can eat!

The green manure has grown really well and has even started to flower which is quite surprising for this time of year! I have had to chop the tops off so that they don’t set seed but I am greatly impressed by the lack of weeds in those beds!  As you can see the wind has given it a good battering and combined with the cold weather it’s now looking very tattered and untidy. I’m looking forward to the spring where I will get to see how the green manure compares to farmyard manure.

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Having had the pond dug, we have lined it and filled it! We have even planted some spring and summer bulbs around the edges of the pond. There is still a lot of grass to clear around the pond and it generally needs a tidy up before we can get on with making the pond wild-life friendly but I am happy to say that we can already see lots of life in there! There are lots of little bugs happily swimming around and I’m hoping that next year we might see some frogs!

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Winter onions and shallots are planted and growing nicely. The garlic has been planted too and we are just starting to see a few shoots poking up. I didn’t buy any new garlic this year, I just used two of the biggest bulbs that we grew last year as my seed stock. I am hoping that they will do just as well as last year!

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My strawberries are not doing so well. I can’t seem to get a handle on the weeds – every time I turn my back they pop up. On top of that, I have had to get rid of my Honeoye plants as they didn’t fare well after competing with the weeds! On the bright side, I get to try out a new variety of strawberry to put in their place!

On the other plot, we have put a few of the raised beds to bed and are in the midst of having a good clear up. We completely removed the blackberry that had randomly sprung up which has made the plot look much tidier and we have cleared away all the beans and corn. We have made space at the back of the plot for the crab apple tree that my mum bought me last Christmas. It has been sat in a pot for the last year as I couldn’t decide where to put it but now I can give it a new home!

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We are still harvesting lovely vegetables from the plot. This weekend we harvested leeks, parsnips and kale. We have lots of Brussels sprouts waiting to be eaten and I am quite happy with our red cabbages this year! There are a few bits of slug damage but they are are a really good size!

I’m hoping to get most of the clearing done before Christmas so that come January I can concentrate on sorting out the fruit trees and bushes. We still have a few more beds to build and the shed needs a good sort out but I have planned my crop rotation for next year and chosen which seeds to buy ready for sowing in the new year!

 

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