This month has turned cold yet still sunny and I was on the look out for frosts everyday! My butternut squash were ripening in the sun and my sweet potatoes were romping away but I knew I had to get them in before any frosts arrived!
The beginning of the month saw a lovely delivery of well-rotted manure which I immediately put to good use. I have been really trying to make sure all the beds are dug over, manure added and then covered for winter this month leaving me all of the remaining winter months to concentrate on clearing and structuring the rest of plot 3.
We dug over the garlic bed and winter shallot/onion beds and then constructed raised beds ready for the garlic and shallots to be planted at the end of the month. Although the drizzly weather last Saturday stopped that from happening and Sunday we were at the Farmers Market so garlic, onions and shallots will be planted first thing next Saturday!
When making the raised beds, we always build the bed first, then position the whole structure and bash it into the ground with a heavy mallet. However, this time we discovered just how uneven our plot is! For some reason, which I don’t think is anything to do with me, the path between my plot and the neighbours angles steeply downward toward my plot. (I am not sure how that came to pass as it only does that towards the end of the plot and not at the top.) Anyway we decided it would be best to try and build up the soil around that area to level off the path. It will take a long time for the path to level off and for the grass to grow (and hopefully our efforts won’t annoy our neighbour) but it should make things like wheeling the wheelbarrow and mowing the grass much easier for everyone! Sam also put a wooden barrier along one side of the pond beds (where we had previously had plastic lawn edging) which again will help with keeping everything tidy and making it easier to mow the grass.
On plot 1 we replaced the rotting carpet we used a weed control by the bramble stump. It was no longer being effective at preventing the weeds and we frustrating had to pull it up in 1cm strips as it had completely disintegrated! We replaced it with weed control membrane (the permeable plasticky stuff) which will hopefully last a bit longer! I purchase some stump killer sachets to kill off the bramble once and for all! I have applied the stump killer but now just waiting to see if it works!
All the pumpkins were harvested the first weekend of October, followed by the butternut and honey bear squash in the middle of October. I am not happy with the colour on the squash and am sure they are not quite ripe but the slugs had started hollowing out one of the squash so decided it best to bring them in and try and further ripen them on the windowsill.
The third weekend in October, I came down to the plot to find the leaves on the sweet potato all black. I know this is frost damage so decided now was the time to dig up the plants and find out just what kind of harvest I had. As you have probably seen from my previous post I was quite happy with my first try at growing sweet potatoes but there were many lessons to be learned and I will hope to do even better next year!
Jenny and Adam joined us down the allotment in the fourth weekend which was very appreciated! They are very hard workers and always get done twice the amount I have planned. The old onion bed was dug over, divided up into smaller beds and the soil was manured.
The sweet potato bed was also dug over and manured and they gave Sam and I a hand with constructing and placing the new raised beds on the old potato plot! As a thankyou, I sent them home with quite a bit of veg which I hope they enjoyed!
Sam and I dug over all the old squash beds as well, manured them and covered them ready for beans next year. I also thinned out the hazel as it was getting a bit crowded in there.
As I said this last weekend was a bit drizzly ad I didn’t feel in the mood for hard allotment work so instead we had a quick clear out and tidy of the shed on plot 3 and then a nice little visit to our local Wyevale garden centre for some allotment shopping! (Sam wouldn’t let me look at the Christmas stuff though!)
All in all I am starting to feel a little ahead of the game and hope that with all this prep work now, I won’t be rushing around trying to keep up next year! (Well at least I can dream!)