Winter on the Plot
- Published: 15 January 2023 15 January 2023
At the beginning of December I stood on the plot and it was still very green. The green manures were still growing and the mustard had flowers that insects and bees were visiting. There were still rasperries on the canes and the brambles had green and red berries. So some of my usual jobs would have to wait. I merged some of my compost bins to give me more space and also to try and keep some heat in them so they would continue to rot down. I harvested sprouts, parsnips, black kale, autumn radishes and some white turnips. I started to clear some of the cabbage beds, collecting the last of the small heads and then covered the beds with cardboard weighted down with some bricks. A couple of weeks later the first of the cold spells came and we had a week or so of frozen ground. As it stared to warm up a little I cut down the green manure that had succumbed to the cold weather leaving in on the ground and covering it with cardboard.
On the next couple of visits I cut back the autumn raspberries, cleared the worst of the ground elder and bindweed from the beds and covered them with a thin layer of wood chip. Then i made a start on the bramble hedge which run the full length of the plot, cutting out all the dead growth and cutting it well back so I would still be able to walk round the beds. I woodchipped underneath the brambles to make a path around all the nearby beds. All the canes and brambles were taken to the bonfire site on the allotments where they will dry out and get burnt on our twice a year bonfires, for bonfire night and solstice. The cold greenhouse is full of overwintering lettuce, from which I pick the otuside leaves to take home, and of wheelers imperial cabbage. Last year I grew some in the greenhouse and then I cut them back to the ground but left the roots in while I planted out tomatoes. I found when i cleared the tomatoes that these stumps had produced new growth and so I am now harvesting fresh spring cabbages! I also planted some new whellers imperial, red and curly kale in the greenhouse in late September and they are growing nicely.
The apples tree I planted about 4 years ago is doing well, a fantastic crop this year, and I have now pruned this back to get rid of the leggy shoots and to try and make a good shape of a tree. Next up will be pruning the currants and berries in the fruit cage. Meanwhile I have put in my order in for West Riding Organic compost and Dalefoot compost through the allotment society; sorted out my box off seeds and ordered a few new packets to fill the gaps and put all the seeds I didnt want and the ones that I had saved far too many of into envelopes for the seed swaps coming up.