It is getting chilly now even with the sun shining so we need to stay on the move to keep warm. We have been offered a small shed and the area it is going to has been cleared, levelled and slabs put down. The ground needs to settle for a few days and next week we shall check the foundations are still level and then look forward to its delivery.
It was a good day for a bonfire and the ash will be spread around the fruit bushes in due course and be a useful source of potash. And the weeding keeps on.
Jobs for next week.
Repairing the raised beds.
Weeding along the north edge.
…….are becoming rare but are the places to see and admire the giant exhibition chrysanths traditionally known as ‘Japs’ . This fine entry of six blooms was staged by Dave Scott at the Grangemouth Hort Soc late show today.
It was time to tackle the couch grass that had found a home along the north edge of the plot. A slow job but a satisfying one as the roots are tracked down and eased out. Couch grass had also got in among the Welsh onions so it was taken out and they were thinned, and some general weeding about was done.
Welsh onions earlier this year
The ‘playpen’ where we keep the wire netting and wood and canes was emptied; interesting how things collect that we don’t need immediately but may do some day but does that day ever come? Some of the wood will go to new edgings for the raised beds but the pile for the next bonfire got quite a few additions.
The last of the beetroot and carrots were dug out today so from now on it is the winter veg.
Jobs for next week
Continue weeding round north edge
Start repairing the raised bed
Beetroot – mainly ‘Barbabietola di Chioggia’
There is still plenty to do on the allotment even as autumn progresses. The clearing of the ground under the old dead hedge was hard work for three people since it was infested with couch grass and other pernicious weeds some very deeply rooted.
The shoots on the soft fruit are still growing so these were trimmed back a little and tied into the wire.
It is getting colder so time to plant the garlic and this year it is a variety new to us called ‘Marco’ which has a strong flavour and is softneck – a type that is better for long term storage.
The leaves on the Jerusalem artichokes are dying back. These plants grow to almost 8 feet in height, so we cut down the stalks to about a foot to stop any windrock. Artichokes are a hardy winter veg but are better for having had a frost, so we generally start digging them up in the middle of December.
We use green manures a lot, but not all overwinter for us. This year we are giving field beans a try. The germination has been almost 100% and they are growing well.
We had a picking of beetroot, carrots, cabbage and there are still a few raspberries.
Jobs for next week
Plant the daffodil bulbs
General hoeing about
Continue tidying the compost area
Another bonfire today to finish clearing out the dead hedge which was being used by wildlife we don’t want to encourage. Over the winter months we’ll put in another woven windbreak instead, using the willow and hazel prunings and we will also plant some bulbs.
It is the end of the season for the French and runner beans, courgette and the sweetcorn so these were cleared. The sweetcorn is chancy for us, but we did have a few decent cobs out of it. All the apples have now been picked and the redcurrants are now finished. With the mild weather, the new shoots on the soft fruit are still growing so next week these need to be tied in again.
Still cropping carrots and beetroot, kale, spinach, chard, radiccio and have a store of onions and potatoes in the shed.
Jobs for next week
Cut back the Jerusalem artichokes
Tie in new shoots on soft fruit
Continue clearing the dead hedge area
Clear out the ‘playpen’
Time to get organised for Spring and the Spring Show. First task is to look out the Show Schedule and make sure of the pot sizes which are allowed in each section. ( I am growing cut flower so don’t need to worry about pot sizes) If you are growing pots for Show or at taking part in the school bulb challenge then make sure you check the schedule.
This year my bulb compost is made up a mix of peat free general purpose compost with about the same quantity of a soil based one. However you can use a pre made bulb compost or one of the many types of multipurpose compost on offer from garden centres
The pots are filled completely and levelled off before the bulbs are pressed into the surface of the compost.
The planted pots are labelled and then placed into a sheltered and shaded corner where they will stay cool and damp.
Once all the pots are filled and planted they plunged which just means that they are covered with about 3-4″ ( 100mm) of old compost in what is called the plunge.
The pots will remain in the plunge until January or February when we will remove them and start the serious process of getting them ready for the show.
A very fine autumn day though a little warm for all the hard work.
We finally managed to tidy the shed – badly needed! It is surprising how things accumulate even in the small shed we have. It was also a good opportunity to clean and sharpen all the tools.
The grass had a cut and we dug out the bed which will be used as a plunge bed for the bulb workshop which is being held on the allotment this year on 7th October.
The sweetcorn is slow at ripening but still plenty of other veg to pick and enjoy. No more apples are ready yet, but still a good supply in the shed as well as the onions and potatoes. We had a picking of beans, cabbages and brokali and a few blueberries today.
Jobs for next week
General weeding around
Check the apples for picking