Tuesday 5 February 2019

OUR ALLOTMENT - Life on the Weald December 2018

OUR ALLOTMENT - Life on the Weald December 2018

As expected, little time was spent on the allotment in December.  A combination of pre-Christmas activity and very wet weather conspired to keep us away.

We did make a few visits, however, to harvest the results of our labours and to feed the worms.  We have three wormeries on the go and feed them most of our kitchen waste.  I expect we will have lots of worm compost to add to the raised beds in January.

Most crops have not fared so well this year because of the mixture of summer drought and heavy rains at other times, but we have a plentiful supply of green crops for the winter - kale, chard and spinach and the purple sprouting broccoli should be sprouting soon.

The Broad Beans planted in October/November are just showing through and I will think about covering them with a layer of straw or fleece if a cold snap is predicted.

Broad beans (Aquadulce) 2 December
We have also been lifting leeks as and when we need them.  We are fortunate that we have not seen an infestation of alium worm which appears to be prevalent on other allotments in the Brighton and Hove area.

Leeks 2 December with purple kale in foreground

The onion sets, garlic and shallots planted last month are looking good and I must ensure we keep them as weed-free as possible this year

Onions 15 December

Shallots 11 December 

We managed to harvest some sprouts for Christmas Day.......

.... and also some new potatoes which we had grown in tubs, planted in the summer

New potatoes on Christmas Day

In addition to the sprouts, which we cooked with smoked bacon and chestnuts, we served a mixture of steamed greens, all from the allotment; chard, cavolo nero, purple kale, Brussels tops and leaves from the purple sprouting broccoli.  We had bought a cauliflower, a Swede (or as my northern wife calls it, turnip) and some King Edwards for the roast potatoes - yes Jamie Oliver, King Edwards and not Maris Piper - sorry we have to disagree on this one - save your Maris for the mash!  And we had lifted our own parsnips - not as large as last year but beautifully sweet, as well as leeks and some carrots we had also grown in a tub.  So not counting the spuds, I think we had eleven vegetables for Christmas dinner.

It might be a while before we get back to the plot but we have started planning our crop rotation - just trying to remember what was where in 2018:

Happy New Year and good gardening.

John Austin

Hove , December 2019

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