Monday, 11 January 2021

Life on the Weald - December 2020

Life on The Weald - December 2020 

"Wealding and Shielding"

Out for exercise - Boxing Day



Life continued to be dominated by the Corona virus. When the temporary lockdown ended on 2 December a tougher tiered system of restrictions was re-introduced with the promise of a relaxation of lockdown over the Christmas period and the approval of a programme of vaccination. But with rising cases in mid December, and the discovery of a new strain of the virus, London and much of the south-east (but not Brighton and Hove) was moved up to a higher risk tier and it was also announced that the proposed relaxation of restrictions over the Christmas period would apply for one day only on Christmas Day.  Two days before Christmas it was announced that as from Boxing Day, Brighton and Hove would join London in Tier 4, the most restrictive.  The government also reintroduced "shielding" for the clinically vulnerable.  We had chosen to continue shielding when the government advice changed in the summer, so the new guidance made little difference to us.  We haven't been shopping since the first lockdown in March and are reliant on home deliveries. Throughout all the different lockdown regimes we have been allowed to go out for exercise and thankfully that has included going to the allotment.  Luke has suggested we retitle the blog "Wealding and Shielding"!

On 3rd December we took advantage of orur stoe of squashes.................

3 December - pumpkin

...and made pumpkin curry.  There was also enough to make pumpkin soup which has gone in the freezer.

pumpkin seeds, ready for roasting

And not wanting to waste anything we roasted the seeds with spices for snacking.

After a dull, wet start to the month on 4 December the skies  cleared and we had some amazing sunsets.
 
Hove beach 4 December

Surprisingly, the tomatoes we had rescued at the end of November, had ripened in the kitchen 😊

Home-grown Tomatoes 5 December

Not much was done on the allotment at the beginning of the month but I did check from time to time that everything was OK.  I was very pleased that the Douce Provence  peas had survived the heavy rains and the crushed eggshells seem to have protected them from slugs and snails.

Douce Provence peas 12 December

Around mid-December, with a lull in the bad weather, I sowed some more broad beans and covered them with fleece and prepared a space to plant out the broad beans growing in pots at home.

17 December - broad beans sown

The broad beans and peas sown in October and November were all doing well.

17 December - broad beans directly sown in November

17 December - Kelvedon Wonder peas & aquadulce broad beans

Apart from the brassicas and chard there was little to harvest on the plot but plenty in the foodstore.  We decided to combine the Borlotti beans grown in the summer with freshly picked cavolo nero kale to make ribollita  a traditional Italian stew.

18 December - Borlotti beans

18 December - Cavolo Nero

Christmas Day was cold, but clear and then, on Boxing Day, Storm Bella struck  with heavy rain and fierce winds of 70 mph which brought down some of the beach huts on Hove promenade.

Boxing Day, Hove Promenade


Boxing Day, Hove Promenade

Storm Bella was followed by a drop in temperature and heavy frosts. A trip to the plot on 30 December revealed a frozen water tank

Ice on the water tank - 30 December

Shards of ice - 30 December

Despite the heavy frost, I was pleased to see that the garlic had begun to show green shoots.....

30 December garlic

 ...and the Douce Provence peas were still surviving as well as the broad beans and late sown spinach & beetroot .

30 December beetroot and spinach


As the November directly sown broad beans were looking OK, I decided to plant out the latest batch that had been sown in pots at home in November and were in the garden hardening off.


17 December - planting out the broad beans

In order to give them a bit of protection from hungry slugs and snails I scattered a mixture of egg shells and coffee grouts on the surface of the soil.

Broad beans and a dusting of eggshells

This was my last visit to the plot in 2020.  Apart from the leeks, it had been a reasonable year in terms of produce and with lockdown there had been fewer diversions, resulting in more time than usual being spent on the plot. I have ordered my seed potatoes; I have cut back some of the plum trees; the broccoli and kalettes are looking good and I'm feeling fairly optimistic about 2021 - for the allotment anyway.

John Austin
Hove, December 2020

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