November 21, 2016


Last Sunday was a perfect day for putting the allotment to bed, bright sunshine, clear sky, a slight breeze and not at all cold, so I made an early start and managed to do three and a half hours before giving up and going home for lunch.

During that time I dug over two sections, spread some leaf mould and covered one section with black cloth; then emptied both compost bins (and refilled them with new weeds) and had enough reasonable (if a bit twiggy) compost to cover the other section.

Although we have had a considerable amount of rain in the past couple of days, the earth was perfect for digging, with the weeds easy to remove. I gathered up all the beanpoles and netting and stacked them neatly in the corner, and secured some spare netting around the remaining brassicas. Some of the runner bean roots had large stubby roots, so I left them there to break down and release their nitrogen. The remains of the sweetcorn plants which were too fibrous to compost were added to the bonfire pile on the other side of the stream – but it is not going to be lit as there are probably little creatures hibernating in its depths.

I had intended to cut down the autumn raspberries today but ran out of steam, so merely removed a couple that that had strayed onto the path; a job for another day. At this time of year I normally sow some broad beans at the allotment, but I’ve decided to follow Monty’s example and put some in the grow bags in my cold greenhouse at home so they will not be eaten by mice. I should be able to plant out some strong seedlings in early spring.

Compost corner: the leafmould bays need to be cleared before the next leaves arrive in a couple of weeks, so please do take some! The left hand one is nearly empty, but the right hand one is still full and ready to go; it has some apple pomace dug into it so might be on the acidic side until that has all broken down, but it’s good stuff!

I am advised by the Vale that there will not be a compost giveaway this autumn, but there will definitely be one next Spring. Angela Hoy (