Notes from the Allotments

January 30, 2017

Not much happening up at the allotment at the moment! It’s a bit wild and windy during winter, and the very wet heavy soil is not conducive to digging… The supply of Brussels sprouts and leeks is diminishing and there is precious little else up there to make me want to visit. I have some perpetual spinach seedlings but they are keeping low to the ground and there are not many leaves worth picking. I expect they will perk up when the weather does. The fruit patch is looking very bedraggled, with so far unpruned autumn raspberries looking skeletal and forlorn, the little pear tree completely leafless (but still alive!) and the tayberry extending its long fingers everywhere, escaping its restraints despite my best efforts. The rhubarb is making a few tentative peeks above ground, but it’s not in a hurry to leave the safety of the soil yet.

I decided not to plant any broad beans over winter at the Allotment, but instead sowed a packet of good old Aquadulce in a large growbag in my little cold greenhouse at home. They all germinated and, being protected from marauding mice, have been growing strongly for the last few weeks, so to avoid them getting too leggy in the relative warmth of the greenhouse, I turfed them all out into my raised beds in the vegetable patch. I initially protected them with some fleece, but recent strong winds caused the fleece to fall on the beans, which bent the 6 inch long stems, so I’ve removed it and they will have to fend for themselves.

I’ve also sown onions and garlic at home and am hoping for an early crop. I have to say, I do like the convenience of just popping down the garden for fresh vegetables, rather than cycling up to the allotment! Last season’s leek seedlings, the 30 or so which did not make it up to the allotment, have been planted out in the garden as well as I didn’t want to throw them into the compost; maybe they will also provide me with an early crop, they are looking healthy but spindly at the moment.

I shall not be around for next month’s edition, but will be looking forward to March when hopefully it will be more pleasant to contemplate returning to the allotment.  Angela Hoy (angela.hoy@sky.com)