Winter progress

A lot of people assume that nothing really happens on an allotment through the winter months, but, although slower, there is still a lot of life on our plot (from the plants anyway, not from us). The calabrese are still pushing out a few side shoots here and there. As is the purple sprouting (saving that for the next post).

We have two patches of perpetual spinach which is still growing well, probably thankful for all the recent rain. There’s lots of flat leaf parsley still growing, as well as the perennial herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) and also the bed of celery.

Savoy’s are doing a grand job this year, despite a major whitefly outbreak. It just goes to show, that as long as you get the seedlings and young plants established well, they can withstand a few attacks, and there’s no need to blast everything with pesticides. I think this is the first year I’ve successfully grown a full crop of cabbages. They were germinated at home, and then grown under envirofleece until about October, when I knew they were big enough to look after themselves. There are a few nibbled leaves here and there, but only those outside ones you’d strip off anyway.

We’ve got 3 quite substantial beds of leeks, a lot of which we’ve eaten already.

One of the early varieties has bolted, but I’ve decided to let it flower as I could do with some more leek seeds for next year. I don’t think this will flower until the weather warms up in the spring. Should be lovely when it does, it’s almost as tall as the shed!

We’ve also still got calendulas giving vibrant splashes of hot orange in among all the decaying foliage. This is the small flower bed, where the hardy annuals from the summer have liberally scattered their seed and produced lots of baby seedlings. My challenge in the spring will be to correctly distinguish weed seedlings from flower seedlings, in the hope of avoiding the slightly shabby weed bed it was last year.

And talking of weed beds, I think the strawberry bed might need a touch of work in the spring! They’ve been reproducing like rabbits.

The broad beans that I started under fleece tunnels have come through. There are a few brown spots on the leaves of a couple, I’m not sure what that is. And a few gaps in which I’ve re-sown more seed. Otherwise looking good. I’ll keep the fleece over them until spring when they start flowering.

And finally, despite my worries about them bolting due to a water shortage in summer, and the onslaught of whitefly, caterpillars and slugs, and the strong winter winds, the sprouts have come good, and they’ll be on the menu Christmas Day! Phew – it wouldn’t be the same without them. Love sprouts!

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