Seasonal Winter Allotment Tips

General Tasks – top tips

Why not try growing some rhubarb on your plot? Place a bucket or similar to exclude the light over the crown. In a few weeks you will then have some lovely pink sticks of rhubarb to enjoy.

Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to get cracking with digging your allotment plot. It is better for yourself and your back to do a little at a time, rather than try and tackle it all in one go. If the ground is wet do not try and dig it as you will wreck the soil structure.

Whilst digging, add some of your own compost to the ground but avoid doing this where you are planning to plant root crops.

Don’t forget to order or buy your potatoes early as the variety you want may be sold out, they are available in garden centres now.

Fruit Tips

If you are planning to plant fruit trees and bushes (raspberries and other cane fruit), this needs to be done very soon. The trees and bushes should be planted no later than the end of March. Do not plant bare rooted trees in frosty weather or if the ground is frozen.

Pruning of apple and pear trees should be done this month and certainly no later than the end of February as the fruit buds will be starting to swell. Do not do this task in frosty weather.

Gooseberries should be pruned now.

Shorten the side shoots on red and white currants to just one bud and remove old stems crowding the centre of the bush. Do not prune blackcurrants this way as they fruit on new shoots made the previous year.

Autumn fruiting raspberry canes can now be cut down. Do not cut down summer fruiting raspberry canes as you will have no fruit in the summer. Summer fruiting raspberries fruit on the canes they made in the previous year. The new canes are light brown in colour, whilst the older canes still have remnants of the old fruit on them.

If in doubt talk to the site rep or give Kevin a call for advice.

January on the allotment – Time to start planning

January, like December, is usually a month of hard frosts although with global warming changing our climate, this prediction is hardly firm. This New Year period was rare with the hardest frosts seen in the UK for nearly 20 years. Many hardy plants have taken a hit and despite the warmer weather now in January are slow to recover. Continue reading “January on the allotment – Time to start planning”

April – Things are warming up!

April is great, the soil is warming up and spring should be here. Do keep an eye on the weather forecast though, even in the south of England a cold snap and snow are not unknown in April. Keeping horticultural fleece on standby in case of cold weather is a good idea.

Harvest

We’re in the ‘Hungry Gap’ between the last of the winter crops and start of the early crops but there are still a few things available, late sprouting and chards for example plus you may have some early salad crops from the greenhouse border.

Continue reading “April – Things are warming up!”

February – Spring just round the corner!

These are sowing/planting times for the South of England. Growers living further north should delay for 2-4 weeks. If a hard frost is forecast soil can be covered with horticultural fleece to protect germinating seeds.

Sow Outdoors

  • Broad beans
  • Parsnip
  • Onion (from seed)
  • Peas (for May/June crop) try Feltham First or Meteor

Sow Under Cover

  • Summer cabbage, e.g. varieties Greyhound, Hispi, Primo, Derby Day, Stonehead, Minicole, Winnigstadt Radish (summer varieties)
  • Lettuce
  • Rocket
  • Spinach
  • Early turnip e.g. purple top milan

Sow Under Heated Cover

Aubergine (for a greenhouse crop) Pepper (for a greenhouse crop)

Plant Outdoors

Jerusalem artichoke tubers Shallots

Preparation

Start chitting early potato varieties in preparation for planting in late March/early April. Individual tubers can be placed in egg cartons (or similar) in a cool place under indirect light.

Harvest

Jerusalem artichoke, perpetual spinach, early purple sprouting broccoli, brussels sprouts, celeriac, celery, chicory, endive, kale, leeks, parsnip, radish, salsify, scorzonera, spinach, swede, turnip.

November – Get your garlic in now

If you only do one thing in the garden this month, you should drop a fistful of garlic cloves into the soil. Not only is it a kitchen mainstay for any self-respecting chef, it practically takes care of itself on the veg patch too. It has no special feeding requirements and only very rarely do pests and diseases make any headway. To grow well, garlic needs a cold period (0–10ºC or 32–50ºF) of one to two months – which you can pretty much guarantee lies ahead. Sowing now is essential for the roots to develop before the cold weather sets in. Continue reading “November – Get your garlic in now”