Gardening: November 2017

November 03 2017

We were delighted to have been invited to the awards ceremony of St George in Bloom 2017 and throughout our Association receive no less than eleven awards from The Right Honourable, the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Lesley Alexander. Prestigiously, the Chairman’s Award went to Plot 20 at St. Aidan’s Allotments whilst we received five Highly Commended and five others for Outstanding Achievements.

St George in Bloom 2017

Didn’t we do well?

 

We were delighted to have been invited to the awards ceremony of St George in Bloom 2017 and throughout our Association receive no less than eleven awards from The Right Honourable, the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Lesley Alexander. Prestigiously, the Chairman’s Award went to Plot 20 at St. Aidan’s Allotments whilst we received five Highly Commended and five others for Outstanding Achievements.

The awards ceremony was a great opportunity for us to learn more of how St. George in Bloom has played an important part in our community. Whilst thanks must go to their willing volunteers it was evident that much valued support has also been provided by many local businesses who obviously want to share in the growing success of the area, as indeed we as an Allotment Association look forward that we can achieve even higher horticultural standards with St. George in Bloom 2018.

During late autumn our plots offer a somewhat different appearance from that of just a few weeks ago. Most if not all our summer crops have long finished and been cleared away to reveal bare patches of ground, and left unattended weeds and grass will almost certainly begin to appear there. To help stem any unwanted growth throughout the winter the ground could be covered with large cardboard boxes (bike boxes from the local cycle shop are excellent) or black plastic sheet may be quicker and re-useable. But best of all, spread a mulch of homemade compost over the area. This will feed the soil over the coming months in readiness for next season and supress any weeds at the same time, and should any annoying green shoots pop through the surface, simply hoe them off.

Consequently this month, it can seem as if everything starts to turn against us at the allotment, with days becoming shorter, colder and usually wetter, but the months of November and December do in fact have their advantages. Winter vegetables will soon be ready for harvest, leeks for one and parsnips in particular will need frosts to turn their starches into sugars and produce their distinctive flavour.  

These shorter days are also a great time to consider what was successful on the plot this year and what wasn’t whilst it’s still fresh in our minds (if like me, notes are not always written down when they should be) and decide our plans for next year. Bear in mind of course that crop rotation is important, not only does this reduce the risk of any disease building up in the soil, but actually one crop succeeding another helps new growth. For example, follow nitrogen-fixing legumes such as peas or beans with nitrogen-loving leaf or fruiting crops such as lettuce or tomatoes.

Make a list too of seeds you’ll need next year, take stock of the tools you have, any need replacing? Thermal gardening gloves are a real bonus to keep the cold and wet out. A few ideas perhaps for someone’s Christmas wish-list who’s always difficult to buy for! 

Making early preparation for those crops you want to grow next year is essential, and one seed almost everyone will include and want to grow is potatoes. Whether you have a large plot or just a patio you can grow them easily in bags or buckets and as we’ve said in our reports before, the tastes and textures are always exceptional. Our allotment shop will as in previous years, have an excellent range of seed potatoes of over thirty-five varieties and can be bought singly if you want to try just a few of several different ones. But this year we are offering a new twist to start our annual sale, by opening our shop on New Year’s Day from 11.00am to 3.00pm no less! We’re inviting everyone to come and join us; our kitchen will be serving bacon butties and veggie soup. It will be an opportunity to well, shall we say, for the family to take in a little fresh air after the recent festivities and pick-up where we left off before Christmas and at the same time look forward to the new gardening year ahead. 

Make a note of our potato sale in your diary, or if you’d like us to remind you a few days beforehand please send us an email, our address is just below. And finally for now, you may remember our report last month included an idea to start broad bean seed germination; ours are now underway and will be ready for planting out soon. To help them through whatever the weather throws at us over the next couple of months our allotment shop supplies a thermal net which we have used to create a protective, snug tunnel for the plants to develop in. Our picture, taken at the end of March this year, shows how well the plants had progressed throughout last winter which produced a crop of beans ready for picking a few weeks later. If you would like more information of thermal net or how we set-up our tunnel please call in at our shop or drop us line.

 

Email: beaanews@gmail.com or call 0117-932-5852.

www.bristoleastallotments.com.