December at Plot 4

What a wet month! It’s been weeks of random downpours and wind fuelled rain. The allotment has a real windswept and weather beaten look to it, and our visits to the plot have often been cut short by inclement weather.

November , despite the weather, has given us some crops to harvest. In this period of the year a few plants come to the fore, with chard and beetroot being highlights. The chard has gone into a number of dishes including a warming chard pilaf. I love the way this beet brightens up the allotment with its rainbow coloured stems punctuating the slightly drab look of the plot in November. The last of the beetroot has been eaten too (I must plant more next year), going into a roasted vegetable salad with goats cheese. I’ve still got some squash stored in the greenhouse and they’ve gone into soups, pasta dishes and a great version of Leon’s Dalston Sweet Potato Curry (replacing the sweet tubers with roasted squash). Cabbage and Jerusalem Artichokes are also making their way onto our dinner plates, allowing us to enjoy their earthy flavours.

At this time of year there is not much to be sowing until the spring. The last few bulbs will go in (tulips) in the next day or so, but even then its possibly a bit too late and we’ll have to see what comes up in the new year. Instead of sowing, its time to sit down with a cup of tea and the seed catalogues; allowing myself time to dream about next year.

With the promise from the forecasters of more rain and wind this month, the chance to get on the soil has gone. Instead, the jobs are more about tidying up from the year past. Tools will need a clean and the shed could do with a tidy too. I’ll continue to put food out for the birds, and make sure that crops that need it are protected from the frost and wet. It’s also time to spruce up the shed, finishing the job of lining it with insulation and internal cladding and giving it lick of paint. All of which can be done with copious cups of tea made on the wood burner.

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This post is contributing to The Garden Share Collective; an international group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills.

December at Plot 4

It’s getting colder now and most days when I visit the plot after the school run I’m greeted with a delicate frosty blanket on the sage bush near the gate. It’s definitely winter and the log burner in the shed is coming into its own, proving a great place to go and warm up or dry off if the weather deteriorates. Despite this there are many things I want or need to do this month.

The shed itself needs a little more work on it, with a combination of bubble wrap and the leftover insulation from my brother’s extension. The plan is to cut the sheets to size, fitting them between the uprights of the shed. The bubble wrap I’ve got insulating the wall at present will be repurposed in the greenhouse; allowing us to continue to grow throughout the colder months.

There is still a bit of harvesting to be done with the last of the Cime di Rapa, as well as Cavalo Nero and the broccoli to pick. I’ll also be giving the brassicas a bit of a helping hand through winter; removing any yellowing leaves which may harbour disease, as well as firming the soil around the roots to give them a secure base. The winter digging will of course continue, with more manure and last years compost to add to the soil as space becomes available.

Winter is also the time when we should look after the birds that visit the allotment; so I plan to increase the number of feeders, including some for the ground feeders like Robins. I’m also planning to put up a new bird box to encourage nesting next summer. I’ve just got to source some wood which hasn’t been earmarked for the log burner!