October at Plot 4

September, with the start of the school year and my work to develop a local bakery in the heart of my community, has sped by. If I’m honest, I’ve neglected the plot a bit. I’ve been there a fair bit, but have been harvesting crops and just enjoying the space, rather than getting on with the jobs I should have been doing. Consequently, the start of October is necessarily going to be a busy one.

 

There is still a lot to harvest, the autumn fruiting raspberries are still going, as are the blackberries. The beetroot have been a great success and have been used in a range of dishes recently, including this delicious slaw. The squashes are also ripening nicely and I look forward to harvesting the first of the fruits in the next day or so. Squashes to me, are the archetypal autumn vegetable and also one of the most versatile one. They can be used roasted for gnocchi or pasta dishes, in soups, even in cupcakes. The last of tomatoes are ripening too, so I’ll be using these in various dishes, as well as preserving a few too.

At this time of year there is little to sow. I’ve sown a few rows of late lettuce, now that the days are a little shorter and the heat has diminished a little. I’ve got a number of brassica plants and leeks to plant out in the next day or so, although not sown myself they should bring a harvest later in the year.

The autumn tidy up is the main job this month. There’s paths to tidy, greenhouse to clean out, fences to fix, beds to be dug; the list goes on. With the cold weather coming towards the end of the month ahead, I’m also going to make sure I have enough firewood for the log burner. The allotment is a great place to spend time, and having a warm shed to pop into for a hot cup of tea, or just to warm up, makes being there and getting jobs done all the easier.

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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.

October at Plot 4

I was talking to a friend the other day and she asked what the plot looked like. This got me thinking. Perhaps I should post a picture each month to show it through the seasons. Its character certainly changes over the year. So I’m going to post a few pictures at the start of each month, so I can track the plots progress.

October can bring the first frosts and is definitely a time to start to put the plot to bed for the winter. This has been my view for the last few years; but I’ve come to realise that the last weeks of September and the first in October are a good opportunity to harvest and begin to sow crops to cover the winter and beyond. So this year, apart from the usual tidying of the plot, netting the brassicas and pruning the blackberries (brambles), I’ll be planting too.

We use a lot of onions, and white onions are cheap from the local grocer, so we’ll be growing red onions and shallots this year (planted as sets on a ridge to prevent waterlogging in our clay soil). I’ll be planting garlic on ridges soon, as I find the winter cold is vital in ensuing the bulb splits well into cloves. As for varieties, I haven’t decided yet, but will be checking out Lottie Landgirl’s post on onions for some advice.

I’ll also be planting some broad beans in the next few weeks. Last year we sowed them in the spring and they were fairly successful, however we’ve had greater success in the past with autumn sowings. So for 2014 we’ll be sowing soon, then doing another sowing in the spring to ensure some succession and a lengthy supply of the fabulous beans. Unlike onions, broad beans are expensive in the shops, so by growing them at the plot we can still enjoy them at a fraction of the price.