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November Allotment Tips

 

allotment-greens-under-netting

allotment greens under-netting

I always fully embrace November down on the allotment as it is really, the start of the next gardening year. There is plenty to do down on the plot as always. The winter months present us with a tremendous opportunity to further improve our plots. Allotment gardening is akin to building a house. Now is the time of year to lay the foundations or perhaps add an extension.

Without question, this is the best time of year to take on a brand new plot. I’ll look into this subject in greater depth next month.

It is also a perfect time of year to make a start on those big jobs that we’ve put off indefinitely because we were busy tending the plot during the growing season. I will also look closely at these over the winter months.

During November and the remainder of this year, winter digging is a priority task. Heavy digging such as this is best done as quickly as ground conditions will allow. This will give the frost plenty of time to gradually break down the freshly dug clods into a workable fine tilth-the dream of all allotment gardeners.

Conversely, if you are a fan of raised beds, winter digging of course is largely avoided. Other advantages of these beds are the soil drains better and warms up significantly quicker in spring.

Raised beds are therefore perfect for early spring crops, when covered with fleece or cloches. The Link-a-bord system is very popular, portable and can be expanded to suit the needs of your plot. Alternatively a few old pallets or scaffolding boards, treated, will make great DIY beds, cheaply and relatively easily.

There are still plenty of other jobs to be done. Check your asparagus plants and cut down the foliage to ground level as it starts to turn yellow. This now tired looking foliage has served its purpose and we don’t want it blowing around potentially loosening the soil around the roots.

Regularly check the netting on your brassica plants to ensure they are covered and protected from pigeon attack. Pigeons can cause a real problem, stripping the leaves of plants such as sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage bare, leaving just skeletal remains.

Check any recently planted overwintering garlic and onion sets, to make sure they haven’t been teased out of the soil by birds, looking for tasty morsels to eat. Once the sets start to root firmly they will be fine.

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Lee Senior

About Lee Senior

Lee Senior is an experienced horticultural writer, RHS Yorkshire in Bloom judge and part time horticultural manager. He has also had an allotment for over 25 years. After, initially spurning horticulture as a career option, to pursue his boyhood dream of becoming a train driver, Lee soon realised he couldn't resist getting his hands dirty to make a living. Horticultural College training led, to getting an allotment at the tender age of 18 (in the days when you could actually get a plot quickly). My gardening hero, is Geoff Hamilton" says Lee. "It was Geoff who convinced me that you didn't have to spray everything that moved in the garden. Watching him on Gardeners’ World in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s was a revelation. I was lucky enough to meet Geoff and I’ve also more recently had the pleasure of meeting Joe Swift. Now over two decades of practical experience has taught me to work with mother-nature, not to fight against her and don't try to tame her, as so many gardeners seem to be on a mission to do. Small scale food growing is my passion and I can't wait for my my two daughters, one who is 5 years old and the other who is 3 to hopefully pick up the baton in the future. Nothing beats the flavour and satisfaction of growing your own food. You simply cannot buy the same quality and freshness. Everyone can have a go at growing something says Lee, no matter where they live. Lee has also written his first book entitled "Walking on the Aire".The book is based on another of his keen interests which is walking. The book features 14 short family style, walks in Airedale, Yorkshire.

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