The voice of the allotment | December 2021

A November plot – Barry Cuff shares the result of careful planning with a continuing harvest from his winter allotment.

Not just for summer, the butterflies have been active on thr Sturminster Newton allotment’s ivy throughout November’s warmer days. Image: Barry Cuff

After the deluge on the last day of October, the first three weeks of November were quite dry allowing us to work on the plot. In fact the many sunny warm days meant the flowers on the ivy in the hedge were alive with Hover Flies, Bees, Peacock and Red Admiral Butterflies. Some weeds also continued to flower including Gallant Soldier, Red Deadnettle and Fumitory.

A continuing harvest

An allotment can be very productive as long as the soil is fed, and a little planning is used in the crops sown. Here at the end of November, we are currently still collecting the following fresh produce:

  • Early Nantes Carrots – dug as required
  • Musselburgh Leeks – dug as required
  • Blue/Red Moon Autumn Radish – pulled for salads
  • Various Oriental Leaves – cut for salads
  • Monarch Celeriac – one plant lifted every other week
  • Greensleeves Celery – dug as required and now covered with fleece to protect from frost
  • Palace Parsnip – two or three roots per week
  • Brendan Brussels Sprouts – picked once a week

• Cendis Cauliflower – the first curd weighed 2.5kg and lasted well over one week used in various meals

• Ironman Calabrese – all plants are producing good side shoots

• Witloof Chicory – lifted mid month, topped and tailed, and then stored in moist compost in the dark to produce tasty chicons over the winter months

• Santonio and Crokini Tomatoes – five plants of these two varieties were harvested of green fruits which are now in the greenhouse to ripen.

In additon to the fresh harvest, in store we have potatoes, onions, garlic, winter and butternut squash. While in the freezer there’s sweetcorn, French beans, broad beans, runner beans and peas.

A load of manure

The site’s delivery of well rotted horse manure arrived on the 8th – over the next two days we wheeled away our own 35 wheelbarrow loads, some being spread straight away.

A seed hoard

Our seed order from Kings Seeds arrived on the same day as the manure. As our Allotment Association is a member of the South West Counties Allotment Association, we receive a very generous 50% discount on our order of 35 packets. Most of our seeds are obtained from Kings, with just a few varieties from Fothergills and Thompson & Morgan. This amounts to about 50 packets for sowing in 2022.

At moment we have a small number of people on the Sturminster Newton Allotments waiting list. Now is the time to add your name.

by Barry Cuff

Sponsored by Thorngrove Garden Centre

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