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5th November, 2021

“Autumn on the Allotment” Mark’s blog

This time of year sees the decline in many peoples mental health as they see winter approaching fast. I hate being cooped up but see autumn as that glorious time to get out and about and enjoy nature’s colours. Flowers are in their last blooms, the leaves are changing to an amazingly vast array of reds, yellows and golds as the animals and insects work doubly hard to store their winter supplies. It’s also that time of year where I clear down my allotment beds and start planning for next year. What will I grow? What seeds will I need? How’s my compost coming along? And do I paint my shed?

This year, as I keep saying, has been a strange one weather wise. Huge dry spells followed by a month’s worth of rain in a couple of hours! The poor plants don’t know what to do and there are still strawberries growing in October! Some things have done extremely well while others struggle. All in all, for me it hasn’t been too bad considering a month in hospital in spring with Covid and then a new pacemaker in July. These big gaps meant a lot of stuff didn’t get done but next year hopefully I can make up for it.

The Vita X, as always, has been invaluable this year.

Hauling timber for new beds, wheelie bins for weeds and general backwards and forwards between home and my plot. The wheels don’t sink in the grass so I don’t leave tracks behind me which is great as everyone over there is making great efforts to improve the whole site right now and it’s lovely to spend time over there, even if I’m not actually working. This year I managed to freeze about 10kg of runner beans which should last right through winter and a kg of peas. That’s a lot of shelling and preparing but so worth it.

I have four beautiful pumpkins from the one plant I grew and these were given to family for carving for Halloween. My leeks are growing well and should be ready in time for winter and I will also freeze these. My second crop of lettuce has gone mad. This year was amazing for lettuce and my cucumbers in the greenhouse are still doing well. I will be growing these again as they have thin skins and I can honestly say, the best cucumbers I’ve ever tasted. Beetroot did well and I was given marrows, sweetcorn and courgettes to share around the family by friends who had excess. There is a table by my shed where people put excess and you just help yourself to whatever you need.

Winter will be here soon and one bonus is very few weeds growing. Now to research some crops to plant over winter for spring harvesting that I can plant in each bed as I clear them.

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