This decaying poppy seed-head just about sums up the allotment in December, a sort of faded glory, seeds scattered and waiting to appear next year.
There’s not much to do at the allotment this month, and what with Christmas on it’s way and the short days and wet weather, it’s probably just as well.
If you only have time for one thing, make soil improvement the priority. Get as much compost as you can, that’s stuff like well-rotted farmyard manure or soil improver, rather than multi-purpose compost, and add a 10cm/4in layer to bare soil. There’s no need to dig it in, it’ll break down all by itself over the next few months. Good soil makes for bigger, healthier plants, which means more crops.
Planning what to grow next year is one of the nicest things to do, partly because it means you can be inside in the warm, but also because anticipation is one of things that keeps us gardening.
I’m always trying to tread that fine balance of enjoying what’s happening now whilst looking forward to new things next year.
This is my guide for choosing what to grow next year:
- What we really like to eat, beetroot is a favourite with us so there’ll be plenty of that, but I mean to be strict about not growing too much of a particular crop. I ran out of ideas for different ways of cooking potatoes and also grew far to many kale plants, this may not seem like a problem but they all have to be weeded and watered.
- I grow a few vegetables that are difficult to get in the shops, I’ve never even seen swiss chard for sale.
- A variety of vegetables through the seasons, so there are things to pick for as long as possible.
- A few perennial plants like fruit bushes or rhubarb are essential, apart from being delicious, it means the entire space doesn’t have to be planted every year.
If you read my last post, you’ll know that I’m saying goodbye to the allotment at the end of this month. It’s an attempt to simplify my life and not have to travel so far to pick vegetables. Though I’ll carry on growing frut and vegetables in my garden, I can’t imagine being without them.
The ‘what to do each month’ will still feature with just as much information for allotment gardeners.
I have been wondering what to call this monthly post, what to do at the allotment isn’t right anymore, I imagine a kitchen garden to be big, so that’s not right, it’ll probably be ‘what to do in the vegetable patch this month’.
Read more about why I’m saying goodbye to the allotment here,
Happy growing, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson.