I like November at the allotment, it’s good to clear out all the old plants, pull up the bean-posts and restore a sense of order to what has become a bit of a jumble.
The joy of weeding at this time of year is that most of them won’t re-grow, and if bare soil is covered with sheeting or plain, brown, cardboard, it’ll rot down onto the soil after 3-4 months, heavy rain won’t wash all the nutrients away.
I’m digging up any remaining potatoes, that could be harbouring blight in the soil. I’m pretty sure that a couple of potatoes left in the ground contributed to the tomato blight that did for my tomatoes this year.
Sow broad beans for an early crop next spring.
Plant garlic now so that it gets nicely chilled. You’re supposed to buy proper garlic for planting, but I’ve kept some of my big healthy bulbs to plant.
It’s the best time for planting bare-root fruit trees, they can be planted through to March, but November is ideal while the ground is relatively warm.
Set yourself a mission to get as much manure and/or compost as possible to spread in a thick layer over bare soil, it’s just what the soil needs to replenish it for next year, and it’s a sustainable way of gardening. Some local councils sell recycled green waste, spent mushroom compost is another alternative, though it doesn’t improve the soil structure that much, it’s better than nothing.
Rake up leaves and make leaf-mould, but burn any leaves that are diseased.
Prune gooseberries and currants when the leaves have dropped, cut out dead, diseased or dying wood [dead wood is a different colour, brown rather than green if you gently scrape the top layer of bark away], also cut off any branches that cross over other branches causing wounds. I had such a good crop of gooseberries this year.
Blackcurrant bushes can be pruned now too. Cut out to a couple of inches above ground level between a quarter and a third of older branches [the stems are a darker colour] and remove any dead, diseased or damaged branches.
This earlier post here shows you how easy it is to make leaf-mould.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson.