And so it begins.. another year being put to bed for the winter.
Over the coming months the plot will get pretty soggy due to its clay soil so it’s about now, as I tidy away spent crops and as the beds become available I like to make sure everything is neat, tidy and safe before the winter rains and winds arrive. I also find it pretty cathartic tidying away another season and planning for the new one.
Here’s my top 10 tips for a successful start next year:
- Plan ahead for some early crops. Broad beans, garlic, onions (including spring onions) and winter salads can all be planted now and will be a welcome fresh addition to next year’s dinner plate
- Some flowers can also be sown now in modules for an early start next year. I’ve planted cornflowers and Echinacea.
- Keep removing all decaying or dead vegetation from crops still growing. Unnecessary clutter on your beds will harbour disease plus there are plenty of other things slugs and snails can be eating away from your beds!
- Tidy up paths and raised beds. If anything is broken, fix it. It’s a happier task next year to just start sowing without a spot of DIY holding you back first
- Clean up tools and give your secateurs an MOT. I find this article really helpful
- Cover beds to stop soil erosion. Well-rotted manure is perfect but if you can’t get it, normal compost will do a good job. I also use green manure
- Keep watering! Plants need less water but if we go through a dry spell check to see if they need a little drink
- Keep an eye on your grassy areas so they don’t become unruly. I absolutely love this article by Sarah Raven
- Clean your greenhouse and/or polytunnel. You’ll be letting the maximum light in and removing any unwanted pests and disease. I’ve also put my seedlings on trays of grit to limit the number of snails munching my babies. Don’t forget to keep checking all nooks and crannies of green houses and polytunnels for lurking mollusks!
- Finally… cover any holes in your shed. Mice and rats get cold in the winter and you don’t want one of those nibbling any stored crops/fertilisers/seeds etc.
So that’s it. Night night allotment, you’ve been the best.