December 2015

Monday 24th December

My Christmas Dinner harvest

Just a quick visit to the allotment today to collect a selection of vegetables for our Christmas Dinner. I managed to harvest Celeriac, Parsnips, Leeks, Brussels sprouts and a lettuce see image on the right. I purchased a new gardening book written by Charles Dowding called " How to grow Winter Vegetables" Which I am hoping will help me to extend my growing and harvesting season starting in 2016. I will be Working on my planning to incorporate second sowings and planting of crops.

Monday 14th December

Another wet day with rain over the last few days. I spent my time at the allotment sorting out my sheds making sure I have all my allotment materials and equipment put away for another year and that I know where I have put them. I did try to continue trimming the path edges but it was far too muddy and I was making the paths muddy as well so I gave up. I then reformed my raised bed that I removed from the greenhouse into the width required for using outdoors and placed it on part of the dug brassicas bed, ready to use in 2016. Finally I covered my lettuce in the greenhouse with bubble wrap to protect it over winter. I then returned home for a nice cup of tea.

Friday 11th December

It was rather wet today with plenty of rain over night. I had a delivery yesterday containing Green Debris netting and fabric weed protection which I took to the allotment today ready to be used in 2016. I then started on another path edge clearing job but half way through the rain came and put a halt to the proceeding. So I spent some time clearing up my main allotment shed that was a complete mess. The rain stopped so I continued on the path edges but just as I started the heavens opened up again so I decided to clear up and return home for a nice cup of tea.

Wednesday 9th December

Last year Brassica bed dug and composted

A very bright and wind free morning after plenty of rain yesterday. I started by empting my usable compost from the compost bin and placed that on bed 6 ready for planting the Early and second early potatoes later next spring. That freed up a compost bin that gave me some where to place the weeds and grass I took from the path edge on my last visit. By next task was to dig the bed where half my brassicas were grown this year. I then used the horse manure that has been composting for the last year to cover the beds that have just been dug ready for planting my main crop potatoes which will be grown next Spring. See image on the left. I spent some time chatting to my allotment neighbour before returning home for lunch.

Monday 7th December

weeds and grass removed from path edge

A nice bright and wind free morning after some windy weather over last few days. I only had one job in mind this morning that was to start to clear all weeds and grass from the path edge to the sides of my raised Square Foot Beds. I managed to complete one side before I had to return home to some jobs that needed to be done. The image on the right shows my progress so far just three three more path edges to go, which I hope to complete by the end of this week, weather permitting.

Friday 4th December

Grass Paths cut

Another nice bright morning at the allotment today. I spent most of my time strimming the grass paths as the grass was rather wet after a night of rain so I did not want to use a lawnmower as it may have churned up the paths. On my next visit I will clear weeds and grass from the edges around my plot. I spent some time in the greenhouse transferring some lettuce to their final growing positions. My allotment neighbour arrived so we had a chat before returning home for lunch. It looks like another nice morning tomorrow so I hope to return to the allotment on Saturday.

Thursday 3rd December

Protecting Brassica Plants

It was bright with very little wind this morning so I made my first trip to the allotment for December. The first task I completed was to remove all my asparagus ferns that had finally turned brown. These were then composted. Next I worked on bed six where I removed the old Pak Choi and trimmed back the brown leaves from the Celeriac. Finally giving bed six a good weed. My next task was to cut back my Raspberries to about 4in from the ground, this is to protect the raspberries from wind which may loosen the roots. Finally I worked on improving my Brassica bed protection from wind and pigeons. This can be seen in the image on the right. It was then time to return home for lunch.

December

What needs doing this month

Fruit

  • Spray all fruit trees and bushes with tar-oil winter wash when dormant.
  • Continue planting in suitable conditions.
  • Continue pruning
  • Apply nitrogenous fertiliser to trees grown in grass
  • Cut back newly planted trees and bushes

Vegetables

  • Lift Celery as it is required.
  • Continue to check Cabbages and Sprouts for any loosening in winds.
  • Lift any root crops and store in boxes of moist sand. This is especially important if your ground is wet and heavy or you have serious problems with slugs.
  • Sit down and plan out next year's crop rotation and what seeds and plants you will need.
  • Check that cloches are firmly secured to prevent them blowing away in the wind.
  • Brussels Sprouts and winter Broccoli should now be ready for picking.
  • Consider where you are going to place your Runner beans next year and dig out a trench.
  • Ridge the soil up on either side and leave it open to the beneficial effects of the winter.
  • Leeks should now be ready to start lifting.

Herbs

  • Protect bay, rosemary and marjoram from severe winter weather

Greenhouse

  • Water and ventilate cautiously
  • Insulate the greenhouse
  • Light levels are critical, so consider using artificial light
  • Harvest plump white chicons from forced chicory
  • Continue to sow a succession of lettuce for continuity of supply
  • Carry out complete winter pruning of grape vines
  • Top dress peaches and nectarines
  • Ventilate freely

General

  • service mechanical machinery ready for spring
  • check the seed catalogues and order any seeds onion sets and plants required
  • check sundries like stakes, bean poles, canes, netting, fertilisers etc.
  • tidy up the shed while its still quite quiet.