Grow your own: Preparing for winter

As the cold of winter takes the only thing hanging on at the allotment is the rainbow chard but, I don’t want to become a fair-weather gardener – I want to embrace all the seasons.

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This year, my first year as an allotment holder, I wasn’t prepared. I mean, I got excited for summer, I got a bit carried away. I had my first batch of runner beans in super early (they all died), had a glutt of courgettes (it turns out you get loads of courgettes from one plant, I had three!), second (successful) batch of beans (Runner and French), Chard, and mountains of Tomatoes that struggled to ripen. But, I did not prepare myself for the winter months; the cabbages, the leeks, the onions, the sprouts….

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This is not happening next year, oh no no! I’m getting organised. Now, I’m no expert but most winter veg has to be planted in the spring to be ready for the next winter, so I’m looking ahead to Winter 2014 and thinking about what exciting things I will be picking this time next year!

In spite of a winter of no produce, it doesn’t mean I have just sat back, never to return to the allotment until the glorious days of spring. I have been pulling up the dead plants of summer, saying a fond farewell to my tomato plants, the courgette plants that kept on giving and have dug over the ground. The plan is to get some manure on there before the ground goes solid (although I’m running a little behind schedule and it has turned cold!) and the little worms can take that good shit down making the soil all kinds of fertile ready for next year. I never thought I’d get excited about manure. 

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