As the 2011 season draws to an end, our workload reduces on the allotment. Apart from harvesting some of our winter veggies, we will be able to take some time off from weeding, strimming and maintenance in general.
Mostly, the beds are either occupied or weeded after the earlier weed explosion when we were on holiday. I’m pleased to say the clematis arch has been repaired and is gracing the path once more. It does now have a certain allotment charm … instead of a smart metal arch, we have a make-do-and-mend construction with the original metal and some salvaged wood. But isn’t that the delight of an allotment? Smart, modern, new constructions seem so out of place in a world where reuse, reduce and recycle should come first.
The onion experiment – results!
If you remember, I decided to try growing onions from seed this year instead of sets. Our onion experiment was fairly well controlled, with both lots of onions being treated equally.
I’m afraid I have to say the onion sets have won hands down. The onions grown from seed were smaller, but more importantly, many of them bolted and several more have already gone soft, so they won’t store.
It did seem to be a lot of effort and, as we’re trying to make our plot less labour-intensive instead of more, I’m giving up my onion seed ambitions.
Successes vs failures?
Although our beans and courgettes didn’t do as well this year – presumably due to lack of rain – we’ve had no real failures.
But successes? Yes! For the first time we had proper calabrese heads and those wonderful plants are still giving us a good picking of broccoli sprouts every week. Another first this year is the Brussels sprouts. To date, all we’ve achieved have been pea-sized – a pimple on the stem! But this year, we have sprouts to be proud of (and enjoy).
Of course, I must brag again about our Commended Award in the Chipping Norton allotment competition. That was another first … and will be spurring us on to bigger and better things next year (so I can have my photo taken with the Mayor again, you understand).
Still to come?
While the summer season might be over, of course we’ve still got plenty of goodies left on the allotment. We’ve taken the first Savoy cabbage now, and a few swede and leeks. The purple sprouting looks stunningly good and I’m looking forward to some frost for the kale.
Winter veggies are my favourites, I have to say. I get bored quickly with runner beans and courgettes, but never tire of buttery golden swede, crisp roasted parsnips and the really rich dark greens.
Once we’ve taken down the beanpoles, I’ll be back with an end of season video and post it on YouTube. The onion plaiting video has attracted almost 300 hits and I’m keen to polish my technique. Be sure to watch it on a PC near you!