The last day of November and I finally got to tick a few more things off my winter allotment to do list. I started with a little digging – I love digging. When I took over my plot last October I decided to cover one of the beds, as I knew I couldn’t cultivate the whole plot in the first year. Covering the ground with a decent weed suppressant, the kind of thing that’s used in landscaping, is one of those things that divides allotmenteers. Some think it’s a bad idea – good home for slugs, and others think it’s a great way of managing a plot – especially if you don’t have a lot of time. When I covered this area I laid it over weeds without digging. A year later everything had died back – I will have to folk through to remove as much horsetail as I can, as its prolific on the plot. Frost is forecast next week so I hope mother nature will do her bit and help break down the soil a little.
When Dad visited he gifted me some elephant garlic. The great thing about allotment’s is the sharing! Sharing ideas, produce, seeds, and plants. He was given a bulb of elephant garlic by an allotment neighbour, he planted it out, ate some, saved some, and passed some on. I got three cloves from this bulb, so I will get three bulbs. Next year I will plant two bulbs and eat one…until I am growing enough to be able to pass it onto the next person! I bought the second bulb from the allotment shop, I think its is soft neck. It cost £1.20, and was from the Isle of Wight garlic farms. This bulb produced about 19 good-size cloves.
Garlic should be planted just below the soils surface. I hoed over the area and made a slight gully. I sprinkled over a thin layer of Growmore, marked out the garlic cloves about 10 cm apart, and then eased the soil apart and popped the clove inside. The ground is quite wet, so this is always a risky venture. Ideally garlic should be planted in well-drained soil a few weeks before the first frost. Last year we didn’t have many frosts, and my garlic was quite small. I am hoping this year to have an abundant crop.
I have very little to harvest at the moment, I’m still picking perpetual spinach and chard, and in a few weeks/month I’m hoping to harvest Russian kale. Although I’ve started on the beetroot chutney I made a few months ago and its delicious – sweet but earthy!