The cold weather has arrived with a vengeance! It is surprising that we’ve had such a mild November; all the more of a shock to have had snow flurries and a bitter wind just recently!
There are only two reminders this month: after Christmas, please remove any plants left in the polytunnel; John will need to disinfect it in mid January. Tidy up and sweep your area, removing any debris and disposing of it carefully.
Secondly, the small amendment to the SPAA constitution has now been made, with the approval of our members, and you can find the entire document on the website.
DECEMBER is not necessarily a month when nothing is happening on your allotment; your brassicas should be at their peak and your root vegetables should be in good supply. One of the most important things is to make sure, once harvested, that you are storing your crops properly to help them last as long as possible:
– store carrots and parsnips on a layer of damp sand in a shallow, wooden box and then cover lightly with another layer of sand, making sure the vegetables are not touching each other.
– store winter cabbages hung up in net bags or on wooden slats covered with straw.
– store potatoes in thick paper sacks, exclude the light and keep in a frost free place.
– store pumpkins and squashes by placing them on straw or shredded paper
– store haricot beans by drying them out completely and putting in screwtop jars but check on them from time to time to check there are no weevils or other insects.
– store onions, shallots and garlic in traditional strings, once fully dried out, and hang them up, or stack in single layers in wooden boxes.
WHAT TO DO IN DECEMBER:
Plant vegetables such as garlic sets or rhubarb if the weather is not too cold or wet. Many fruit bushes or bare rooted canes can be planted now such as blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries and currants.
HARVEST: celeriac or leave in the ground until needed. (Take off the dying leaves and mulch if very cold).
Dig up your Jerusalem artichokes. Unless you want another crop next year, dig up all the tubers as they will continue to spread!!
Harvest your swedes and turnips before they become too woody; pick your Brussels sprouts, starting from the bottom and working your way up the stem. Harvest leeks when you need them as they do not store well. Lift parsnips when you need them. Dig up the last of your Kohl rabi.
JOBS TO DO IN DECEMBER:
- Continue winter digging and cover over your beds
- Check nets over brassicas and remove any yellowing leaves. Earth up Brussels sprouts.
- Weed around fruit bushes and mulch them
- Prune grape vines
- Check wires, ties and fencing
- Clean pots, tools and seed trays
The SPAA Committee wishes you all a very Happy Christmas!