Page 18 - ALG Issue 1 2022
P. 18

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Kings plot
September to late November 2021
 September this year started off very busy but enjoyable, as after last year’s postponement due to restrictions,
this year the organisers once again were able to stage the Capel St Mary Allotment Show. I staged 43 exhibits and won 27 firsts, 11 seconds, and 1 third. This won me the trophy for most points in the Vegetable section. I also won the trophy for most points in the Mammoth Vegetable section which included my 5.58kg Kohlrabi which was heavier than my exhibit 2 years ago.
One of the most competitive classes is the Longest Runner Bean as there is a top prize of £25. I won this with a bean 62.4cm long. This helped me win the RHS Banksian Medal for Most Prize Money. I also collected the trophy for Best Kept allotment that I won earlier in the year, along with a voucher to spend in our allotment hut and a few bottles of beer to celebrate. All in all, a very good weekend and congratulations should go to all the exhibitors and the show organisers.
The rest of September was spent bringing in the harvests of runner and French beans, sweetcorn and late salad crops, including blight resistant Tomato Mountain Magic. Before we got any wet weather, I lifted the main crop potatoes. This year I grew Setanta and these produced a fantastic crop with many large spuds ideal for baking, roasting or mash and should keep the family
in spuds well into the New Year. Later in the month the weather suddenly changed with some strong winds and light rain and this quickly put an end to the last of the beans so clean up began, taking down canes and tying up and storing for next year and pulling up and composting old crops so the ground was clear ready for winter preparation.
My autumn maturing crops are looking very good; Brussels Sprouts Brodie and Brendan have plenty of good size buttons to harvest. These I cleaned
away the bottom leaves and gave the plants a spray against Whitefly to try and keep the crop clean. My Purple Sprouting Broccoli have made good sized plants and should produce plenty of spears next year. My Savoy cabbages and this year a few Tundra Cabbages will be welcome additions to meals this autumn and into the New Year.
I have already pulled Parsnip Gladiator and they have excellent flavour, even without much frost to date. The carrot Eskimo sowed in June under enviro- mesh cloches are a good size and
taste so sweet and will be enjoyed at Christmas and well into the New Year, pulling them as required from the plot as this variety has good frost tolerance so I can leave them in situ until required.
In mid-October before the allotment site got too wet, I had a large delivery
of mushroom compost from our local mushroom farm. The driver tipped 2 loads over the carpark fence next to
my plot onto a large tarpaulin sheet
to protect the grass paths. This was
all moved one Saturday morning with welcome help from my wife Amanda. We had 2 barrows on the go with Amanda filling and me wheeling and carting to the plot. This was warm work and in a couple of hours we shifted
over 70 barrow loads, which were left in heaps on the plots for spreading later. Some were used to mulch my Rhubarb Crowns, something I try to do every year.
As my pots of bedding plants finish
at home and the growbags from the polytunnel are cleared, these are taken to the plot and spread on the piece
of ground I am going to grow my root crops in next year, making this an easier soil for these roots to grow once dug in.
At the end of October, I spread a small amount of mushroom compost on one piece of ground and dug this in. This was left to settle for a week, then knocked down ready for planting my
in the month the weather suddenly changed with some strong winds and light rain and this quickly put an end to the last of the beans
autumn onion sets. This is a crop I don’t always plant but decided to this year as they come in handy, as they are ready to harvest when your stored onions
are just coming to an end, plus onions are expensive at that time of year in the shops. This year I planted Autumn Champion. I have also planted a few rows of Shallot Longor and Shallot Hative de Niort, so they get established early and hopefully produce some good size shallots next year.
Each year in November I take a few days off to start my winter digging. I am fairly traditional in my allotment methods,
so I like to dig with a spade, by first taking out a trench and putting the soil from this into a barrow. I then dig each section, working backwards chipping
in any weeds into the bottom followed by compost into each trench as I work across the plot, turning over the soil filling each trench as I go, and finally putting the soil from the barrow into the last trench. Then the plots are edged up
        18 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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