This is the month where I start to cover the beds that are empty and wonder how much more compost I need to make next year.
I have a mix of 2yr old manure and compost that I have made myself over this year and I am trying to remember what I put on each bed last year so that I can alternate: compost one year, manure the next. I don’t think this is necessary but I think each has its own type of goodness and the plants might benefit from a range rather than one thing.
The parsnips are ready so we have started to eat them. They are enormous – perhaps a little too big – so I think I need to sow them a bit later next year. I think May should be early/late enough. Perhaps I should sow some in April, some in May and some in June. I definitely need better notes than I kept last year about when I sowed things.
I sowed some broad beans in the greenhouse on the 10th of November and planted them out on the 4th of December. They are tiny in comparison with many other plots but should catch up. I also planted about 12 in the polytunnel which is not enough so need to sow more.
Today, I harvested parsnips, kale, leeks, sprouts, radicchio (not sure if I have spelt that right!) and parsley. I have a few peppers left on a plant in the polytunnel which I will need to pick soon or they will rot.
One of the things I will be doing this month is searching for other vegetable/gardening blogs to read and learn from. So far I have found
Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments
Sharpen Your Spades
What are your favourite vegetable growing blogs?
As I come towards the end of my no-dig year I realise that I am a convert. So many of the vegetables and fruit did better than I have grown for some time.
What I have learnt about compost/manure
- Only use well-rotted manure. Mine was too fresh and sat in lumps that slugs and snails could hide in.
- Seaweed works well and plants love it but it works even better with some compost on top.
- It is a struggle to make enough. I have two allotments and probably only make enough for one plot.
- Leaf mold is good on the sandy soil. It works even better with a topping of compost.
- The squash have been fantastic. Only one of my Crown Prince squash plants survived but it provided five squash. Usually I have one plant, one squash although I did see that Charles Dowding managed six off his plants so still a little way to go.
- Sarpo Mira potatoes were fantastic and I will definitely grow some of these next year. Thank you to John for sharing his surplus plants. I only had four seed potatoes but the crop will probably last us all winter.
- The leeks are enormous!
- The kale is big and healthy and I actually managed some red cabbages this year.
- Flat leaf parsley is hard to keep up with and my lemon grass is doing really well in the polytunnel.
Things that didn’t work so well
These things are not because I used no-dig rather than the weather or my lack of knowledge.
- My onion sets had rot but my seed-sown onions didn’t. Next year I will grow all my onions and shallots from seed. I planted the onion sets in lumpy manure and the slugs and snails dined on them.
- The Celariac are much, much bigger than previous years but the wood lice have taken up residence in them. The compost was well-rotted so I will just have to try again.
- My garlic was thrown by the cold spell in spring and thought it was winter again. This year I have planted half outside and half in the polytunnel. We shall see what the difference is.
- I need to keep the grass a bit lower and remove the grass hanging over the edge of beds. Slugs and snails hide there!
What has worked well for you this year?