One man & his organic plot - November 2019

As the autumnal tones start to really kick in it always feels like I’m affected by two emotions: a reflection on the growing season that has just finished as I ponder on what worked, what didn't, what I learnt and what gave me the most pleasure. But I also, like all good gardeners, look to the future and already the planning for next spring starts to kick in.
Chris Collins in his winter garden

Work on the allotment continues unabated and I’ve had some catching up to do. A busy period has seen me unable to spend much time there in the last three weeks and as the weather has been so mild and once again (despite decades of gardening) I find myself surprised at how much growth has occurred, even in this late part of the year. Of course most of it is weeds. And a lot of the crops that have given me so much bounty over the summer are ready to go to the great compost bin in the sky, or on my allotment to be more accurate. So I have had a busy few days getting everything back on track and I’m pleased to report that the site is now set for the planting of my winter crops. It was not all elbow grease though, as I still took enough crop off the plot to have my very own harvest festival, with ample numbers of pumpkins, squash and brassicas.

Big projects will dominate my winter schedule. I need to some structural work and have already put a new path in that the right hand side of my allotment. This area has been unattended through 2019 and although it’s been great for the bees, as it’s covered in comfrey which has been a source of liquid feeds. The plants however do spill over very quickly. New allotmenteers are taking over shortly so I hope my re-establishment of the boundary helps them and me. Planting soft fruit is going to be a big theme. I talk about this a lot but have been slow to get on with it. It’s not often I procrastinate, but I’m guilty of it here. I will be looking into heritage varieties, hopefully plants with London connections, and then I’ll get planting. Anyone with some pointers on London soft fruit? I’d be grateful to hear from you.

My raised beds (only slightly raised) could also do with some maintenance so I’ve been what is delightfully named, skip surfing’ which I my case means looking for disregarded timber. Things seemed to have changed in recent years though, as most building projects have a tube system to drop their waste down into skips from height, this means most timber tends to be sawn up into small pieces with the buzz saw before entering the skip. This is good for recycling purposes (timber recycling centres are much more common these days) but alas it is not much cop for the allotment.

Some great news for everyone at Garden Organic, our Podcast is continuing enjoy success. Reaching number two in the Home & garden charts is a great achievement and this good news was made greater when we found out that we are finalists in the Garden Media guild awards. I think I need to nod to Sarah Brown who has worked really hard on this project and I’m so pleased her work is paying off so handsomely.

Well the crazy period that is Christmas is now looming over us and if that's not manic enough we also have a general election to contend with. May god give us all strength? I am boxing clever here though and heading off to Laos for a few weeks to get my winter sun and will then escape the pressures of modern life by gardening as much as I can upon my return. I trust you will be too and if so, happy gardening.