Wednesday 10 February 2021

Winter in the Allotment

There's been quite a bit of snow this winter and it has been frequently cold. Whilst it can be inconvenient at times, and the ground is frozen, I do believe that the allotment and indeed the nature of these isles needs the cold in winter in order to keep the natural world in balance. A warm winter leads to an explosion in the more destructive insect life, too wet a winter leads to crop failure and delayed start to planting in the Spring and unexpected warmth can confuse hibernating animals and insect life leading to them being vulnerable without sufficient food or reserves or when the weather changes back. 

Leeks are winter hardy and these ones will put on a bit of growth when the weather warms up a little bit. We usually grow the variety Musselburgh but these ones were gifted from another allotment owner and so I am not sure what variety they are!

Poking through the snow, these are overwintering onions and garlic. Sometimes called Japanese Onions, we have grown these winter onions for many years and we find that we have onions ready to pick and use at the end of June. Garlic is also winter hardy. 

Despite the cold, the blueberry bushes are looking happy. I have had to dig a trench to put the pots in as the plants themselves are getting too big for the metal cage we have them in, otherwise the local blackbirds and thrushes will eat all the berries. Ultimately, I may have to prune the plants back but we'll see how things go this season. 

At the back of the allotment is the hazel tree. As you can see in the picture it has a lot of catkins on at the moment. I will need to trim the top growth above the catkins soon, I have read that late February is the best time to do this, as it is with the Hawthorn tree in the garden. In the background is one of the frequent snow showers that we have experienced over the past few days! 

Finally for today, down at the bottom of the allotment are several purple sprouting broccoli plants. Hopefully these should come into production in a month or so, although looking closely at some of the the leaves I can see beak marks from the local sparrow population! I suppose they need vegetable matter to go with the fat balls we leave out for them! 

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