What to do on the allotment in December/January
Try covering parsley with a cloche or plastic bottle to protect it from severe frosts
During the dormant winter months you can prune currants and gooseberries. It is best to avoid doing this when the weather is frosty. And do use sharp secateurs or a pruning saw as appropriate.
We can offer advice on how to prune soft fruit, and on how to take cuttings from the prunings. Autumn fruiting raspberries should be cut down to the base in January.
Visit the members’ area of our website www.grow-our-own.co.uk to learn more about crop rotation, and the part it plays in reducing the build up of pests and diseases. Lots of thanks to Jim for developing and maintaining such a great site. And if you want to track what you grew where and when, one of our members, Pete, has produced a spreadsheet to help. Please let us know if you would like a copy sent to you.
Roundup is a herbicide that is commonly used to destroy broad leaved weeds. You may see it being applied by other allotment holders who are not part of the GO2 group, some of whom may not realise why it is banned from use within organic growing schemes.
Its active ingredient is glyphosate, which has been linked to pesticide related illnesses in agricultural workers. Glyphosate is acutely toxic to birds, and can kill beneficial insects and soil organisms. There is also evidence of glyphosate residues being found in crops such as strawberries, i.e. it may persist in the environment longer than is claimed by the manufacturer.
Of Mice and Men
Not many people wanted to share their (fruit and vegetable) failures publicly! So I will have to admit that almost all of my broad bean seeds have been eaten by mice. Which is particularly annoying because I can see broad beans flourishing on other parts of the allotment. So I will have to sow again in February (possibly in pots initially). This is the first time that I have lost beans in this way.
The lesson that I take from this is that no two years are the same, and that I can never be sure of success, or of failure. And that is part of what makes growing fruit and vegetables so fascinating.