So its been a little while since I've updated on the allotment journey. We had big plans to get lots done over the summer holidays but the weeks seemed to fly by and we made it to the site less often than planned. The kids are now back at school and the shift into autumn is noticeable. There's a real chill in the air and growth is slowing down both of produce and thankfully weeds! I am very aware that once the weather changes further we are much less likely to want to spend time on the site so it feels like a really good time to have a big clear up and get prepared for the winter months ahead.
We enjoyed the last of the sweetcorn last week, picked the last few cucumbers and harvested all the winter squash and pumpkins.
After that we spent a day clearing all the beds and the poly tunnel, removing all the old dead plants and having a general tidy. It's incredible just how much there is to shift and how long it takes. Having lots of pairs of hands makes the whole job seem more manageable. The compost heap is definitely full to bursting!
Even though a lot of the work can be dirty and physically hard I never cease to be amazed by the beauty nature gives us and the wonder of the cycle of growth. We set aside some runner beans to dry for next years seeds and our daughters spent a long time marvelling in the beauty of their 'magic beans'. Beautiful.
We dug over a few of the cleared beds to plant some purple sprouting broccoli, kale and cabbages for overwintering. We also popped some rocket in the poly tunnel in the hope it will stay warm enough to get a crop.
The other half of the plot that we acquired in July has been largely untouched since our first major clearing weekend. The grass and weeds had grown again like crazy so we invested in a petrol strimmer and I set to work with my lovely Dad. After a few false starts getting the machine to work we had a super productive morning and its looking great now. All the nettles and brambles are gone and we can get a real sense of the space we will have available for growing next season. For now we have covered a couple of the large beds with weed suppressing plastic and plan to rotavate in early spring.
Looking back over the last year and the progress we've made I feel very proud. Considering it has been our first growing season we have managed to have a lot of success with produce, learnt a lot of lessons and had heaps of fun along the way. I find it hard to remember a time that we didn't have the allotment and the kids have embraced the whole project with great enthusiasm and hard work. Now it is time to maintain the winter crops and start the planning for next year.
Happy gardening x