- Prepare for early vegetable crops by warming soil before sowing, covering seedbeds with polythene or cloches.
- Keep off wet soils to avoid compaction. Use long boards as walkways, to spread your weight.
- If the soil isn’t too wet, start to dig in overwintered green manures such as grazing rye and winter tares, as the frost should have killed them off.
- Continue to tidy up and re-cut grass path edges where the grass has encroached on your plot.
- Give your compost heap a ‘spring turn’ this month. Turning will aerate and stimulate the heap. If it’s too dry, continue adding wet kitchen waste, and water it occasionally. If too wet, add more carbon-rich stuff such as twigs, crumpled cardboard and paper waste, to open up and aerate the heap. Continue to add layers of uncomposted stable manure to your heap.
- Empty compost heaps when ready and spread the well-rotted dark crumbly compost on beds prior to sowing or use as seed compost.
- Chit potato tubers in a light, cool, frost- free place.
- Clean pots and trays by scrubbing in hot, soapy water before starting to sow new seeds. Pests and diseases can overwinter in old potting compost, surviving to damage newly emerging seedlings.
- Sow sweet peas in deep pots or Root-trainers in a cold frame, greenhouse or windowsill. (A wide range of sweet peas – single varieties such as King’s High Scent and Midnight as well as mixes e.g. Mammoth mixed and Incense are all available in store. Root trainers are available in store as well as free pots in the pot box next to the store.)
- Pot on and pinch out autumn-sown sweet peas to encourage side-shoots to form.
- Sow (Check out the range of varieties available in store such as Ildi, Megabyte F1, Gigantomo, Fandango,and Akron).
- Sow sweet and chilli peppers from mid- February in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. Chillies can be slow to germinate. (Check out the varieties available in store such as Long Red Marconi, Trinidad Perfume.)
- Sow aubergines in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. (Check out the varieties in store such as Black Beauty and Long Purple as well as the patio varieties Jackpot and Pinstripe.)
- Sow celeriac in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. (Variety, Prinz is available in store.)
- Sow broad beans outside. (Check out the varieties in store such as Karmazyn, de Monica, Masterpiece Green Longpod and The Sutton.)
- Sow cabbage. Check sowing advice on packets for different varieties. (Cabbage varieties available in store are Greyhound and Hispi.)
- Sow peas outdoors. (Variety, Early Onward, is available in store.)
- Sow onions and early leeks in the greenhouse or under cover. (Varieties, Blue Solaise, Below Zero F1 and Giant Winter are available in store.)
- Sow early lettuce and keep in cold frame or greenhouse for earlier harvest. (Varieties Oakleaf Navara, Salad Bowl and Little Gem Cos are all available in store.)
- Sow hardy annuals for companion planting such as Calendula and Tagetes indoors for earlier blooms.
- Sow mustard and cress in a small seed tray on a warm windowsill for pickings in just a few weeks.
- Complete pruning of apple and pear trees, gooseberries, redcurrants and prune out a quarter of blackcurrants’ older growth at ground level.
- Prune autumn raspberries, cutting all canes down to the ground.
- If summer-fruiting raspberries have grown above their supports, cut back to one or two buds above the top wire.
- After pruning, apply a general-purpose fertilizer to tree, bush and cane fruit and mulch with well-rotted manure or garden compost. (all available in Store)
- Top-dress all tree and soft fruit with sulphate of potash. (available in Store)
- Spray dormant fruit trees and bushes with plant oil-based winter tree wash (available In Store) to kill overwintering eggs of aphid pests.
- Apply 2” layer of well-rotted garden manure or garden compost around perennial crops such as Jerusalem artichokes or rhubarb. (Country Natural available in Store)
- Start pruning bush roses at the end of the month.
- Fruit bushes can still be planted now.
- Force rhubarb for sweeter, earlier stems by covering crowns with straw and then a container to exclude light.
- To reduce club root on brassicas, apply lime to soil at 270g per sq m, 8oz per sq yd. (lime available in Store)
- Prepare a new asparagus bed by digging in well-rotted manure and order asparagus crowns.
- Apply general fertilizers such as Growmore, (inorganic) or fish, blood and bone or seaweed, organic. (all available in Store)
- Continue to clear all plant debris from plots. Do not add blighted tomatoes to your compost, but burn or take to the dump.
- Tidy up and re-cut grass path edges where the grass has encroached on your plot.
- Empty compost heaps and use the well-rotted dark crumbly material.
- Apply a 5cm layer of well-rotted compost or manure to bare plots or cover bare areas with brown cardboard weighed down with damp grass clippings. (Country Natural rotted stable manure available in store)
- Add layers of the un-composted stable manure from the piles to your compost heaps and spread thinly on bare soil to rot down over winter.
- Prepare a winter compost trench for next season’s moisture loving plants such as sweet peas, runner beans or squashes. Dig a trench a spade deep and fill with kitchen vegetable waste covering each additional layer with soil.
- Continue to sow overwintering broad beans. (Available in store- Aquadulce, The Sutton and De Monica and the organic Super Aquadulce)
- Sow hardy peas (Available in store-Var. Serge) either straight into the ground under fleece or 3 to a 9”pot to be planted out when the roots reach the bottom.
- Sow peas for pea shoots in a box or gutter in the green house or windowsill for salad or risotto at Christmas time. (Available in store- var. Serge)
- Sow boxes of cut-and-come-again salads in the green house or a sheltered spot covered with fleece. (Fleece for sale in store)
- Finish planting onion sets and garlic. (Varieties-Senshyu Yellow and Winter Red onions and Caulk White and Elephant garlic. Carcassone may be planted from November to January. All available in store)
- Order bare root trees now for the best selection.
- Fix grease bands to fruit trees to protect against winter moth. (Grease bands available in store)
- Start winter pruning of apples and pears.
- Keep overwintering brassicas covered with netting to prevent pigeon damage. (Netting available in store)
- Stake tall brassicas against wind damage.
- Sow green manures early in the month such as grazing rye. (Green manures available in store)
- Start to harvest winter cabbage, Brussels sprouts and leeks. Wait until after frosts for parsnips as they will be sweeter.
- Clean the greenhouse to maximise light levels and before the water is turned off in December.
Download November 2017 Bulletin
Preparing for winter:
- November jobs on your allotment
- Getting fruit trees ready for winter
- Help for the compost bin
- Protection for plants
Results from the best plot competition
and…All are welcome to the AGM and prizegiving on November 15th
Report from the Autumn Show
Plot inspections – Paul Ellis-Howe shares tips on:
- Mildew on cucurbits
- Whitefly on brassicas
- Deterring slugs
- Making compost
- Preparing for french beans.
Download april 2014 bulletin
In this issue:
Tips on growing onions and making compost.
Gardener’s Question Time at Putney Library answered queries on:
- Which fruit tree for a north facing wall
- Tomato blight
- Feeding the soil organically to improve plant growth
- Dealing with slugs