The Allotment in October

Courgettes Radish

The late summer harvest is finally here and our newest Gardening Club members have joined us just at the right time – with the best of the allotment produce ripening in the past month.

We have had the most fabulous courgettes all summer long, with the best taste, most flavoursome and biggest yields coming from our “Zucchini Fiorentina” an Italian seed which is still producing now despite the nights cooling off.

The tomatoes in our long greenhouse have been wonderful and all the varieties have produced equally well, with the bright orange “Sungold” being the sweetest, the “Costeluto Fiorentina” being the most beautiful, ribbed big fruits and the classic “Gardeners Delight” cherry tomato with its old fashioned tomato taste bringing back memories of summer.

Our long awaited sweetcorn is ready, with one tender sweet and early, and one popcorn variety which is later. The chillies are hot and red and the lettuce, chard and radishes just keep on coming!

Various carrots, coloured brightly in oranges, yellow and purple are flavourful and tasty and digging potatoes, our most successful being “Salad Blue” and “Pink Fir Apple”.

The autumn raspberries are at their very best with both “Jewel Red” and “Golden” yielding very well and constantly until the first frost.

October Jobs

October is always the most satisfying time in the garden, with all of the hard work through the year paying off with delicious harvests every couple of days. With autumn in the air, it is time to take stock of the past year’s harvest, make notes on what has been great and what has been less successful and start to plan for the spring time harvest.

The gardening club have been busy clearing some space for our winter harvest, including sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers, spring green cabbages and curly kale.

Little plants are tucked in to the soil and we have laid a covering of fleece to protect the leaves and stems from those pesky pigeons. We are ready to nurture them through the winter months until they produce our long awaited harvest as we turn the corner into spring.

Other jobs over the coming weeks include piling well-rotted manure and organic matter on to all of the used beds and greenhouse areas (at least 4 inches deep) to improve the soil and encourage the worm population to keep on wriggling through. Cover empty beds with cardboard and weed fabric to keep the soil free from weeds and warm it up ready for the new season – and of course keep on harvesting!

We are cutting back some of our perennial flowers to keep them in check, but always leave dried seed heads on for the wildlife over winter. We have our trusty violas, which grow wild and free all over the allotment and will keep flowering all winter, keeping our spirits up with their cheerful faces, which are edible and very tasty.

Happy autumn gardening!

Ally Molyneaux – Head Teacher

To Do List:

  • Plan for spring – Make note of this year’s good & bad crops
  • Get ready for winter harvestSprouting Broccoli, Cauliflowers, Spring Green Cabbages & Curly kale
  • Take care of empty beds – Spread manure & cover empty beds with cardboard to improve the soil & keep it weed free for the new season
  • Maintain perennials – Cut back – leaving seed heads on