Are you planting up your autumn allotment?

LittleGardenBeauty
Published on November 27th 2018
3
Typing this on a grey drizzly day I can fully understand if your answer is no! The temptation to stay snuggled up with a cuppa and my 3 stone dog who thinks he still fits on my lap is extremely hard to resist but resist I must, there's still so much to do.
As you clear the last of summer crops it's the perfect time to get a head start on next year by planting some of the hardier varieties of fruit and vegetables (depending on your geography) so I've put together a list of possibles to hopefully give you some ideas.

Direct Sow

November is the last chance really to direct sow in your allotment. Pick varieties which are more compact so less likely to suffer the effects of winter weather
  • Broad Bean 'The Sutton' can be easily grown in containers and 'Imperial Green Longpod' as the name suggests produces a good crop of large pods.
  • Pea 'Meteor' has a proven record of reliability and can be sown in spring as well. Another variety to try is 'Twinkle', pick the young shoots throughout the year adding them to fresh salads. Just keep an eye out for mice, they do love a pea seed.
You can also continue to sow some lettuce, in particular,'Lamb's Trophy' with its abundant small leaves it can be harvested throughout the winter.
If you can provide cover with cloches you could try Pak choi 'Green' as this is a good choice for cooler conditions.

Plant

It's possible to buy plug plants from good nurseries but you may have to hunt out retailers who haven't already gone Christmas mad.
In addition to the varieties mentioned above look for:
And Broccoli 'Fiesta' which should be ready to crop in June next year. In warmer parts of the country, it might be possible to grow 'Aquiles' which can be ready to harvest in April.

Bulbs

There's still time to get Garlic bulbs into the ground, 'Elephant', 'Early Purple Wight' & Germidour' are all good reliable varieties which can be planted now. I wrote an article about the where and how a little while ago so instead of boring those who've already read it (thank you), please follow this link.
Onion sets such as 'Radar' and 'Shakespear' can be planted now for crops in June and July respectively next year. I much prefer autumn sown onion's as they can be harvested early freeing up precious bed space ready for the ever-increasing squash/pumpkin foliage.

Berries

Planting fruit canes, bushes & runners in autumn, gives the plants a fantastic chance to grow those precious feeder roots needed to access all the nutrients in the soil before winter. The plants will then be posed ready to spring into action the moment it warms up, hopefully producing large plush juicy berries which we'll get to pick before the birds. Some varieties to try are:
  • Raspberry 'Glen Moy and 'Tulameen' are both summer fruiting varieties and could be grown in containers.
  • Gooseberry 'Whinham's Industry' and 'Invicta' will be cropping by late May. 'Whinham's Industry' being a popular & reliable choice.
  • Strawberry 'Hapil' is a variety I will be looking for as it is ideal for drier soils which my plot is even with yearly additions of organic matter.

Fruit Trees

It's not just apple trees that can be planted at this time of year, it's a good time to plant any and all trees but before planting it might be worth checking your allotment agreement. My plot is limited to 2 trees which have to be approved. So take your time and research varieties which will not get too big and produce fruit you really like. For apple suggestions, it's worth reading our recent Discover Story
But if apples aren't your thing then maybe:-
  • Peach 'Peregrine' a heavy cropper with the added benefit of being mildew resistant
  • Plum 'Victoria' a traditional favourite due to its reliability in producing large crops.

And finally, Rhubarb

A fantastic reliable fruit that is really easy to grow. Now is the time to plant crowns but I wouldn't rush out to buy them; talk to your surrounding plot holders. Locally grown crowns will be suitable for your soil conditions and someone will be digging up and dividing their overgrown plants which you could offer to rehome. Or maybe save the space and plant a different crop. Come spring every plot holder will be desperately trying to give away stems, I know I always am!
I hope this has given you some ideas of what to plant now, I possibly foolishly took on a second plot this year so will be spending most to the autumn and winter trying to reclaim it back from the hay meadow it has become.

Planting for me will be in Spring but please share your successes with the hashtag #allotment and give me the inspiration to get off the sofa and get ready for next year!

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