Thursday 15 November 2018

November 2018 at the allotment

It comes to this time at the year and usually there is isn't much to report on what is happening at the allotment. In the last couple of days there has been some developments. On Saturday afternoon our 'morning' post finally turned up and it included a letter from the council. Apparently they have done a check on the plots and found ours has 'excessive weeds'. To say this cheesed us off is an understatement. Firstly, let me give you a bit of a background to what has happening in the last couple of months.
Back in September I went one morning to dig up some potatoes for us to eat that week. The yield and size of the potatoes this year has been very small. I only dug up half the crop and took them home with me. The next week I returned to dig up the remaining crop. I rather confused at first as I couldn't see the remaining plants and then I saw some small potatoes on top of the soil. Upon further inspection I found a couple of discarded potato plants. I then realised that the remaining crop had been dug up by someone else. The plot hadn't been vandalised but targeted by someone who had spotted we had potatoes and decided they would have them for themselves.
I did mention the potato theft to as many other plot holders as possible. We also contacted the allotment office at the council so they were aware of it. With it happening at the end of our growing season we didn't fill the need to return again until the letter arrived. We went straight up to the plot to see why we had failed inspection. The first thing we did was push the shed back up after it had been blown over by the wind. It now looks like something out of the Wizard of Oz.
We arrived expecting to find weeds taller than us only to find ground weeds. It is after all November. We did try some late potatoes a couple of years ago. They should have been ready for Christmas but they got blight so we had to dig them all up and burn the plants. Our leeks haven't fared well due to the summer heat. The only thing that is growing at the moment is some Brussels sprouts. Even these are about half the size of what they usually are. Hopefully we will still have some for our Christmas dinner.
One of the reasons the council doesn't like 'excessive weeds' is that they say it is unfair to other plot holders as the weeds spread to other plots. The plot next to us has never been properly cultivated in the three years we have had our plot. Last year we spent the summer digging up poppy plants which had spread from that plot. The letter stated there is also high demand for allotment plots so if we aren't wanting to cultivate it then other people are waiting for it. The thing is I have counted at least four plots which haven't been taken all year and there is a notice on the front wall advertising allotment plots. Going back to the weeds spreading we did dig up this huge flat leaf parsley plant. Not a weed in the traditional sense but we haven't never grown this type of parsley. If you have plots next to each with good soil you can't help weeds or other plants spreading.
So we turned over the ground and removed the weeds from the three main rows plus the onion bed. It didn't take us that long because there wasn't actually that many weeds and the ground is very soft at the moment. One thing I did find was two of the beetroot plants that I had sown months ago. I thought nothing had germinated but it seems two have finally grown. I didn't dig them up there and then because I thought I would wait until the weekend. I have a piece of pork fillet in the freezer and the beetroot will make a great addition to a traybake.
Again I will stress that it is November and parts of the plot look untidy but for a good reason. The huge rhubarb stalks and leaves have died down. We don't remove them as all the goodness in them goes back into the crown and gives it energy for next year. We'll be back again for another tidy up and hopefully we will pass inspection!


  1. I always wondered if theft of produce was a problem. It sounds like the council is targeting you or turning a blind eye to the others for some reason.

    1. It's the first time we've had produce taken. Some time ago there was a break in at the plots but we had nothing taken even though they did have a rummage. It seems they were after small tools such as screwdrivers which we don't keep up there. There's not much the council can do about thefts unfortunately.


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