October tasks

If you’re making compost, you can look at your comfrey and see if it’s ready to become an organic accelerator. A rich compost is vital to for soil health and plant growth and comfrey both accelerate decomposition of green waste into compost and provides beneficial nutrients to the overall mix

Leeks need to be weeded now, and if you’re lazy that means hoeing, while if you’re a committed leek lover, it’s down on the hands and knees. The risk of hoeing, of course, is that you swipe the top off a leek or two as you go. – I suppose it all depends which is more important to you – time or leeks! Weeding is a general process now, as every cleared area is likely to sprout a bunch of miserable weeds.

October’s a funny time of year on the allotments – half the plots have begun to clear, which leaves them looking empty and rather boring, the other half are still stuffed (and sometimes overstuffed) with crops, flowers and various gubbins. Above is an example of the stuffed allotment, and doesn’t it look great!

While you’re out there, why not think about planting something permanent – my suggestion would be a pyracantha for the lovely autumn colours of the berries which will feed the birds through the winter: if you want to be a bird feeder choose the red berried variety, if you want to keep the berries and starve the birds, choose the yellow berried one, as they only eat those in desperation. Another advantage of the pyracantha (aka firethorn) is the wicked thorns, straight and sharp, that deter vandals and harvest despoiling thieves.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Sunday, October 14, 2007


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking of compost, still having big trouble turning my first batch into, well, compost. It just doesn't seem to be breaking down.

I've realised I've put a lot of ice plant into when clearing the vege garden for the first time (it'a kind of succulent, with two in spice full of watery stuff): do you think that could be the problem.

Oh, and it feels like my broadbean (NZ, so Spring here) crop has been flowering for ages, and prolific flowers, but the flowers don't seem to be forming into bean pods. How long does it normally take? (We have had a two week cold snap, which I guess may have arrested growth).

Mark Hubbard

October 15, 2007 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Are other plants pollinating? If so, then it's not a lack of pollinators eg bees and insects. Oddly enough, Broad Beans don't like excessive temperatures, and some people in Australia actually spray them with ice-water if it gets too hot (over 32C) and they may not pollinate below 10C either. If the flowers are dropping off without setting pods it's either too hot in the day (spray with ice water in the evening) or too cold at night (cover with fleece) or the lack of pollinating insects (plant more flowers nearby).

Hmmm, compost - your cold spell could certainly have stopped that working. How much sun is the compost bin getting? If it's in shade, and the temperatures are cold, nothing will happen for about six months! If it's compact, brown, slimy and foul smelling, it's ceased to be aerobic and you need to add some straw, twiggy branches and torn and crumpled paper, mixing it all well in, to give air gaps, and turning the whole lot over well to try and get the bacteria moving again.

Good luck - let us know how it goes ...

October 18, 2007 at 1:43 AM  

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