Allotment Tasks for November

We’re going to be harvesting leeks – ours have done well, although next year I might try collaring and blanching them to get even more lovely white tender length.

The great thing about leeks is that they put up with an awful lot: they grow in a wide range of soil conditions, really only objecting to being waterlogged and they are pretty hardy so you can leave them in the ground in winter until you need to harvest them.

We’re leaving the leeks in the raised bed to be harvested between full winter and late spring, as even if the ground freezes, they have a good degree of frost protection from the bed and from the bark mulch that forms a path around the beds, but we’ll be lifting the ones that were planted in the open and then brushing them off, and storing them in a box of sand in the shed, where they will stay nice and fresh for around a month

And we’re lifting a rhubarb to force at home because we love the sweet stems that don’t need peeling. Although you can simply cover a plant as soon as it starts to grow (round about February) we’ve found that if we lift one and overwinter it in the house, we can actually get champagne rhubarb (the thinner, pale pink stems that are strawberry sweet) at the same time as people are only just starting to cover outdoor rhubarb to force them! We pot a crown into a small dustbin and keep it in the porch with another bin over the top to exclude all light. We need to water it a couple of times a month, but because our porch faces south, the crown gets plenty of heat and by the end of February we can be harvesting rhubarb. Then we replant the crown and don’t harvest it at all the next year to allow it to rebuild its strength as forcing exhausts the plants resources.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

You've really peeled rhubarb?

November 3, 2009 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

So you've peeled rhubarb?

November 3, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Nutty Gnome said...

I've had a cracking crop of leeks this year, but the carrots were a disaster! I only got one single carrot from 5 rows :(

Thanks for the tip on sprouts - I suspect I've not been feeding them enough. I'll try again next year.

November 4, 2009 at 9:51 AM  
OpenID said...

I have planted some rhubarb seeds and I am hoping for some next year so I may try this...thanks for the tip!!

November 4, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Cottage Smallholder said...

Wow your leeks look great. Mine are still very slim.

Bad luck about your sprouts.

November 7, 2009 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Mal, yes indeed! I loathe stringy rhubarb.

Gnome, we live and learn, don't we? Our carrots were rubbish this year too, so perhaps a good leek year is a bad carrot year.

Tanya - do try it, although it will probably take three years to get a good crop from rhubarb grown from seed.

Fiona, we love sprouts so we're a bit sad, but the good news is that the red sprouts didn't blow at all - don't know why but definitely something to remember!

November 10, 2009 at 7:23 AM  

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