Allotments in ice

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the snow freezes!

This is really unusual in the south of England, almost unheard of, in fact, and it’s left many allotment-holders with nothing to do (and nothing to harvest) but on plot #103 there’s been no shortage of tasks, although very few of them are growing related.

We didn’t have any choice about when we took down the old (asbestos) roof, because it had to be done before the contractors came in to take the asbestos away. We didn’t have a chance to put up a new corrugated plastic roof because we hadn’t had time to buy one, so we laid a substantial blue tarpaulin over the top and weighted it down. Then it snowed. Then it froze. Then it snowed some more.

So when we could actually get back to #103, on Boxing Day, we were worried about what we would find – but in all our worries we never expected to have created the perfect conditions for a roof glacier! So our first task was to deal with the iceberg that will become a puddle. For now I’ve put a water tank underneath and we’re hoping the weather will be kind enough to let us install our plastic roof over new year.

Second task was a humungous bonfire which got rid of all the remaining trees/brambles/old pallets/random bits of wooden junk that we could spare from #103. There’s still plenty of random wooden junk, but as it’s currently acting as paths or weed suppressant, it may not get burnt until just before the open fire curfew which comes into effect at the end of March.

Third task was to wander up to #201 while the fire was gently charcoaling itself to death, and harvest some crops: not a bad haul for the season and the Brussels sprout tops were very tasty in a post-Xmas hash with the roasted vegetables left over from Xmas lunch. We couldn’t dig parsnips as the ground was still frozen, but OH did manage to get to the plot yesterday and dig up two huge (and straight) roots, but as the snow and ice have been replaced by rain, I haven’t taken any photos of them yet, just shoved the muddy monsters in the shed until I can get to them, probably tomorrow – then, spicy parsnip soup!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Anonymous allotments4you said...

That is a great photo of the shed roof.....A fire sounds like s good thing to get going to cheer things a little in these dreary days....but now the winter solstice has passed the days will slowly get longer and it won't be long before we have that much to do that we will be wishing for winter again.

December 29, 2010 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Very nice allotment. Are the Elder trees the dark berry variety for eating? I'm learning about medicinal herbs and the dark berries are made into a syrup to be used for colds and flu.

Here in Western Pennsylvania we never know what our seasons will do. Some years we have several feet of snow and some winters are peppered with 70 degree F days! Some years we have an extremely short spring and jump into the heat of summer; some years bring nice chilly spring times that allow cool season crops to produce well. Some years we have mild autumn-like weather well into December. We just never know.

I've learned to use covers over my raised beds which are just pvc ribs with clear plastic over top. You can raise the temperature inside a bit more by covering everything with straw and/or the fabric row cover (or sheer curtains).

I sometimes use the above materials in early spring to get a jump on planting out.

January 16, 2011 at 7:07 AM  

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