Winter at Dorset Road Allotments

As winter sets in with its short days and cool temperatures, it is tempting to stay indoors and wait for the spring to arrive.   This year, more than ever, winter is a good time to visit the allotment.

On cold, crisp winter days the allotment is a beautiful place.  Being outside can increase our Vitamin D levels and improve our mood.   Even on grey days, wheeling barrows of bark chippings, manure and compost around is good exercise as well as being good for your plot.   Winter is also a good time to clean, repair and plan, ready for next year.

image of crab apple tree on a misty morning
Crab apple tree Malus baccata
Winter harvest

If you have planned your allotment well winter can continue to be a productive time. Cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale and leeks are just some examples along with winter salads, herbs and Christmas potatoes grown under cover.

You can also plant crops ready for an early harvest such as broad beans, onions and garlic.

Plan ahead

Winter is also a good time to prepare for the year ahead.   Some of the things you can do are:

  • clear the plot of weeds and crops that have finished
  • make a compost area
  • put in rain water butts
  • rebuild and repair raised beds, sheds and greenhouses
  • add as much organic matter as you can
  • convert to ‘no dig’
  • clean and sharpen your tools.
This image shows cardboard being laid down to suppress weeds in a no dig bed.
No dig bed being prepared

 

No dig bed covered with manure
Wildlife

And don’t forget about wildlife.   Be mindful of hibernating hedgehogs, slow worms and beneficial insects such as bees and ladybird.

Why not give the birds a hand by putting out food or building bird boxes.  Or even plan a patch of bee and butterfly friendly flowers.

Even if you don’t spend lots of time working on your plot, a walk around the site might prove inspiring and rewarding as you see how other plotholders use their plots.  You might even spot some of our local wildife.  Our widlife board records recent sightings of

  • an egret
  • a kingfisher
  • foxes
  • moorhens
  • mallards
  • herons

as well as various garden birds, hardy insects and interesting fungi.

Hope to see you on site.

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