You would think that with additional time on our hands last year my allotment and our garden would be immaculate. Unfortunately, tidiness is not my strongpoint but my allotment does start this year in a better state than normal – mainly because the allotments were a great place to get out and about during lockdown and the good autumn weather allowed it to be bedded down for winter. We were not alone, and the Milton allotments are looking better than anytime I can remember. It has been really encouraging to be surrounded by busy plots that look good and which supplied fresh vegetables and flowers and raised spirits to boot. The dry weather allowed us, and the majority of plot holders, to get manure delivered early. I am using it as a surface mulch to protect the soil structure over winter as part of our minimum dig efforts and, hopefully, the worms will work it in and we will simply plant into lovely clean, friable soil this spring. I can hear you saying “dream on” and Linda does occasionally say she thinks I live in another world but, hey, it’s not a bad place to be, particularly now.
As a keen weather and cloud watcher, I know the official winter runs from December to February so spring is almost here! It is still not too late to get your winter pruning done before plants start into growth. Indeed, doing it later allows you to see what has been damaged in winter and complete the job in one go. This year I am going to grow my onions from seed which is much cheaper than sets but you do need to get them going, with a bit of heat, in February or March, to get a good summer crop. I will be interested to see how it goes. It was note-worthy that last autumn’s MUWAGA seed order was almost twice the size of previous years reflecting the increased interest in ‘growing your own’ that Covid has engendered. We will have to wait and see if this level of interest is sustained when the pandemic becomes less of a threat.
We moved our MUWAGA talks on to Zoom; the talks on Kiftsgate Gardens and on Heritage Apples were popular and entertaining. We aim to run the rest of the programme this way until the pandemic eases and we can meet face to face. As you read this, our virtual cheese and wine evening should be behind us and with vaccines on the way, the time when we can meet in person is moving closer. For now, stay safe and keep gardening.