Sunday, 1 November 2020

Planning and Reviewing November in Previous Years

 Reviewing the diary over the last eight years for November


2012 - My second month of ownership of an allotment. I found out where Benhill Crescent Horticultural Society was located and actually a plot on their site would have been ideal as I could walk to it and the entrance was more or less opposite my sisters house, but at the time I got my plot the waiting list was 24 people.


Cutting, clearing and stacking material to be burnt on pallets and covering with a tarp to dry them off took place during November. My wife at the time was in good health and came with me and helped me. 


By mid month all the clearing had been done and we had many stacks of drying weeds, to burn  We enjoyed getting the allotment clear and going down late in the evening as it was getting dark and having the fires in the two incinerators. 


The plan layout I did on the 13th November later got modified, and I started looking at standard beds and bed layouts for various types of vegetables.


Saturday 17th November the shed arrived and on Sunday 18th my wife and I erected the shed and felted the roof. I love that photo of her in her pink boots standing proud next to the shed. She is short and makes the 6x4 foot shed look massive!   


2013 - A year on and I have infrastructure in place, a central concrete path made of the paving slabs that I had been using as a drive for my car, six beds between the path and the wall, a patio area at the top around the shed, and two beds installed on the other side of the path and I was working my way down the plot digging clearing weeds and installing beds and paths. 


A racking and storage area was in place, I was harvesting spring onions and attempting my first overwintering of spring onions in a pop bottle Borg cube I had made, was still harvesting tomatoes and peppers in the blow away greenhouse next to the shed.


First Frost was the 13th of November this year. First time I had planted Green Manure and rescued a box of leaves and added to my leaf bins for the first time.       


2014 - In this year the infrastructure of beds and paths were all in and I had a lot more varieties of vegetables growing on the plot. I harvested Peppers of all colours from the greenhouse which I had erected on Bed 6 earlier in the year.


Most of the work this month consisted of clearing and covering beds for winter, I still had Brussel Sprouts in a large hoop enclosure. Open trench compost for the runner beans bed. By now my Dalek army was 6 strong and I was getting into the art of making compost. Limited success with Parsnips this year we had the magnificent five and the rest, well they were parsnips Jim but not as we know it!


In all I had six beds covered in hoops and debris netting as I had been growing a lot of brassicas this year. I left the netting in place as defence against the foxes. This year we also had problems with mice and rats and traps were deployed. So many slugs and pop bottle traps were made and deployed against them as well. Six bags of manure used on the beds.


2015 - Damp foggy and site tour video made Sunday 1st November, Harvesting Beetroots, Carrots, Onions, the last of the French beans, Sowing Japanese Onions grown from seed. Overwintering Cabbage, still weeding beds and covering up for Winter, Harvesting Carrots, Onions and Parsnips. Digging in Green Manure Mustard. Finished clearing Comfrey and placing in Daleks as an accelerator. 


Woodchip paths that are now 3 years old have broken down and are turning into soil and needed replacing and the old went into the Daleks as browns. I also had plot 23B on Spencer Road this year and was building up the Dalek army on that plot. 


I found that splitting your time on two different plot on two different sites was not really viable and maintainable. I put my name down so that if my neighbour gave up his plot I was next in line for it on Mill Green. Snow at the end of the month but didn't settle for very long. Parsnips thinned out a little to allow the remainder to bulk up ready for Christmas. Rain stops weekend play at the end of the month. 

   

2016 - Sixth of November was our first frost. Ten bags of leaves and the two leaf bins on Mill Green were full to the brim, I started to sort out my seed boxes and cataloging what I have and what I needed for next year. Over half of the infrastructure was in on Spencer Road and I had acquired many concrete paving slabs and was in the process of building the patio next to the shed during this month. More vandalism on Spencer Road they melted my blow away and tried to se fire to my Daleks and set light to one chaps polytunnel and basically broke into sheds and nicked what they could or just threw it out onto the plots.


Modifications to the shed and another lock installed to the top of the door as well as the side of the door. break-ins continued and meeting took place between the Committee and the police on Spencer Road Allotment, To be honest the problem with the vandalism and the break-ins is what ultimately made me decide to give up Spencer Road Allotment, after I managed to arrange for a drop off and pick up area to be formed at Mill Green.   


2017 -  Having just taken over Plot 1 on Mill Green in October this year most of my time in November was spent clearing the weeds on it, As it was so dark at night and I could not get down to the allotment it was weekend working only when dry. 


I decided that I would create post and started doing my seed storage box audit and catalogue and producing lists called "In My Seed Box" here on the blog so that I could gain access to my catalogue using my smart phone when I may need the urge to buy seed.


I met with the inventer of Kikka Digga and it's an amazing tool for the allotment holder.   


I took advantage of a Lucky Dip offer on trees and got 6 for £19.99, they went into buckets as I had not cleared Plot 1 yet and Hawthorn Bushes were where they were intended to finally be placed.  


The plan layout for my new kingdom was more given more though and detail in AutoCAD 


2018 -  Not a lot on the allotment front actually happened in November this year, apart from me nearly setting fire to the shed with the mini stove I had.  Keith my brother-in- law who was more like a Brother to me died and was brought back twice, he bounced around the hospital from one intensive care set up to another, finally got a diagnosis that he had Amyloidosis which is an abnormal protein called amyloid that builds up in the tissues and organs. 


When it does, it affects their shape and how they work. There was a hope for a transfer to a hospital that specialises in it's treatment in North London, which involved steroids and chemotherapy, the problem was that due to low blood pressure, Keith had died twice and been resuscitated, and his body just would not survive the treatment, and finally they told him there was no more that they could do for him to actually stabilise his blood pressure, before starting Chemotherapy and that he would not survive the treatment. 


He shaved and cleaned himself up and basically told us what he had been told and that he had asked not to be resuscitated the next time his heart gave out with low blood pressure. I have never met or known a man so strong, and apart from my father, there has never been another man that I have loved. We visited and stayed with him on a rota system as only so many people can be around a bed in an intensive care unit and ironically all the family that mattered managed to see him and say their goodbyes before he passed away on the 19th of November.      

2019 -  Woodchips for the paths dropped off, Daughters Wedding stopped allotment play followed by bad and wet weather meant that sorting out seeds and planning next year took place for a week and a half during the middle of the month.  


Harvesting Potatoes three beds worth, Three oil drums of leaves dropped off from Andy, I cleared and woodchipped behind the shed and the greenhouse area.  


This was the year that I injured my leg and had cellulitis which meant that I could not really do a lot for some months, but in November I was fit enough to work on the plot once more and Emma and Andy (Daughter & my New Son-In-Law) came and helped me catch up and to get some additional infrastructure in place on plot 1 in the form of the first two narrow beds on the boundary with Plot 1A. 


2020 - October is normally the month for very last harvesting, bonfires to clear the blighted foliage and if the weather holds infrastructure works and closing down beds for the Winter months.  

Below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in October and what has slipped. The plan is now to get as much infrastructure on Plot 1 in place as possible, and get both plots and greenhouses ready for next season. October this year is one of the wettest on record and I'm hoping for some dry weather in November so that I can get to the plot.  

Coronavirus UPDATE

Early into March I ended up self isolating because my wife is very high risk and from the looks we were in isolation for a lot longer than the 12 weeks.  My first visit to the plot was on July 21st Fathers Day.

My daughter and son in law kept a lot of the weeds at bay, but the bind weed beat them and now I'm in allotment rescue mode as well as putting in some new infrastructure and removing some so that remedial works can happen to a boundary wall. 

The second wave is coming, and London is in tier 2, and last night Boris Johnson finally announced the second lockdown. This time I will be taking the opportunity of exercising on the allotment to get everything ready for next years growing season.  

To Do List  

Below is the to do list in no particular order of what needs to be done and what has slipped 

Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Clear Bed 2 of Cabbages and cover - TBD
  • Progress on the wall rebuild behind Shed - Removed and replaced with a fence 
  • Remove and dispose of Corex on the roof - TBD next dry day visit
  • Re felt the roof of the shed - TBD next dry day on the plot 
  • Fix the potting Bench - TBD after the bindweed is removed. 
  • Clear the Wasp Nest in greenhouse 1A - To Be Done Hopefully during November as rain stopped play in October
  • Rhubarb Bed to be created - I have now cleared the weeds in the bed and covered in cardboard in current location and will move the Rhubarb when I expose it again on plot 1, I have bought 3 New Rhubarb plants and they will go into new beds on Plot 1
  • Tidy Up the Allotment  - Ongoing 
  • Weeding - Ongoing   
  • Butternut Squash - Foliage to be cut up and put into Dalek.

Mill Green - Plot 1
  • As much infrastructure works as the weather wilallow - Raised Beds, Paths etc.
  • Baking Potato Squash - Harvested and bed cleared  
  • Plant Butternut Squash - Harvested and bed cleared 
  • Clear the weeds and install a 600mm margin around the perimeter of the plot - Ongoing
  • Install the kerb edging along the bottom of Plot 1 - TBD
  • Trench for hose from corner of plot 1 to the tap and water butt - TBD
  • Prep the next Dalek area  - TBD
  • Empty Last years Apple Dalek and relocate to Dalek Army 2  - TBD
  • Cut and paint timber for the Square Foot Gardening raised beds - When dry and able  
  • Cut and paint timber for the Raspberries raised beds - When dry and able  
  • Beds and Paths -  Dig and weed the remaining square foot gardening beds and fruit beds. 
  • Erect the greenhouse - New Timbers have been cut and treated   
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing over the Autumn/ Winter to be completed by March 2021
  • Stockpile Timber ready for burning  - Now covered to keep dry hopefully a fire near to 5th November. 

Home 
  • Planning - Ongoing
  • Catalogue Seeds - Vegetables for 2021 
  • Cut Path Weed Membrane -  Ongoing when dry   
  • Cut Bed Weed Membrane - Ongoing when dry
  • Cut Planting Membrane - Make some narrow bed tomato planting sheets

Reminders
  • None at the moment.- Add when remembered.

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