December has to be my favourite month of the year. I’m one of those people who puts up the tree straight away using that as evidence that Christmas has arrived – something which just has to be celebrated by opening a fresh bottle of sloe gin.
Normally winter also means cold and ice, something Mother Nature appears to have forgotten so far this year (instead bringing wind and floods). These milder temperatures mean I have been spending more time outdoors than usual – something which fits just nicely with my fresh new allotment, just crying out to be planted.
A few weeks ago we made a start by planting onions, garlic and shallots, closely followed by some over-wintering carrots (fingers crossed on that one), Hamburg parsley, broad beans and spinach. In a bid to make early progress next year we started browsing the internet for winter planting suggestions and surprisingly learned that it is a perfect time to plant bare root soft fruit bushes.
A week or so after making our selections we received a delivery of rhubarb, strawberries and primocane (autumn fruiting) raspberries. This weekend has seen
us me (Gosia and Mia gave up and waited in the car) planting these, eager with anticipation for what next year might bring. Others on the allotment were not so cheery, and instead could be seen repairing their sheds, which have presumably blown apart during the recent storms. Just a couple of fields away the River Humber had over-topped its banks flooding a local tileyard and hotel, now leaving the roadside ditch standing threateningly full to the brim of water.
We’ve decided to do a 4 bed system on our allotment, which means that 3 beds rotate and the fourth is dedicated to fruit – plants that with a bit of luck stay in place for many years. This weekends plantings mean that this bed is now almost full of several varieties of strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb, leaving us little space left for our rather ambitious plans which involved currant bushes and the like.
Working outdoors in the (comparatively) cold weather makes you appreciate coming in to the warm even more. As I type this Gosia & Mia are budy in the kitchen making gingerbread biscuits for the Christmas tree, and the house is filled with the traditional fragrances of spices and pine.
Now, where did I put that sloe gin?