On the Plot in September, October & November
On the Kings Plot in September, October & November - by Andrew Tokely, Seed Purchasing manager for Kings Seeds
September started off very busy, as this is when I enter some of the produce from the plot into the Local Capel St Mary Allotment show. The show is always well supported by plot holders and surrounding villages with over 600 entries. This was a good year for me as I Won 10-firsts, 10-seconds and 7 thirds. Amongst the winners was the longest Runner bean (22 inches), Best in the vegetable section with Shirley Tomatoes, Best in the Flower section with a Begonia, Best vegetable collection that contained Globo Onions, Parsnip Gladiator, Carrot Sweet Candle, Tomato Shirley all available from Kings Seeds. This collection also won the best exhibit in Show. The Plot also came 2nd in the best kept allotment competition, judged throughout the year. I have always loved entering shows and if you too have that interest, look out for the wide range of Exhibition seeds in your Kings Seed catalogue.
After the show, tidying up the plot was the main job through September, followed by bringing in the last of the Main crop Potatoes, and harvesting crops of runner beans, courgettes and various salad crops still available.
I must admit I have had some superb lettuces this year. I always grow Lettuce Little Gem, but this year to add a little colour to salads I tried New 2016 Lettuce Intred; a red little gem that shows its colour all the way through the heart with that same tasty little gem flavour. Another I’ve grown is a New 2016 butterhead type Analena; this has a wonder flavour, solid heart and stands for a long time, it also wins prizes on the show bench. All are available in your Kings Seed catalogue.
October was such a mild month; I found it surprising how many crops normally over that were still being harvested this month. Runner and French beans were still flourishing as were courgettes. This year I sowed my Courgettes in May as usual, but I also made a later sowing the beginning of July, these later plants were still producing a good crop up until the end of the month.
Many plot holders have given up on growing outdoor Tomatoes due to them being ruined by Blight. Well this year I trialled several varieties on the plot including the variety Mountain Magic. I picked the last fruits from the plants at the end of October and they were still blight free. The flavour and crop was superb, this is new for 2016 and features in your Kings Seed catalogue, and I recommend you give it a try.
Although the days have become shorter, time must still be spent checking crops for any pest damage; I noticed a bad attack of whitefly on the leaves of my Brussels sprout plants. A quick spray now with a suitable insecticide like Py Spray which is Pyrethrum based, or a good organic soft soap will soon have this pest under control before it ruins the tight buttons. I have been growing the new 2016 variety Brussels Sprout Brodie F1, they are over a meter tall, and look very impressive. I tasted a few in October and the flavour is very sweet, so I am looking forward to enjoying these with my festive dinner.
November again was mild but quite wet, so much of the time has been spent clearing old crops and preparing the ground for winter digging. Compost bins have been emptied and a load of mushroom compost delivered and spread. I like to start digging in December and try to have the majority finished by the New Year.
The last sowings of the year have been made of Broad bean Aquadulce Claudia and Pea Meteor. Autumn Onion sets have come through well and the shallots will be planted on the shortest day (22nd December).
Don’t forget if any Kings Seed Customer has a seed problem and needs some advice, the team at Kings Seeds are always at the end of a phone to help.
Happy Gardening !