All the leaves are brown

by Jane Moore

Hooray - it's officially turning wintry! We've had a couple of good sharp frosts - the kind that knock all those leaves that have been hanging onto the trees rather annoyingly off in one fell swoop.

allotmentHooray - it's officially turning wintry! We've had a couple of good sharp frosts - the kind that make your scalp shrink with the cold, and knock all those leaves that have been hanging onto the trees rather annoyingly off in one fell swoop.

That was swiftly followed by a sudden warm spell bringing in steady rain. And when I say steady I mean it! The balmy Mendip Hills are, like Ireland, soft and green and lush - perfect for fattening the dairy cows whose milk makes the original Cheddar cheese produced in abundance hereabouts. And all that grass is down to the sheer amount of warm wet days we get around here. So the other day it rained for at least a day and a night and probably the best part of the next day and night too. It was - I'm happy to report now that it's stopped and I've dried out - horribly dismal. And what's more it stopped me heading up to the plot for a good clear up session after the frosts.

You see I love a good tidy up! The frost will have turned everything that was still attempting to grow into mush. All those beans, squashes and lettuces that still thought they had some go left in them will have turned up their toes. Hah, their next stop is the compost bin! But the rain was relentless so a quick inspection after work is all I've had time for. Shame, as I was primed for a mega, OCD-fuelled 'how clean is your plot' session. But I know it's just a matter of waiting - the tidy up is postponed but not forgotten!

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Gardeners' World Web User 27/11/2007 at 21:09

My garden looked tired, so I brought out a Chusan Palm that was hiding under a Lilac and planted it in a very large pot and mounted it on a 'Riven' paving slab against the fence in a sunny spot. Then I added diametrically opposite a Cistus ladanifer, in another border; opposite that I planted a Paeonia Delavayi var.angustiloba. Across the drive I planted a new Phyllostachys vivax 'Aureocaulis', with a stand of Rosemary (rescued from somewhere else in the garden), beneath it, as a foil for it. With a couple of Goji-Berry bushes, planted, and waiting for when Spring shows its gentle greens everything will wake up and help along my 'new-face' Garden!

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2007 at 16:49

yea u say that your allottment is clean try mine it has been a while since ive got on it will hope to soon if the weather gets better

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2008 at 14:30

I wonder if someone can advise. I have recently taken on an overgrown allotment and am not sure of the best way to get rid of the weeds. Can roundup be used in a garden where veg is grown? If so how long to wait until you can plant? Is the black plastic, or carpet better to use? I hate pesticides but want to proper start to get it in good condition.

Gardeners' World Web User 02/01/2008 at 14:25

Hi Valerie, I wouldn't use Roundup if I were you. You can't be sure that it won't kill bacteria in the soil, worms and beneficial insects as well as the weeds. Your soil needs all of these things to be in tip top condition. Carpet and plastic sheeting can be beneficial, but don't leave them for too long as they can be a pain to remove, and carpet can leach chemicals into the soil. I would advise some good old fashioned digging. Work on a small area at a time, removing all weeds and weed roots. Then plant potatoes in your first year to suppress further weed growth and break up the soil.

Gardeners' World Web User 31/01/2008 at 18:08

I totally agree with the comment the chap made about untidy allotments in Februarys edition. Where mine is some of them are a disgrace as he said give them a month if they don't tidy them up then evict them. there are 1000 people on a waiting list to get one whoever is in charge is not doing there job correctly so if they cant tidy them up throw them out and give someone else a chance

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