Terry Wal­ton keeps the colour with chrysanths

Th­ese bright blooms will main­tain their zingy dis­plays un­til the hard frosts hit

Garden News (UK) - - News - TERRY WAL­TON

The var­ied Oc­to­ber weather has brought a flurry of ac­tiv­ity to the al­lot­ment and in the dap­pled sun­light there’s been a con­stant glint of sun­shine on ‘flash­ing’ spades. Th­ese are quickly trans­form­ing the once-green oa­sis to large lumps of brown earth, left for the win­ter weather to carry out its task of break­ing it down into the per­fect tilth.

A ll the colour is not lost, how­ever, as us plot hold­ers grow win­ter veg­eta­bles, and the turned ground is in­ter­spersed with rows of parsnip, swede, leek and cab­bage. In ad­di­tion, the grow­ers of win­ter green ma­nures have their plot bro­ken up by large ex­panses of rich green growth. Th­ese mild days have trans­formed the rye grass and vetch mix into a green, misty cov­er­ing and it’ll not be long be­fore it be­comes an African sa­van­nah, and a herd of wilde­beest will ap­pear!

This sward of green ma­nure will pro­tect my plot from au­tumn and win­ter rav­ages and will cling on to the soil’s nu­tri­ents. Not only that, the vetches are ac­tively adding ni­tro­gen to my soil daily, in­creas­ing its fer­til­ity to re­lease into my hun­gry new crops next spring.

I can re­lax in the knowl­edge that all my hard work of in­creas­ing the nu­tri­ents in my soil won’t be washed away by the win­ter del­uges that fall on my high hill­side!

On my plot there’s still an oa­sis of colour brought about by rows of chrysan­the­mums. The bright colours of red, orange, yel­low and white ‘glow’ like flu­o­res­cent bea­cons in some of the dull, dank days of Oc­to­ber. Th­ese are the per­fect cut blooms and bring a lit­tle piece of the al­lot­ment into my home when bunches are spread around the house. They’ll con­tinue to flower un­til the hard­est frosts hit them, then they can be lifted and pot­ted up to go into the green­house to pro­duce next year’s plants. In the mean­time, colour­ful bunches of flow­ers will bring the smell and colour of au­tumn into my home and leave me with a very happy wife!

At the bot­tom of the plot the vast amount of fo­liage from the ram­bling pump­kin is

dy­ing back. Among all the leaves are three orange balls – my pump­kins are al­most fully ripe! Th­ese will stay on the plant for an­other two weeks for the skins to harden be­fore I sever them from the plant. No gi­ant pump­kin this year to give away to a lo­cal char­ity, but in­stead one each for my grand­chil­dren to carve into tra­di­tional Hal­lowe’en lamps. Who knows, I may be lured back into grow­ing a ‘mon­ster’ pump­kin again af­ter a stress­free year of not hav­ing to look af­ter one!

Pick of the bunch! My wife will be happy with this lot...

The rich growth of green ma­nures

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