Terry Walton keeps the colour with chrysanths
These bright blooms will maintain their zingy displays until the hard frosts hit
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