No time to rest. There is just enough daylight to clear and tidy up the allotment of any old crops in preparation for next year. Don’t leave the remains of summer crops to rot and harbour overwintering pests and diseases. Wait for a clear, crisp, sunny day and go for it. You’ll feel shattered but a lot better at the end of the exercise.
Start to harvest winter cabbage, Brussels sprouts, leeks and parsnips, wait until after a frost for the parsnips because the chilling effect turns the starches into sugars and this gives them their natural sweetness. Pick the Brussels sprouts working from the bottom of the stalk upwards to make sure that all of the sprouts get a chance to swell. At the same time snap off any yellowing leaves at their base to ensure that there is good air circulation around the plants. It also makes the sprouts easier to pick on cold, wet and frosty days, brrrr!
Clear the ground of any remaining vulnerable crops such as celeriac, carrots, Florence fennel and put them into store before any hard frosts are forecast.
Sowing and Planting
Sow a crop of your favourite variety round seeded hardy peas. They can be sown either in the open ground if the weather conditions are favourable or three to 3”/9 cm pot and transplanted later when the roots have reached the bottom of the pot. Transplant any pot raised broad beans sown earlier somewhere sheltered and protected from cold, icy blasts. It not too late to take a chance on a sowing of broads beans if it is done early in the month. Transplant October sown lettuces to grow on under cloches or frames space them 6”.15cms square.
Although these winter varieties are tough enough to withstand most British winters it is always best to have some protection on hand ready to protect them if needs be. Wet growing conditions can wreak as much damage as the cold
Now is a good time to plant new fruit trees and bushes. Soft fruit bushes can also be moved now if needed as well.
The more preparation that you can get done before the end of the year the better. Check over any heaters that you rely on to make sure they are working. Check on the wheelbarrow wheel, you may have a lot of carting to do over the coming months. Most of the leaves will have fallen by now collect them up and make a leaf mould stack. Set aside a little time to check on door locks, window catches and secure anything loose or flapping that may be the source of damage or danger to neighbours on the site.