Posted By: 23/02/2011 08:38:00
We had our first snow yesterday in Dorset, it wasn't much certainly not enough to make a snowball from but it did look very festive.
If you have some heavy snow over the next few days keep an eye on your hedges and trees. Hedges can suffer really badly from snow building up on the top of them and pushing the sides of the hedges out. In some cases with evergreen hedges the result is so bad once you have pruned out the damaged parts the hedge you are left with large holes and the only solution is to cut it right back and start training it from the ground up. Trees can also suffer especially when they have been growing for several years without regular snow fall to weigh there branches down. To remove the snow in both cases you should take a broom and brush the build up of snow off the bush or tree as soon as you can.
This week I picked what I suspect to be the last of my globe artichokes. It was an accident really, I had missed cutting back a plant in the Autumn and this one has gone on to produce more flowers. I have been doing the rounds on the allotments, now that the soil is drying up a bit, and found two squashes in the turnip bed that I had not found during harvesting. They where only small but still edible. The over wintering onions and garlic is doing well and I should have a bumper crop next year. I was also checking on the sprouts for Christmas lunch and they are looking great, apart from the nibbled leaves on the top thanks to the population of Deer. Fortunately with the sprouts it's not too much of a problem, but next year I can see I will have to protect some of my crops from them. I think I will have to build a large cage around the plots to be on the safe side. The over wintering Cabbage are doing well also. I have them protected with a small amount of netting from the Pigeons, but they could also benefit from being in a large cage.
Apart from a visit on Christmas day to pick the Sprouts for lunch this will be the last visit to the allotment this year. Over the festive season I will be organising which fruit bushes I will be ordering and what types of seed potatoes to get. I am also going to create an Asparagus bed, somewhere (not sure exactly where yet) Next years Potatoes will be a mixture of first earlies for the salad, and heavy main crops for baking. Not sure what varieties yet but I can go through the catalogues and find some nice varieties later.
Over the next week we will pass the winter Solstice and the 'shortest day'. This is traditionally when farmers would have celebrated the return of the sun and the start for the new growing year. This is the start of the pagan festival Yule, and I found this guide on how it should be celebrated.
So have a merry Yule, and in case you don't get next weeks newsletter have a happy Christmas too.