Urban Fox: Carrots grown on the allotment

Winter frosts can bring some sparkle at this time of year but there have been few so far and the allotment site looks fairly inhospitable in its bare, muddy state.

After the stormy winds and rain we have been experiencing, I was not sure what to expect on my most recent visit and found standing water all the way along the path towards my shed from the gate and even part of the inside was flooded. As for the plot, I am used to it being semi-submerged for a few months of the year and the winter crops are not doing too badly in the raised beds.

The broad bean plants have made progress since I last looked at them, as well as the onions and garlic, and I am waiting a few weeks before doing my next job of pruning the roses and autumn fruiting raspberries. Summer fruiting raspberries are pruned at the end of the season but the autumn ones fruit on branches produced in the same year, so they are cut back to the ground in late winter. One of my least favourite jobs is netting fruit and vegetables but autumn raspberries are left alone by the birds and also need no support from wires.

Urban Fox: Soft ground hampers sprouts success
Urban Fox: Soft ground hampers sprouts success
 

Having missed out on home-grown Brussels sprouts at Christmas last year I made sure that I was prepared for this year’s festive season. The plants were looking sturdy enough but the sprouts are loose and open, which is perhaps because the ground was not made firm enough before planting. I shall relish a handful of carrots planted in a large pot in early autumn and will endeavour to make a bed of softer soil for the purpose of successfully growing carrots next summer.