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Nature blog - Jenny Bourne

Introducing
The RPA Nature blog with Jenny Bourne.

Watch the seasons unfold right here at our very own allotments

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Brussels sprouts

The young leaves at the top of the stalk are known as “sprout tops”; harvest, cook, and eat them like spring greens.

Sprouts are said to taste better after the first frost. Start picking them from the bottom of the stalks, working your way upwards as they grow larger.

Sprouts are said to taste better after the first frost. Start picking them from the bottom of the stalks, working your way upwards as they grow larger.

Cabbages

Both autumn and winter cabbage varieties are ready for cutting now.

Carrots

Continue lifting maincrop carrots to eat or to store – although they can be left in the ground for later in the winter.

Cauliflowers

Harvest cauliflowers as you need them. Unless it is very cold, there’s no hurry as they’ll have stopped growing.

Celeriac

Dig up the entire roots and trim them before use.

Celeriac is best left in the ground and harvested only when needed. In very cold weather a covering of straw helps protect them, but they should be able to survive temperatures as low as -10ºC.

Celeriac is best left in the ground and harvested only when needed. In very cold weather a covering of straw helps protect them, but they should be able to survive temperatures as low as -10ºC.

Celery

Harvest trench-grown celery now.

Cranberries

Pick the berries when their colour darkens to a rich, deep red.

Endive

Both curly-leaved or frisée varieties and flat-leaved, Batavian types will continue cropping through the winter, if protected by fleece or cloches.

French beans

Beans intended for drying may be left on the plants until the pods have completely dried out.

Jerusalem artichokes

At last, patience is rewarded: after nine months in the ground, the first artichokes should finally be ready to lift.

Kale

Harvest full-grown leaves now, and over the winter. Kale is extremely hardy.

Kohl rabi

Modern varieties are reasonably hardy and will withstand moderate frosts, but if temperatures are very low, protect plants with fleece or cloches.

Leeks

Use a fork to dig up leeks or you’ll risk snapping off the stem.

Lettuces

Pick the last autumn lettuces now.

Oriental brassicas

Komatsuna, mibuna, mizuna, chop suey greens, Chinese broccoli, mustard greens, and choy sum will all last until now, if given protection.

Parsnips

Harvest, or leave them in the ground.

Raspberries

Autumn raspberries will produce fruit until the first frost. In mild regions or sheltered spots, that might be as late as November.

Salad leaves

Land cress, corn salad, rocket, winter purslane, and some of the Oriental brassicas will still provide leaves for salads if protected against frost.

Spinach

Winter spinach varieties are fast-growing and bred to tolerate shorter days; they should crop this month. Provide protection in severe weather.

Harvest spinach either by taking off a few outer leaves at a time or by uprooting the whole plant.

Harvest spinach either by taking off a few outer leaves at a time or by uprooting the whole plant.

Sprouting broccoli

Pick any remaining spears, before hardier types take over in the new year.

Swedes

Lift swedes now or leave them if they are not becoming too large.

Swiss chard

All leaf beets are fairly foolproof. They’re hardy, withstand neglect, and resist attacks from pests and diseases.

Turnips

Lift turnips if there is any danger of the ground freezing. You can store them for use later in winter.

Winter radishes

Oriental varieties sown in July may be lifted or left alone for a couple of months.

Vegetables

Brussels sprouts

Cabbages

Carrots

Cauliflowers

Celeriac

French beans

Jerusalem artichokes

Kale

Kohl rabi

Leeks

Oriental leaves

Parsnips

Spinach

Sprouting broccoli

Swede

Swiss chard

Turnips

Winter radishes

 

Salads

Celery

Chicory

Endive

Lettuces

Salad leaves

 

Fruit

Cranberries

Raspberries

 

 

 

Text and photographs copyright © 2010 Alan Buckingham.

 

Allotment month by month by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Allotment Month by Month
(Dorling Kindersley, 2009)
Grow Vegetables by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Vegetables
(Dorling Kindersley, 2007)
Grow Fruit by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Fruit
(Dorling Kindersley, 2010)