Jobs for the month

Our chillies are still thriving, even in December
There’s been no stopping the chillies in our greenhouse this year and, too our amazement, they’re still thriving even in December.

IT’S true that December is a barren month for gardeners – the waiting room between the manic rush to plant green manure in the autumn and the stirrings of the new season in early spring.

There are jobs to be done, however.

Down at St Julians Allotments we’ve taken delivery of fresh bark, so this is a good opportunity  to re-lay your path in case we get a sudden cold snap or you miss your chance come the new year. Aside from making the plot look tidier it should help delay the onslaught of weeds (at least for a short time) come the spring.

Personally, I’ll be taking up my clippers to prune the gooseberry bushes at the back of the plot, not just to rediscover where my bit ends and my neighbour’s begins but because cutting back older or diseased stems promotes new growth and strengthens the plants.

Bindweed is a particular problem for growers at St Julians Allotments
Bindweed is a particular problem for growers at St Julians Allotments

Clearing up the last of the fallen leaves is also on my list. Removing them now will stop any paths becoming a slip hazard and, if they’re covering your plot, prevent the soil becoming home to hard-to-shift ant nests when the time comes to plant.

It might be stating the obvious but, if the ground is soft enough and you haven’t covered your plot, now is also a good time to remove some of the weeds before they get established and you need an earth remover to get them out. As anyone with a plot at St Julians Allotments knows bindweed (Convulvulous) is a particular issue and getting rid of the stubborn roots during the quiet times will ease the pain come the busier summer months.

And hopefully when you’ve done all of that it should be time to sit down with the seed catalogue and a cuppa, and start planning for the spring.

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