J is questioning the existence of Father Christmas and D wants to know why Baby Jesus is wearing a pink babygro in the garden centre’s somewhat hasty nativity display. We’re down to the last dregs of Calpol and Unhusband is eating mince pies for breakfast. It can only be November. And the only Christmas shopping I’ve done is the mince pies, which doesn’t really count, though I’m trying to convince myself they count as one of five a day.
The allotment is looking Novembery too – dishevelled, unkempt and in need of a good sort out. I was hoping to harvest a few leeks, but they’re looking positively anorexic, in comparison to Mick’s on the next plot, which are about three times the diameter. Not sure what I’ve done wrong there….
The fartichokes (Jerusalem artichokes) on the other hand are flourishing. Last year I mounted an excavation exercise of archaeological proportions in an attempt to banish them from the plot once and for all (they’re a pain to peel and the effect they have on Unhusband is frankly divorce-worthy.) But the little sods have come back more vigorously than ever.
Oh well, hopefully there’ll be a decent frost soon so I can dig some parsnips. The cold is supposed to sweeten them, though to be honest I’ve never actually tried picking them early, so that could just be a groundless rumour.
Meanwhile, here are my top five (vaguely gardening related) tasks for November.
1. Sow sweet peas now for ‘overwintering’ for bigger, better flowers next year. Every year I swear I’ll be organised and do this. This year I really will – honest.
2. Plant broad beans. Now is the time to get your Aquadulces in for a tender spring crop. I’m sowing mine in pots first to try and reduce the casualties, but if you’re willing to risk it, just go cold turkey and sow them straight into the ground.
3. Plant tulip bulbs. November is the perfect month for planting tulips (other bulbs like daffodils should have been planted already, but if you didn’t get round to it, it’s still worth a go.)
5. Make a Christmas cake. Ok, not strictly gardening related (unless you grow your own raisins) but this is another thing I’m determined to do for the first time this year. Watch this space….
What are you up to this November?