Monthly Tasks: Elder Stubbs Charity allotments is a member of NSALG (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) and their website gives a lot of useful information (www.nsalg.org.uk). This monthly task list is based predominantly from information from them.
Overview: A time of the year when the short days combined with Wintry weather conditions will make any progress outdoors difficult. If soil conditions are not too wet then it is still beneficial to progress with weed control. It is a good time to catch up on any inside jobs and peruse your seed catalogues to plan for next season. Make an assessment of last season, which crops performed well and which did not.
Consider whether to progress to an organic growing system which will entail a crop rotation which even with conventional growing practices will greatly reduce the risk of pest and diseases.
Look over any produce that has been put into store. Look out for any vermin and signs that they may have been present. Inspect all produce thoroughly, diving down to the bottom of sacks or containers. Remove anything that is damaged or diseased and recycle it through the local council bins.
Vegetables: Sow: There is nothing to sow now but take the time to check over the contents of your seed tin. Some of the packets may be a lot older than you thought. Remember that seeds have a natural shelf life. Check the “sow by” dates and any that are more than 3 years old, bin, and replace with fresh new seed. It is important to do this because as the seed ages it takes more time to germinate and in some cases it may be completely dead. In the New Year you will want quick germination to give you the best start to producing the earliest crops.
Produce in season: Winter and Savoy cabbage, Winter cauliflower, kales, leeks, parsnips, Oriental vegetables and Brussels sprouts.
From the store: Potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, carrots and beetroot.
Fruit: Apples, late cooking pears.