People have asked what are you going to do in your allotment this weekend? Since, where no snow actually lingers, it is covered with 5cm of mud on 5cm of frozen soil the answer is very little.
None of the produce will get any better from now on so it is dig and use root crops (carrots, celeriac, parsnips, long beetroot, Swedes and scorzonera) as fast as we need them (a few days supply is covered against frost with cardboard and pallets). The state of dearth and desperation required to start lifting Jerusalem artichokes has not yet been reached. A square metre of these are grown for that unhappy day in February when there is nothing else left.
Late winter cabbages (Savoys ‘Endeavour’ and ‘Medee’, and January King type ‘Deadon’), late leek ''Toledo' and the late Brussels sprout ‘Revenge’ are at the very peak of perfection now.
Some of the anti-pigeon netting over the cabbage tribe is crushed by snow and this will be re-erected. Once pigeons get going in late winter nothing will stop them so purple sprouting plants are bagged with white supermarket carrier bags for added protection. Deer have also tested the netting. The life of the urban deer is short and this hard weather will make their span even briefer I trust, to be brutally hard-hearted.
There is plenty of scope for a big fire to be rid of soft fruit prunings and diseased crop debris.
Digging is out of the question and barrowing manure from the heap to the area where it is needed will be slippery and deeply unrewarding, but worth a go if the soil freezes hard.
In the veg store the shallots are rather damp, condensation I think, – these will be spread out in front of the greenhouse heater. It is in the garage where it is keeping the temperature at the right level for proper functioning of the freezer.
All seeds (but not seed potatoes and onion sets) have arrived and these will be gloatingly organised when I feel in need of a treat.