It is the time to put on or renew the greaseband which prevents some other mothsí offspring climbing up the tree. The spoiled apples are still usable, each morning the good bits make a lovely, tangy breakfast drink when juiced.
Inspecting the onions and potatoes
Itís worth inspecting the onions and potatoes for damage, for you know what one rotten apple can do.
As far as planting early potatoes for Christmas or planting onions to be ahead of the game next year, I wonít be bothering. Someone gave me some very tasty Electric (red) and Senshyu Yellow (white) japanese onions to try but I am concerned about helping the onion whiterot virus to regenerate in Spring, so I will give them a miss. Anyway I reckon to grow things successfully you need to pay regular visits on an almost daily basis. With adverse weather and dark evenings I like to get out on sunny, fresh winterís days & do something like digging or clearing weeds which keeps you warm as you work, and have a rest from the plant tending. As for potatoes at Christmas, I usually roast some, this year it will be Amo or Arran Victory. What a mouthwatering prospect, although in truth neither variey have impressed me as a roaster despite the claims made for them. Tasty, yes, but not especially crisp or easy to brown.
It's time to be thinking of what to plant in the beds next year. The most important consideration is not to repeat crops more often than every four years. Also it is important to consider what has been on the bed previously. I consider these points in depth in the section on Crop Rotation
Clearing the Plot
I will not do this fully until Spring, because while the plot is covered, weeds are less likely to begin to grow. I will just remove weeds as and when they appear, but leave other plants in place.
I should be thinking about this more often, but I tend to think about the compost heap when there is not much else to do. I turn and consolidate the heap once I have cleared the plot. I will turn it again before planting starts in spring.
I don't need to collect manure as I had a delivery last year and covered it.I will selectively spread it in Spring when it will be spread as a mulch. See Dig This for more detail.
I canít wait to roast some parsnips, but I will be patient until we have had a groundfrost as it improves their flavour, which can otherwise be a bit bland. I used to suspect this was a rural myth, but it isnít, they really do taste sweeter after a frost has affected them. I tried putting them in the freezer for a bit but the result was inconclusive.The scientific explanation for the improved flavour is that starches in the parsnips are converted into sugars by the drop in temperature.
Time permitting I shall take time out to store the shallots by stringing them up. It's relatively easy, doesnít take too long and is an attractive and efficient way to store them. Providing the kitchen is not too damp and you have a suitable hook they can brighten up the winter and give a reminder of the pleasure to look forward to in the new growing season
While itís OK to plant garlic in November, I used to follow the Ďplant on the shortest dayí idea. However, I read about the resulting encouragement of Whiterot in Spring soil temperatures by a well developed root system. Since Whiterot hardly needs any encouragement, I now wait until February, and I have been quite content with the results - same reasoning as avoiding planting Autumn onions.