Month by month tips

There is never a dull moment for the allotmenteer. There is always something to be done on the plot. In Ireland, with our changeable climate,  the weather is the dominant factor in everything we do. This series covers what to do on your plot, month by month. It is not by any means a definitive list of what should be done on your plot to keep it weed free and get the most yield. It is definitely enough to get you started!

January

  • Plan your allotment area
  • Source and chit first early potatoes
  • Check damaged structures on plot
  • Protect delicate plants from frost by using garden fleece covers
  • Sow Broad Bean seeds for early cropping
  • Prune apple trees
  • Check stored potatoes for disease or rotting
  • Improve soil by adding organic material to top soil
  • Sow peppers seeds for summer crop
  • Plant bare root fruit trees
  • Plant rhubarb crowns
  • Sow Aubergine seeds in heated area (Window sill or Heated greenhouse).

February

  • Prune Fruit trees (before they flower)
  • Source good seed potatoes
  • Prepare raised beds. (Repair, Add manures if required, Cover to warm soil)
  • Sow broad bean seeds. (Early crop variety)
  • Sow Brussels Sprouts (Yes it’s time to think about it)
  • Sow leek seeds (for germination)
  • Chit first early potatoes
  • Plant bare root fruit trees
  • Cover areas of plots. (To warm up the soil and to reduce weed growth)
  • Repair any structure features on your plot Create insect housing, bird boxes or small pond
  • Clean up plot area

May

  • Harden off early sown Sweet Corn
  • Cover carrot to prevent carrot fly
  • Sow Radish
  • Plant out Runner and French Beans
  • Sow Beetroot, peas, parsnips, courgettes
  • Earth up early sown potatoes (if necessary)
  • Construct support frames for Peas, Runner and Climbing French Beans
  • Sow Onions or Shallots

June

  • Water Strawberries and Potatoes in dry weather
  • Plant Leek seedlings
  • Observe Rhubarb for signs of Bolting and water
  • After the risk of frost has gone; plant outdoor Tomatoes
  • Harvest Spring Cabbages, Spring Onions and early sown Carrots
  • Plant Squashes, Cucumbers and Courgettes
  • Harvest Asparagus
  • Plant out Runner Beans, French Beans and Peas
  • Sow late Carrots and Radishes
  • Harvest Garlic if leafage has turned yellow
  • Sow Beetroot and other short germination to harvest crops
  • Water, Water, Water (in dry weather) … fruit and vegetables, especially tomatoes and other polytunnel/greenhouse grown crops

July

  • Prune this year’s Pear/Plum tree growth to within 3 to 4 shoots.
  • Continue to water container grown vegetables.
  • Pinch off tomato side shoots.
  • Harvest early potatoes.
  • Net up late season strawberries.
  • Propagate strawberry runners.
  • Source seed potatoes for sowing in August for Christmas harvest
  • Feed flowering tomatoes.
  • Harvest and dry out onions when foliage has turned yellow.
  • Continue to hoe between rows of vegetables.
  • Erect barriers to prevent carrot root fly damage.
  • Watch out for aphid infestation on broad beans.
  • Remove lower leaves on tomatoes when first fruit start to ripen.
  • Harvest raspberries when ripened.
  • Plant out winter cabbages/cauliflowers.
  • Plant Kale for winter harvesting.
  • Plant Brussels Sprouts (for you guessed it Christmas or early New Year).

August

  • Pinch out, water and feed tomatoes to encourage fruit.
  • Pinch off top of Runner Beans to encourage flowering.
  • Harvest young Berlotti Beans as Flagelot Beans.
  • Harvest 2nd Earlies or Main Crop potatoes.
  • Dry out onions or garlic when foliage has turned yellow.
  • Harvest peas as and when pods are full.
  • Listen for blight warnings and spray as appropriate.
  • Propagate Strawberry runners to plant out for next season.
  • Sow potatoes for Christmas and turnips for a later harvest.
  • Sow over winter salads (e.g. Chinese lettuce, mizuna), winter Kale and Spring
  • Remove lower leaves of tomatoes if curled or dying.
  • Check Sweetcorn cobs for ripeness.
  • Continue to harvest Artichoke hearts.
  • Trench up celery to encourage leave whitening.
  • Prune apple/plum trees to maintain the frame work of the trees.
  • Check under cabbage leaves for white butterfly eggs and destroy if necessary.
  • Harvest main crop of beetroots.

September

  • Sow green manure or cover bare ground with mulch or farmyard manure.
  • Plant out Spring Cabbage (Cover them for protection).
  • Plant Spring onions.
  • Prepare soil for autumn sown garlic by digging in organic material.
  • Dry out harvested onions.
  • Clean out strawberry area – remove any dead material (leaves, straw etc…)
  • Propagate strawberry runners by pining down first plant from main in a small pot and cut off remaining plants on the runner. (If unsure on how to do this please contact me.)
  • Prune summer raspberry canes by cutting back growth of this years harvest.
  • Harvest apples and remove any rotten fruit.
  • Leaving pea plants to die off will return nutrients back to the soil.
  • Remove lower or dead leaves on tomato plants to encourage fruiting of tomatoes on the plants. No new fruit will come along.
  • If growing pumpkins remove smaller fruit to encourage the bigger fruit to use more of the plants resources.
  • Start to tidy up your plot and plan or start any construction/repair work to be done for next season.

 

October

  • If growing pumpkins, cut back runners where no fruit is growing and remove small or bad pumpkins to encourage better growth.
  • Harvest the remaining of tree fruits.
  • Clean up your plot and remove rotten or diseased materials.
  • Cover un-used areas with cardboard, carpet, manures or mulches.

 

Source: Tony, Plot no 15

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