January Flooding

River Thames In Flood

For many parts of the country – and our allotment included – January has not been a good month to work on the allotment. The rivers are as high as they have been for twenty years in our area, and still slowly rising.

What opportunity does the exceptionally wet weather give? Firstly, there are a few things best avoided:

  • Digging
    The ground right now is tremendously soft. It can be tempting to think of this as an opportunity to turn everything over deep down. However, it also means that the soil will become compacted when you walk over it, squeezing out the air and tightening the whole soil structure.
  • Planting
    Related to the point above, but also as a waterlogged soil – with freezing weather coming soon – are some of the worst possible conditions for planting. Shallots, garlic, and some onion varieties are best planted around now in usual conditions – but can rot in very wet soil.

And here are a few ideas for what to do …

  • Staking
    If you have anything that that needs to be hammered into the ground, now is a good time, including tree stakes, supports for raspberries, fence fixing etc. Provided you can avoid walking over your beds, it should be easy to drive them deep into the soil.
  • Emptying Water Butts
    Freezing cold weather is likely to arrive soon, and when it does, the full water inside water butts will expand and potentially burst or split the sides of the butt.
  • Staying At Home
    Avoid the temptation to work, and walk, over the allotment beds by working at home! There are plenty of jobs to be done, including sorting out last year’s seed, ordering new seed (why not research and experiment with different varieties?), and making your growing plan (what to grow and where to grow it). It is surprising how quickly spring will be upon us (hopefully!)

Here are a few links that may be helpful