The second Sunday of October, not long now until the clock go back. The days and plots draw in. The time of the first frosts, allotment digging and composting.
Clear away the summer sprawl. Pack away tipis and bean poles now. It is time to tidy but maybe not too much, perhaps resist any urge to clear everything away. Leave some habitat for local wildlife if you can. We like to allow the plot to settle for a while. A few skeleton plants of late summer. Perhaps we’ll wait a little longer to cut the fennel.
For sowing and growing, there is green manure, overwintering onions and garlic, hardy “early” varieties of broad beans, too. It is a good time to plant new sets of rhubarb. We will plant another bare-rooted blackcurrant bush (or two) at the Danish plot. In memory of Ina and because Henri can never have too much of her favourite jam.
We will plan to do some digging and weeding before the first frosts. We will wheelbarrow much of the dead summer away. The communal compost heaps will pile high.
The nasturtium bank will soon collapse in the cold. We will gather the last of its flowers. But some of the fading sunflowers will be left standing, at least for now.
It is time to pick any last apples or pears, pack undamaged fruit carefully away. Keep an eye on them. We will happily make pies of the rest.
There will likely be an allotment gathering. There will be stories of successes and failures. There will be a barbecue. There may be song.
Some people will start to drift away from around now. Appear less frequently. Howard and I will keep coming, perhaps less in the evening as the cooler nights draw in. But there is always something to do. Even if it is only to say a quiet thanks and to keep an eye on the ponds.
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com