Allotment Diary

Separating seedlings

Much like sowing seeds, separating seedlings is more or less the same from plant to plant…

Ask Adam

Ask Adam #11: Covering your spuds with manure?

Richard has written in with this very timely question regarding 1st and 2nd early potatoes.

After planting 1st and 2nd early potatoes can you cover the soil with a thick dressing of manure to keep the frost off.

Allotment Diary

Working smart… Not hard.

This one goes out to all you new allotment holders out there…

Brenden F1 Brussels Sprout

Sowing Brussels Sprouts Brenden F1

Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts are certainly an acquired taste, but like most fruit and vegetables nothing beats a crop that’s been grown by your own fair hand.

I’ve decided to give brussels sprouts a go this year and I’ve chosen a fairly new variety to the market – Brussels sprouts Brenden F1 Brenden F1 .

Brussels sprouts Brenden F1 Brenden F1, is a sprout aimed specifically at the Christmas market for growers who supply the supermarkets.

Brussels sprouts Brenden F1 Brenden F1 are said to grow well in a variety of soil types and produce an excellent number of sprouts later on in the season. Brenden sprouts, when cooked well, are meant to have a very delicate and distinct taste.

They’re also disease resistance, making them ideal for the allotment. Harvesting takes place from November to January, so we can enjoy that pleasant brussels sprout aroma well into the new year.


Sowing brussels sprouts seeds is dead easy and you’ll start to recognise the process from the other seeds that I’ve sown earlier.

But, for the avoidance of doubt, be sure to sow the seeds in multi-purpose compost covering the seeds with around 6mm of compost. Placed in a cold frame or a window sill, germination is expected in around 7 days.

When they get around 3 inches tall, I’ll want to move the seedlings into pots to encourage root growth.

Composting Leafmould

Composting: Leafmould

At this time of year you can really make use of the debris left as a result of the changing seasons and the drop in temperatures.  Leafmould is compost made out of decaying leaves and is a great soil conditioner.

Leafmould is easy to produce – all you have to do is collect the leaves up and store in a plastic bag, wire cage or something that’s going to keep in the moisture.

Once stored – leave it… No pun intended.  It takes around one and a half to two years to break down, decompose and eventually be subject to “humification”.  Humification is the fancy word given to the process in which green and brown matter is turned into compost.

The benefits of leafmould

  • Leafmould can hold the equivalent of 80–90% of its weight in moisture and can increase the soil’s capacity to withstand drought conditions.
  • The process that converts raw organic matter into leafmould feeds the soil population of microorganisms and other creatures. This maintains high and healthy levels of soil life. (Soil life consists of all kinds of bacteria, fungus and enzymes which have really long, complicated names, but trust me when I say they’re beneficial for your garden!)
  • The dark color of well-rotted leafmould helps to warm up cold soils.
  • Leafmould is a substance, which on a microscopic level is made up of insoluble particles, which is dispersed among lots of other materials within the soil. This means that leafmould has a wonderful ability to keep the nutrients in the soil safe from being bleached by the elements. That stored nutrient goes straight back into the plants.


Well-rotted leafmould, which has been left for more than two years can be used as seed-sowing compost. You can also mix it equally with sharp sand, garden compost and a good quality top soil to use as potting compost.

Leftover, composted material that has not quite rotted down fully, or is less than two years old can be used as a mulch or a soil conditioner in the autumn.

In the winter, it can be used to cover bare soil and or used in the winter to cover bare soil and keep weed growth to a minimum.


If you plan on making your own multi-purpose, keep you leaves away from the main compost bin.