Sunday, 27 September 2015

Summer's not over yet

After a miserable start to the week with torrential rain and hailstones the size of marbles, by contrast the last couple of days has seen a return of summer. So today as it was such a beautiful day (and knowing that I am hopefully going to be spending the best part of tomorrow trying to ride an adapted bicycle!) I thought I had better pay a visit to the allotment.

As usual there was a surprise waiting for me.

Really pleased with my gladioli. I was starting to doubt they would flower, but as with everything else they are a few weeks behind. Beautiful colouring don't you agree?

The Aster bushes on 45 and 47 were full of Bees and Butterflies. I managed to capture a shot of two Tortoiseshell butterflies before they fluttered off again.

There were at least 4 different species of Bees on the flowers and if you look closely you can see 3 different species of Bees in the shot below. There were about 20 Bees in total on the bush. The delicate purple flowers are a welcome sight and cheer up any dull Autumn day.

So Mr P emptied the bags of manure we acquired last weekend and it was down to me to spread it. (Take that how you will!) I was careful how I spread the muck around to ensure it didn't get to close to the asparagus that was discovered a few weeks ago. The plan is to have half the bed as an asparagus bed so doing our best to give it a good start.   

Elsewhere on the plot, the outdoor tomatoes are full of fruit and flowers, however they don't seem to be ripening. I can't recall what varieties were planted however going by the stripes forming I would say that these are Tigerella. Hopefully some Autumn sunshine will encourage them to ripen.

CP's peas are filling out nicely and should be ready in a week or so. She is very proud that every seed has grown, even the one she lost in the bark has a couple of pods on it.

We are still getting lots of berries off the Autumn raspberries. Each visit sees me picking a few more. I am freezing them and keeping them for a reminder of summer during the cold wet days of a British Winter.

I picked the first of the Turks turban. Looking forward to cooking with them. I'm thinking of roasting the smaller one. The larger one I think I will use for a Jamie Oliver risotto recipe that I have not used for while.

The garlic chives are still blossoming and also attracting the Bees. The herb bed on 45 has been left to its own devices and the grass is starting to creep back in. Tidy up and gather the seed over the next couple of weeks.

I finally managed to beat the birds and enjoyed my first Cucamelon. I have been looking forward to trying one of these since I first ordered the seeds this time last year. It wasn't quite ripe but if it had been left would have disappeared before my next visit. It was exactly what I was expecting, as the name state, a sublime mix of melon and cucumber. Very refreshing. We will be carefully lifting the roots and  storing over winter ready for use next year. Think we will have to think about where to plant these next year. They were savaged by slugs when they first went in and now birds steal the fruit. Definitely resilient plants though. Here's hoping we can salvage a few more before the end of the season.

I also brought home just under a kilo of rhubarb which was promptly chopped and in the freezer ready for use. I'm thinking of trying rhubarb wine, but with plum and strawberry wines on the go I have run out of demijohns.

Finally I got round to digging up just under half of the last row of Desiree potatoes. Had enough to fill a carrier bag. Some large potatoes. I think with what we dug up we should have enough to keep us going for a few months.

Not bad for a couple hours of work!?

So what's next? Pretty much the same as the past couple of weeks. Finish digging up the potatoes and continue to tidy. Plant the green manure and spread the rotted manure. Want to get the red onion seeds and garlic planted this week. Will have to see what life throws at us after all 'the best laid schemes O' mice and men gang aft agley.'

Thanks for reading. Happy digging :)

Friday, 25 September 2015

Here comes Autumn

Been a busy week here on plots 45 and 47 and we are into the start of the Autumn tidy up. (when is it not a busy week here?)

The first bed on 47 has been thoroughly cleared and the discovery of the two asparagus crowns has inspired us to turn a large proportion of the bed over to them.

I came across an offer for free manure on the provisor that the bags containing it be returned for refilling. Unfortunately there was only 10 bags but it was enough for the first bed. (Besides don't want to burn the asparagus that's already there.)

This week we have also been testing recipes for the Kohlrabi. I started off with fritters and have experimented with different spices. Decided I quite like them with cayenne pepper and a touch of smoked paprika and the obligatory freshly ground salt and black pepper. However, Mr P and the little Ps were not too impressed.

I think next time I will add them to bhajis without saying anything 😉

We have also raided the 50p seed buckets at our local Wyevale garden centre. 2 hours later and around £25 spent, we have an interesting array of choice for next year and have started planning in preparation for spring.

Our strawberry and plum wines are still bubbling away and our next experiment is going to be rhubarb.

So what's next?
Plant the winter green manure mix, acquire more manure and get the onions and garlic in as well as continuing to clear beds as crops finish.

Thank you for reading. Happy digging :)q

Monday, 14 September 2015

Invasion of the weeds

After camping in Wales followed by a fantastic week away in Ibiza, (a definite contrast) it's back to reality, work and school. We were not surprised to find both plots over run with weeds on our return.

So all hands on deck to get things back in order. First job sorting the potatoes. Before we went away we were digging up a potato plant as we needed it, however we decided it was time to they all came out.
The little Ps set to emptying the buckets ....

While Mr P and I did the hard work. The weeds had very quickly re-established themselves after the tops had gone over.

We still need to spread the remnants of the empty buckets and give it a final rake before barking the area ready for winter.

Next we tackled the large bed and rebarked around the sprouting broccoli. We also moved a patio squash to give it a chance of the fruit finishing off before the winter kills it. We have found that crops last a little longer as the bark helps to insulate them from the cold.

Everything else is ticking along nicely. Enough digging for now, (still have plot 47 and raised beds to weed, oh and the flower bed) next job harvesting!!

Pickles anyone?.....

Found the last of these onions hiding among the weeds....

Probably let the Kohl Rabi grow too big but will give them a go. I'm thinking fritters or a gratin....

Finally the making of plum wine....

Elsewhere on plot 45.....

Our Big Jims are ripening.....

Looking forward to eating these in a few weeks time...

.....and finally..... CP's pea experiment has been successful and we have a late crop of peas :)


I think 47 needs some TLC and we have Autumn seeds to sow, as well as garlic cloves ready to go in ... not to mention more weeding !

Thanks for reading, happy digging ;)