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 :)

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