Monday 23 August 2010

Season draws to a close

I did dig my new bed yesterday: as the days draw in, and the beds start to become empty, I feel like tidying up and adapting the plot based on the learning of the past seasons. Next to the shed, taking advantage of the cleanup of hollies the council did, I have carved myself some more space: all sorts of rubbish was buried on a spot that had obviously not been cultivated for years. I sowed some fodder radish as an overwintering green manure - Will see how it fares. I also recovered a wheelbarrow-full of soil, which I could use in the greenhouse to replace the spent compost from the current planting.

After clearing the potato bed on Saturday, I rearranged that too. This should provide a better arrangement for my vines, which by the way are ripening! Allotment manager John thought they might be encouraged by the windscreen that are my Jerusalem artichokes, which I planted there without really thinking about this side-effect!
Clearing the onion bed also prompted me to rearrange space there. It's still temporary as there are leftover crops in there, but it looks as if I may have more efficient use of space for next year.

In the meantime my preserving continues: I have made cherry plums jam, hawthorn jelly and two types of elderberry liqueur. More on a future post.
And I sowed some salad that with any luck the slugs won't exterminate...

Sunday 22 August 2010

My potato crop

I digged out my maincrop potatoes yesterday: 8,5kg (17 pounds). Not as many as in my first year but definitely cannot complain given that I only planted 1 kg of seed and the odd germinated potato from home.

I found that, once the potatoes were out, I wanted to redesign the beds' layout: multiple parallel beds I now find more useful than one bed running the whole width of the plot, so I split the potato bed into two, as I did with the onions' bed after taking them out. I'm pleased with the result. And I think today I will go and dig a new bed, on the side of the shed, and sow it with green manure, so that it will be ready for the new year.

Which reminds me I'm in a bit of a quagmire about the compost heap. It is now in a really premium, sunny spot, after the council chopped back the hollies that were making it shady and wet. It should be moved behind the shed, where the position is not ideal for growing. This is the kind of job I would normally do in winter, but the compost heap has proved last year to be a precious overwintering hiding for lots of wildlife, so I am reluctant to mess with it when it is most useful... however, I am not ready now to move it now, because I have first to hack down the remains of the previous owner's shed: the perfect job for a winter sunny day. Mmmhhh

Tuesday 17 August 2010

A fig!

Finally one if the figs managed to swell, the first one this year and the first of a decent size ever! A bit dry (the draught?) but very tasty...

The courgettes are blossoming and so, it seems, are the tomatoes.

All the salad seedlings have however succumbed to slugs, and I am at risk of a hungry gap if I don't sow something soon.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday 16 August 2010

Quick update

I have not written for a while, because I am not going to the allotment that often, because I have so many things to do at home and tiredness has started to catch up with me.

The last time I went, though, there were a few bean pods that I should probably be able to pick today if I manage to go, and many more plants of beans growing. Sweetcorn was 1 meter high, and the pumpkins expanding rapidly although no fruit was in sight.

Chillies are in flower and pushing out fruits, and I have already picked three humongous cucumbers, that actually have a flavour of their own, unlike the ones you usually find in shops. I also collected opium poppy seeds, the ones that you can use on bread - I will try and toast them and see how they turn out.

Hovering over the plot, numerous pollinators, with crickets busy on the ground and a lot of native ladybirds: it is a pleasure to take pictures and I am slowly updating the summer photo-album online.

My liqueur-making has been a bit disappointing as I am still in the process of learning dilution and dosage, but I have great hopes for the sage one, that I am going to bottle next. And I am still up for elderberry liqueur this week.

Shutting down my PC now, as I have 1,5kg damsons from the hedge to make into jam too.