Monday, 29 September 2014


Nothing much new happening in the plot, still picking beans but the blackberries are getting smaller both in berry size and quantity.
Here's a few pictures from home...

 The latest batch of carrots is looking good, I pulled one just to see, and it is about the thickness of a cotton bud, so has a way to go.

The cosmos have been flowering their socks off for weeks...

The front garden is looking very floriferous (is that even a word?)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

more green manure

Looking at my leeks, some are looking quite well developed...

while others are looking a bit delicate.

Also quite a few are already showing signs of rust for which there is no cure.  RHS advice is to strip off the affected leaves, and my fave website goes for watering with a potash solution.  So I have covered all bases by stripping off as many of the rusty leaves as I could spot, watering with potash to give the plants a boost and topped it off by spraying with a fungicide.

We'll see what happens.

I have cleared three beds, again! and sowed green manure (winter mix). I can't remember what it is but there is defintely some grass seeds in there and what looks like mustard seed.

 One bed down, two to go...

I love that soil miller..

The third bed is the squash and gherkin bed, which are now defuncted.  Not growing gherkins again, complete losers, the lot of them.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

winter onion sets

Got my winter onions, Japanese Senshuye (or something like that).  £1 for half a pound weight.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The season is turning

Not much going on at the moment.
Not watering much because most things are getting near the end of their productive lives for this year, and of course, it has rained a bit lately.
The squash foliage has died back, I left the gherkins because there are a few fruits still growing, but I don't think they will come to anything.  They have been disappointing this year, many of the cucumbers were bitter.  No idea why, but none of the La Diva or Marketmore that I grew last year were like that.

 This is most of the squash harvest, there are four more at home and one went over the wall to the next plot.  That is considerably more than the two we managed last year. I don't know how long they will keep.

One of them has been eaten by something, probably snails, but surprisingly, none of the skins on any of the others have been broken.

 The courgettes are still producing female only fruits, there has only been a handful of decent sized  fruits the whole summer.
The sweet pea wigwam is down, at the end there was one plant flowering bravely. I didn't save any of the seed pods as they were such poor plants.  I will buy new next season, the King's catalogue is by my bedside.

The dwarf beans have finished, but the climbing beans are still producing profusely. I am starting to accost strangers in the street, offering free French or runner beans.

I sowed some sugar snap peas in the winter onion bed and there they are!  I tried one but it didn't taste of anything yet.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

here and there

The potatoes are out now and the bed sown with red clover...

....which is germinating already.

I have evicted the nasturtiums and friends and the asparagus bed is returned.

The jostaberry bushes have all taken nicely and are sprouting new leaves.

 My friend Pat gave me some American land cress, which is very similar to watercress in taste, nice and peppery, but doesn't need the water so much.  (I'm sure it is the same as a plant I have been pulling out for ever as a weed.)

 The punnet of broad beans below are the produce from half a dozen bean plants, and far more seeds than I am going to need next year.  Some red ones and some white ones because of cross fertilization, with red epicure, bunyards exhibition and wikiem manita in the running as possible parents.

The dehyrator is dead, long live the dehydrator!  Got a stealth version this time, I hope it lasts longer than the last one

Beetroot crisps being made as I write.

Still picking lots of french beans, this is the second kilo in two days. I'm running out of neighbours to give them to.

 The phacelia that I left standing is being much appreciated by the bees.  They really do love phacelia.

 All except one tomato plant has been taken down in the greenhouse.  I am saving those last few Sungold for seed for next year.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Show Day

I know, dear readers, that you will be all agog to know how the show went...and you will be pleased to know that it did very well.  Even though the weather was a bit dull and at one point a few spots of rain were felt, there was a good turn out.   Funds were raised on the sale of preserves, produce and plants and plenty of raffle tickets were bought. The barbecue and the baked goods were popular and Liz's excellent carrot cake was complimented by all who tasted it.

The show itself had quite a lot of entries, but I would say the standard wasn't as high as last year's.

I decided to enter purple french beans,

some runner beans, even though I knew they were not show standard, they are all a bit too big or a bit too small...

a sweet pepper and some hot peppers (strangely these seeds all came in the one packet of Mohawk sweet pepper seeds, but one plant turned out to have hot peppers, the rest are sweet) that look very pretty...

and a picking of blackberries, which won 1st prize for a plate of soft fruit

I found another spaghetti squash that didn't have an enormous crack, smaller but with fewer flaws, which won a 2nd in the any other vegetable class

A jar of pickled baby beetroots won a 1st

and three small hot peppers won a 2nd.

After it was all over and we all helped to clear the tables and leftover books away, I came home with 5 surplus courgettes, 2 dahlias and sore feet.

An ice lolly and a sit-down was in order...

Thursday, 4 September 2014


I spent the afternoon looking at possible candidates for the allotment show, but I think, truthfully, that there isn't much that is good-looking enough to enter.
The great hope, the spaghetti squash, turned (literally) out to have a darker side

 Looks good doesn't it?

But underneath.....

I thought that maybe the beetroot would be better...

But all except one are a bit small, and even that one had a borehole in it.  The three chioggia on the right are the most well matched of all, but only golf ball sized.

I picked a load of runner beans, some of them so big you could fell a passing burglar with it...

Tomorrow, when I have more energy and persistence, I will spread them out and try to find 6 matching beans.
I do have some other things, so I haven't given up yet, I have french beans, blackberries, peppers both sweet and hot, jam, chutney, pickle.
Pictures in the next exciting instalment.

But nothing is lost if I don't enter anything, it is all edible, even the cracked squash.  And the hunky beans will be podded and frozen for use through the winter.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Strawberry runners

There are several beds empty now,  I had prepared a bed for the strawberry runners, but then changed my mind at the last minute and instead they have gone into the small beds at the wet end. 

Why? A whim! One of the good things about have a space that belongs only to you is that you can change your mind any time you like...and I do!

The reasoning is...the onions that were in the small beds had some white rot (I don't know where that came from as the beds were mostly filled with council soil improver which is supposed to have been sterilized, and, indeed, was still steaming when it was delivered) and that means no alliums should be grown in that spot for about three years. Strawberries like sunny and well-drained, which describes the raised beds now, and they can stay there for at least three years, all being well.

The strawberry runners were looking good to go...some even had runners of their own..

They are planted, with a complete lack of foresight, in the beds where I had, only 10 days ago, sown buckwheat as a green manure. Doh!
The buckwheat has germinated nicely, as you see from the photo above, and would normally be allowed to grow a lot bigger, had I planned it properly, or even at all!

Working clockwise from top left;
  1.  phacelia, half chopped and half left to flower.  I have some leftover strawberry plantlets which will go in there when the rest of the phacelia gets cut down.
  2. strawberries planted in among the buckwheat
  3. buckwheat hoed in first and strawberries planted
  4. strawberries.
All planted in the same way... planting hole dug with a handful of GrowOrganic sprinkled in.

It is the Allotment Show next week, I will have to see what I can muster up to show.  The Carrot Man is safe this year as we ate our potential show carrots a few weeks ago.

I think I have some jam that I could enter...

But I might have picked these blackberries too soon for the show