Friday, 31 October 2014

first leeks

Did some weeding.  That bittercress stuff sure is a pretty successful weed, with nasturtiums running a close second.  

Sorted out some of the old wood and twigs and put them under cover to dry out a little for the great burn up.

 Pulled the first leeks of the season. They have really grown well, I think this must be the earliest picking ever. I noticed the start of rust on my young leeks just a few weeks ago, so I took off the affected leaves, gave a dose of potash, and just in case sprayed with an anti-fungal.  So far no sign of rust returning.

There are still plenty of flowers and still bees, both bumble and honey, there to harvest the nectar

Loads of seed heads on the nigella.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

wood chips

There is a new pile of wood chippings up for grabs, so the plot has been liberally sprinkled

Not much to do until bonfire season starts on the 1st November.  The weather has gone all damp making my bonfire material all soggy.  Firelighters will be used.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

bean frame and a banana

Where the runner and french beans were is now a pile of leaves and stalks.  In previous years I have untangled and snipped the twining stem from the frame, but this year I just undid the strings tying the canes together and pulled them out of the ground and through the beanstalks. Simple! I will leave the detritus to rot down into the soil for next year.

This is a pot of papyrus which lives in the corner of bathroom.
"No!" you may say, "that is not papyrus!" and you would be right, it is a banana, musa ensete to be accurate. Months ago my son gave me the seed as a souvenir from the British Museum, complete with rhino poo compost to grow it in. This seed mustn't have read the book, because it sat looking obdurately seed-like through the rhino poo box rotting away, being repotted twice, sitting on the bathroom windowsill for months until eventually I got fed up with it and stuffed it into the middle of the newly repotted papyrus plants.
Eh voila! Such is the perversity of nature.

I'm not quite sure what to do with it now.

Current plot plan 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

winter onions planted

I finished planting the onions,  there are still a few left that I had no room in that bed for.  They are the small ones so I will leave them in their tray until there is some space in a place where no alliums have been for a while.

The shop was open and a new load of manure has been delivered so with £3 in my hot little hand, I was there.

Three barrowloads of manure up the hill to the plot and on to the asparagus bed was my exercise on a fine Sunday morning.

garlic and winter onions

I used garlic from this year's crop for seed for next year.  I know, I know, I said I was going to get some new but I have so many garlic cloves and they are starting to sprout already...

They have been planted next to the parsnips where the dwarf beans were.

I planted some of the winter onions..

They have good roots on them..

But it was getting late and I had meatballs and a tomato and mushroom sauce to cook for tea..

So I planted the biggest ones and left the others for another day.

I have planted them deeper than is usually recommended to try to discourage the birds from pulling them out. They tend to push themselves upwards as their roots develop, anyway.  I might fleece them as the nights get colder.

It certainly isn't cold yet though, it was up to 19C today and was only 11C overnight.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Another bed cleared

This bed contained the yellow courgettes, which were a waste of space, and are out now.  The bed has been weeded and milled, some fertilizer added and just for luck, a sprinkling of rockdust. Next thing to go in 

 are the japanese onion sets which have been sprouting in a litter tray at home.  All except one have sprouted, even the tiny ones.

I pulled, or rather prised, the first parsnips out of the ground, and I am quite pleased with them, they are quite a good size even though a bit forked.

I found a good crop of mushrooms in the woodchip path, but I'm not risking eating them as I know absolutely nothing about mushroom toxicity. Bit small anyway.

Some of the shallots were starting to go off, so I pickled some of them.
Also most of the maincrop onions have started to rot both top and bottom, so a lot have been discarded, but I saved enough to fill a few jars of dried sliced onions, which I can use in soups and is quite good crumbled on top of cottage pie.
There still a dozen or so maincrop onions in the garage and there are still a lot of winter onions, which seem to be keeping quite well on the attic stairs.  The onions grown from sets were bigger and are storing better than the onions raised from seed, so I don't think I will bother with seeds next year.  After two poor years for summer onions I may not bother at all and just do winter onions.

I will probably change my mind come Christmas.

Friday, 10 October 2014

blackberries pruned, apples picked and observations on tomatoes

It has been raining a bit lately and I haven't been to the plot for a few days.  There isn't that much to do now except cut things down.  I'm waiting for the autumn skip and bonfire night to dispose of some of the rubbish around the plot that is irking me.

The thornless blackberries have had their old wood pruned off, leaving the new wood only. The two main branches stretched a good ten feet on either side of the main root system, and on one side, were encroaching on the loganberry's space, so I have trimmed back the leaders to a reasonable length.

The apples on the old apple tree were starting to fall off so I have picked all the decent sized ones and they are for the dehydrator to provide snacking opportunities pour moi in the near future. I left the small apples for the birds, although I'm sure they would rather have had the big ones, but hey, that's a bird's life. There was only about half a bucket full, and all badly disfigured, but that was more than I thought there would be.

One of the tomato plants (gardeners delight) in the potting shed has been cut down, but the other (marmande) tomato is still going with a few large fruits slowly ripening.  It has produced large sweet tomatoes with a lovely flavour, and I will certainly grow them next year. The plan of allowing two side stems to develop in lieu of height has worked quite well and all three stems have produced fruit. It didn't work quite so well on the Gardener's Delight, which was a much leggier, more vine-like plant. Its side-shoots grew very few fruits for by the time they had flowered, they were up above the window and not getting enough light.

Rainy and cold, and feeling a bit fragile after my shingles jab yesterday, I went home to have an hour under the duvet. Zzzzz!

Sorry no pics as I forgot my phone. (which I try not to do in case I fall again or damage myself while alone on the plot)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

still warm

We have had a lovely long summer this year.  It is still really warm and sunny through the day (max 20.3C this afternoon in the back garden), but it was quite sharp this morning (min 5.9C at 7.45 am), no actual frost, but getting there.

There isn't much to do now at the plot except weeding, even the beans and blackberries are slowing down.
I picked some big fat bean pods and I am saving the french beans (monte cristo) for next year's seed as they were pretty productive after a slow start.
The runner bean pods were massive so I shelled them and the beans have gone into the latest batch of that daily necessity, soup.

I sorted through the onion sets and some of them are tiny and I'm sure they will get lost in the clods at the allotment, so I am chitting/sprouting them in a tray full of spent compost.