As I could actually get to the composter bin I wanted to empty it today and use the soil in two places. One had to be the latest little greenhouse I got because the borders were not deep enough. I have changed the wood on the edges and made them much higher so I could put much more soil there. It is only a small area but I have used four large soft buckets. It looks much better and I’m sure the peppers that I plan to grow there next year will do well.
There was an amazing amount of perfect soil in the bin, it took quite an effort to get it all out. Everything was perfect.
I even had two large sacks left after filling the greenhouse beds so they went in the raised bed. Now I have everything ready for planting the garlic. I have even ordered some more, we like garlic, I use it a lot in my cooking and home grown is certainly the best.
It was a clean-up time in the last few days on the allotment. I knew that I took my eyes off the weeds in the corner of one of my plots but when I actually got down to it I was in for a shock. The stinging nettles did very well and filled the space between my net tunnel and the enclosure for discarded pieces of wood and unwanted items.
In the end it was quite therapeutic to hack at the nettles and pile them on the compost heap. During this process I rediscovered another composter bin and that was the best surprise – it was full of beautiful crumbly soil. It must have been there a good few years, I kept adding to it but never emptied it. It reinforced my resolution to leave these bins as long as possible, it pays off.
Of course it followed that I would sort out inside the net tunnel. I have blackcurrants there and as they are still young I had some free space – enough to plant a couple of squashes. These did very well and I harvested one already, it will ripen at home. There are a couple more, a bit smaller so they can stay a while longer.
Because I had a pepper plant in one of my grow beds in the home greenhouse and wanted to use it for something else I harvested the fruit. I have never seen such misshapen peppers before and I haven’t tasted them to see if they are hot or sweet.
They all grew on the same plant and by the looks of the ‘normal’ ones I guess they’ll be hot.
It is difficult to believe that we are entering autumn, even though the evenings are getting darker every day. All my harvesting is slowing down, I gathered another box of tomatoes and a few cucumbers but all this will be coming to an end very soon.
I started preparing the ground for planting garlic after watching Monty Don last night. He gave me a great idea and as soon as I got to the allotment I started working on it. I have got four large raised beds and I’ve been growing strawberries there for a number of years. A couple of these beds aren’t producing good enough fruit so they will be emptied, the ground enriched, all in time for planting. Garlic is on order from one seed company but I will try to get some more on Tuesday when I go to town, the stall in the market might have some.
We are certainly entering autumn and I am harvesting every time I go to the allotment. Certain vegetables I am still picking even though I thought that was the end, like tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes. Peppers have started later but keep going very strong now. My sweetcorn is the best I have ever grown and I must make sure I grow it again next year. This is what I like about the allotment, it shows me what does well, we find out what we like to eat and when I put the two together I have a plan for next year.
The fruit trees are maturing and I can see the results. The apples are plentiful and really delicious and I’m sure they taste much better than the ones we buy in the shop.
These are a mix of James Grieve and Charles Ross. I have got a few more apple trees there but the apples will be a bit later, perhaps October.
This time in the gardening year the main activity is harvesting. I try to go to the allotment every day, I don’t always do much but I always take home some produce.
Today it was apples. I planted a number of apple trees a few years ago and created a little orchard in front of my shed. All those trees are small, grafted on a miniature root stock. They took a few years to get going but this year they are just great. I have a variety of them, some early, some late, eating as well as cooking apples. Also one pear tree and that is doing very well indeed, the first time I will have some pears. So far they are hard but I’m patient.
This one is Louise Bonne of Jersey and I’m looking forward to harvesting them. I have got a couple of plum trees, they both had a few plums and specially one, called Warwickshire Drooper, was delicious. Hopefully we’ll have more in the coming years.
One of the apple trees is James Grieve, it was laden this year and I had to thin the fruit so that I would get some reasonably sized apples.
This is a very useful apple to have, it can be cooked early in the season when the fruit is a bit tart and later it is delicious to eat.
It has been so amazingly dry these last few weeks that I’m quite surprised anything is growing on the allotment. Fortunately I have my greenhouses and that keeps the tomatoes and peppers happy. I haven’t had so many tomatoes and peppers in all the years I’ve been working there.Thinking of the current situation it is quite lucky that I’ve had such a super harvest, I was able to bottle a lot of the produce – oven roasted mixed vegetables or just tomatoes, cooked blackberry and apples for future crumbles and the list goes on. I’m especially pleased with the oven roasted mixed vegetables, I just add a glug of olive oil, no water so the flavours are really concentrated.
The cucumber in the greenhouses did very well. I have planted two plants and they have climbed up and along a wire the entire length of the greenhouse, producing a lot of fruit. I had so much that I was able to make cucumber relish for the very first time and it was very tasty.
My friend Mary and her son Wayne have got a few beehives on their plot and today was the day to harvest their honey. I’ve never seen it done and was amazed how very laborious it is.
I’m sure it is thanks to the bees that our fruit harvest is so good. It is not only the fruit that benefited from the bees, my sunflowers did very well too. My tallest one was 915cm and today I brought home two of the biggest heads to save them for Chris for next year’s competition.
Both are 25cm in diameter so we should have enough seeds for everybody.
We seem to have another heat wave so I am doing a reduced amount of work on the allotment. But even the reduced amount takes quite a while before I manage to water my four greenhouses. Of course that usually leads to tidying up inside, picking ripe tomatoes and anything else I might see.
By the time I have done all that I didn’t feel tired yet so I picked my blackberries, some apples, plums and a few courgettes. Then there were the last few potatoes in the ground, got them out and decided to have them for lunch with the few heads of broccoli. By now I certainly had enough and thought of going home. The harvest was so good I had to load it all in my wheelbarrow to take it home.
Of course I had to make something out of all this . On top of that I picked some beautiful long green peppers in my greenhouse at home so I added them to the oven roasted tomatoes and bottled them . All ready for the winter.
I had so many plums I was able to make a number of jars of plum chutney. It will be interesting as I have never made this one.
I knew that today was ‘stay in the kitchen’ day and I was right. The result is wonderful, well worth the time spent chopping and slicing. A few trips up into the loft to collect some more jars for bottling the pickled beans and Kilner jars for the bottling and all is done. The huge lot of jars is rapidly going down, there are no more Kilners there, only the ones I have ready downstairs. Never mind, that can be sorted out.
I used the box of blackberries to bottle them, just packed them in the jars and pressed down, they were so juicy nothing else was needed.
They will make a perfect desert in the winter.
Next on the list were the beans – I had a lovely mix of different climbing beans so I decided to make something savoury for a change.
We’ll have to wait a few months to let them mature but they are perfect, very tasty. I might be making some more, there will be many more beans.
The last but not least were the tomatoes, courgettes and a few of the left over beans. My latest favourite product, pasta sauce.
It was in the middle of the afternoon that I finally did the last lot of washing up and labelled all the jars.
Tomorrow is another day, I’m sure I will find something else to do on the allotment and harvest more goodies.
There was some rain during the night but not enough. The soil in the back garden looked damp but when I got to the allotment everything there looked parched, no difference from previous days. I wasn’t going to do a lot as the afternoon turned quite hot, just watering the greenhouses and perhaps filling the water butts as the level in them is rather low.
I wasn’t expecting this kind of harvest though – everything has slowed right down. Not this lot
The plums are from our communal fruit trees, there are quite a few so I took only some. Tomorrow morning will be devoted to manufacturing – I think I’ll make some more bean, courgette and tomato pasta sauce and the rest of the beans I’ll steam to have for lunch. It is a mix of different climbing beans, runner beans and purple french climbing beans. They are delicious quickly steamed with some butter and herbs.
The cucumbers are excellent, I pick a few every time I go there. I eat them instead of fruit, they are very refreshing
It was back to a hot day today but I wasn’t planning to do anything too strenuous on the allotment. Nowadays I go every other day to water all the tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouses and harvest whatever I can. It was no different today.
As there are so many blackberries that are ripening so fast I pick them every time I go there. Last time I made some jam and today I thought I would try something else. We like blackberry and apple crumble, I had a fair number of apples under my trees so I picked them. When I got home I sat and very painstakingly cut them up, and chopped them into small pieces, mixed with the very ripe blackberries and over a low heat cooked them. The result is delicious, I didn’t use any sugar but I would add some later if needed. I filled four Kilner jars, one pie dish ready for crumble tomorrow and I still have a bowl of them left to have just with a drizzle of cream.
Of course there were more tomatoes ready to pick and this time I made a huge pot of tomato soup, just added some basil leaves, no water at all needed, the tomatoes are beautifully juicy. This made four Kilner jars as well and a bowl left, enough for supper for the two of us one evening, served with a garlic baguette or some such.
Both lots were put through a water bath, around 15 minutes and I have a ready supply for the winter. Nothing artificial added, just pure fruit or vegetables.