CARROTS

I am happy – I have reached the, for me, impossible. I have managed to grow a long, large and straight carrot – well, almost.

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Almost perfect. As I always say – my Grandad was a very good gardener but he never grew carrots. The soil on his plot was rather stony and he rather concentrated his efforts on growing soft fruit and cucumbers.

SUNFLOWERS

I love growing them on the allotment, they attract the bees and other insects and anyway – they look great. Especially if they manage to grow tall or have huge faces, like this one. I had to cut it and bring it home, in the past the squirrels found it and before I knew the seeds were gone.

This beauty wasn’t the tallest but had the biggest face – 39 cm! Enough seeds to grow a field of them next year.

HARVEST TIME…

…is here again. Even though we didn’t have much rain my harvest was great.  I kept picking courgettes all the time, then carrots started. Now tomatoes are something else – I haven’t had a harvest like this yet and all of them are growing outside, in net cages. Amazing. I made passata, tomato soup, bottled chopped tomatoes for the winter, you name it and I made it. Even though beetroot didn’t germinate very well, I am picking some great ones, my Asian pears are delicious.

 

My little greenhouse on the allotment is well worth the money – never had so many cucumbers!

For the first time I managed to grow aubergines – I have a couple of plants in the greenhouse in the back garden and I have fruit on them! For the first time.20180901_192321

One evening on a walk we saw some black grapes hanging over a fence, we picked some and the result is delicious jelly

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The only downside of it all is that I don’t have enough hours in the day. I’m feeling my age too.

The icing on the cake are my figs.

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I bottled them in red wine, ever so tasty!

SUPPORT

I was rather concerned that the biggest squashes might fall off, that the stem would break under their weight so I decided to rig up some support.

All it needed was a piece of old green netting for the big round one and two old onion nets and all is we.. It would be a shame if I lost them now, after all the effort….

FEEDING

Despite the very dry period my monsters seem to be getting bigger. One of the Zucca da marmelata fruits increased so much I had to create a support for it, I don’t want to lose it too soon, before being fully ripe. I hope it’ll hold it.

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There is one more monster but I don’t think I shall try to do anything, hope for the best.

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My very own Maltese pumpkin – well, one of a few – let’s see what he’ll manage.

PAMPERING…

..and talking to my plants certainly works. If a certain member of the royal family can do it, so can I.

There are two schools of thought as far as looking after tomatoes is concerned – take the leaves off or don’t. I go with the first one and it seems to work.

To be honest, I was feeding them with a mix of seaweed extract, comfrey tea and the liquid from my wormery. On top of than I topped the soil in the grow pots with Farmyard manure and soil improver from B&Q. Something must have worked!

The squashes are climbing well up and along the structures I’ve constructed for them, they have also been fed with the seaweed extract and some Fish, blood and bone.

And of course, all of them get encouragement from me!!

GREENHOUSE

I was much better organised this year with my allotment greenhouse. It is only small, not really perfect but it seems to do the job.

I planted some cucumber plants there and a number of different tomato plants.

They are doing amazingly well, I’m just waiting for the tomatoes to turn red. Once one of them goes, the others will follow.

Another thing I had to do on my plot was to build a new structure for my squashes. I had them climbing up on rather rustic structures last year but the combined effect of strong winds in the autumn and the weight of one of my Zucca da marmelata’s brought the whole thing crashing down.

The new structure is much more sturdy – lower but firmly fixed. It will be there for a few years. The first plants are beginning to climb and some have fruit already. I am watering and feeding almost every day. It will be worth it!

JELLY

What would have been a waste has been turned to something delicious, a savoury jelly.

It would have been a shame to waste the thinned-out apples, we have two kinds of yummy jelly. Perfect with cold meat or cheese….

THINNINGS

The June drop has been and gone and I have decided to thin out apples, not only on my trees but on my friend’s trees too.

They will boil down to a mush and then I will put them in a muslin bag and let it all drip during the night. It will make a very tasty jelly – perhaps with chilli or garlic or some herbs. Watch this space!