KEEPING FIT

I am sure that I have found the perfect way to keep fit – it works for me, anyway. It means that I have to walk a short distance to our allotment site, about five minutes away, lock the gate after myself and start working. As long as it doesn’t rain too much I can continue. If the soil should be too wet I would choose a different activity from digging.

Today was just ideal – a nice sunny and warm morning – I managed to do what I wanted to during the morning, the next job was left for the afternoon.

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This isn’t actually my plot, it belongs to a guy who isn’t very well so I dug it for him. I had an ulterior motive – I wanted to get rid of all the thistles before they finished flowering so we don’t get the seeds blown all over the site. Job done.

The afternoon session was work on my own plot, it was weeding one of my raspberry patches. I had to borrow a wheelie bin from one of my friends in the street as the ground was full of bindweed and that can’t go on the compost. I finished just in time, there were dark clouds gathering and when I got home it started raining.

CUTTING DOWN

Autumn is here and with it certain tasks that I enjoy. Yesterday I started with the line of loganberries and blackberries. They produced bowls of delicious fruit but now they just looked untidy. It didn’t take long and as I finished that I dug over the whole area; it is all ready now for next spring. I had potatoes here, not sure yet what I will plant or sow next year.

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Today’s job was the sorting out raspberries. Slightly more difficult – the bindweed was everywhere. I wanted to start cutting them down some time ago but they were still producing fruit. But I didn’t find any raspberries today so I started. After working on it the whole day I managed to clear about a third.

To be continued tomorrow, if the weather is kind to me.

HARVEST

It is all go on the allotment. This year the raspberries are amazing, I manage to pick a large box every other day. Not sure what I did but whatever it was it worked.

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The same goes for the red and white currants, beautiful. Here I know the reason, I did pamper all the fruit bushes in the fruit cage.

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I also had my first harvest of courgettes and french beans. Both are great, it is amazing how different the taste is when the fruit and vegetables are freshly picked.

 

 

But the biggest surprise are the aubergines. I always thought that they would be difficult to grow – not so. I had one plant last year and it produced some tasty fruit. This year I’m amazed how many I have. It seems that every seed I put in the soil germinated, I have aubergines in the greenhouse in the back garden and in both greenhouses.

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This is the biggest one so far. I have found a few good recipes and am looking forward to using them.

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Not bad for one aubergine. I’ll have to decide which recipe to use….

JAM

Here we go again – as soon as I started with the strawberry jam the raspberries began ripening. I am pleased to say that my jam is made as fast as can be done. I picked two kilo of raspberries partly yesterday and finished today and now the jam is ready.20200616_185237

Yesterday was the turn of the strawberries, just eight jars.

Today’s result is 13 jars, the colour is amazing and the taste couldn’t be better.

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This is when the hard work starts paying off, it is great to see the result.

 

11. MARCH

We have had some more rain so any more work on the soil is out of the question. Instead of that I was busy finishing jobs that were left, parts of my land were even neglected. One of these was a raspberry patch. It is away from my other plots, it is on a plot I was used to work on, I just have this raspberry area, a plum tree and a line of rhubarb. The neglect must have suited it, because just after clearing the weeds I discovered some super rhubarb, ready for picking and the five lines of raspberries. They were carefully planted in double rows, separated by little paths that were covered by a membrane (strips of unwanted pond liner).

It didn’t take very long and I had the plants trimmed, the dead wood cut out, paths cleared and some horse muck and contents of my composter bins spread all round the raspberry plants.

As I was working I had a very nice surprise – he/she must have been feeling quite cosy but then I came….

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I’m sure he’ll find another place to live.

After finishing for today I did my usual rounds, checking the trees and bushes. One of the old black currant bushes needed to have the big buds removed and that was when I noticed something on the old apple tree nearby.

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In the past I have been trying to rub the mistletoe berries into the bark but no luck.

Thank you birds!

2. MARCH

After the gales and downpours of the past few weeks it was quite pleasant today working in the sunshine. Blue skies and a gentle breeze, it was a welcome change. Fortunately I have done all my digging already so I could concentrate on maintenance. I managed to finish edging one path, ready for some more wood chip and then started clearing my large patch of raspberries, cutting them down. I usually do it in the autumn but I was too busy last year so left it for now. It will be interesting how they will fruit.

I picked my first rhubarb, not the forced one but the very early one – must be the earliest yet.

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To finish the activities I planted quite a number of lettuce seedlings – iceberg type – in the greenhouses. They should be fine, it feels nice and warm inside. It’ll be nice to have a fresh crunchy lettuce again.

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Another day of work tomorrow, must finish the raspberries and then I will need lots of patience to wait with sowing some more seeds.

RASPBERRIES…

….are ready. As I have just about finished my digging on the rest of the plot I can do jobs that I neglected in the past, like weeding the raspberry patch and spreading some horse muck there. Today was just the right day for it. I managed a half-day there yesterday, started the weeding and soon realised that there are many more weeds  than I thought. A lot of bindweed roots, they go on for ever and break as soon as you touch them – every new bit could potentially grow into another plant. I had to call a halt to it yesterday, it was getting dark but all the same, the days are getting longer, I came home at 4.45 pm so I was happy.

The plan was to finish the weeding today and then spread the manure. The whole area swallowed 7 sacks of the stuff – I had it ready. That means that next week I will be driving to the place in Corley and hope they have a lot of it bagged ready for me. Amazing how many sacks I can fit in my little Polo.

PATIENCE

I have a number of compost heaps on the allotment – and as I have three plots I have one at the end of each plot. So far I have turned two of these into new growing areas, because the soil there was just amazing, after 10 years in one case and about five in the other.

The latest project started yesterday when I uncovered the last heap – it was covered with an old carpet, just to stop nettles and suchlike growing on top. I was amazed – after five years the whole lot turned into a large pile of crumbly brown soil.

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As it is right at the end of the plot, behind the raspberry patch, that was the easiest solution – use the new soil as a mulch because this patch hasn’t been fertilised recently.

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I have cut them down and started emptying the heap. It was quite easy because when I constructed it I knew I would have to do this one day so I made my life easier. It worked. Surrounding wood taken off and a barrow after barrow was spread on the raspberries. Haven’t finished as yet – rain stopped play. Everything rotted down very well, all I found were some bindweed roots occasionally.

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All the same, I managed to start a bit of rebuilding, I needed to tidy it and also to widen the little path. There is a bit more to do with the last pile of compost, that one will stay as it is for quite a while, there is too much wood on top for it to be useful. But the side will need to be straightened.

Another day then.

3.OCTOBER

My plots were judged for the second time early in September, the usual in the city allotment competition. Now I can try and forget all about it as we won’t find out the result for some time. Today was one day that we didn’t have rain so I went down the allotment, just to see if there is anything else I could harvest. There always is!

My beetroot is just amazing – I can’t remember what I did to prepare the ground but it  worked. This is certainly the best harvest I have had in all my years growing veg there.

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Not just the beetroot, it is everything else – the last of the sweetcorn, runner beans, giant carrots and the best of all – raspberries! These are the autumn fruiting variety and they keep on giving.

Getting the second greenhouse certainly was worth it – another generous picking of tomatoes.

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You can’t beat a home-made tomato soup!

LATE RASPBERRIES

An amazing harvest! I planted just a few canes of Autumn treasure about three years ago and this is their best year so far. The canes are around 5 ft tall so picking the fruit is very easy. And the berries are huge.

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They are very tasty, there is a lot more to come.