IN FULL SWING

It is harvest time!

As it is so hot these days I started going to the allotment quite early in the morning. The plan is that I will either water the most needy plants with the hose or, on alternate days, feed the ‘special cases’ either with the seaweed extract, comfrey tea or the liquid from my wormery.

It was the turn of the comfrey tea. My, does it stink!! And the smell seems to linger close to the ground, so when I was bending down, I got a good whiff of it. Never mind, the squashes love it!

I managed to pick another large box of strawberries, pulled out a lovely bunch of carrots and a few nice beetroot.

yesterday was a day to thin out the gooseberries…..

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…and I was pleased I had this lovely lot.

Got them home and in no time made a very tasty gooseberry and mint jelly. Goes a treat with cold meat, cheese or a quiche.

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As I was picking the gooseberry I also noticed that the currants are almost ready. That’s the beauty of having the fruit bushes in the net cage – I can take my time picking them, not like in the past where it was a competition between me and the birds. Guess who lost??

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Another benefit of net cages is the ease of growing brassicas. It was the same story in the past – try to stop the birds nibbling the leaves of the young plants so there was hardly anything left. I thought they wouldn’t like kohl rabi. I was wrong. So now the kohl rabi grows in the net cage and nothing gets at it and I can enjoy the fruits of my labour.

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NEW HARVEST – NEW JAM

I have managed to stop – well almost – the thieving squirrels by protecting my strawberry bed with nets, I knew why I planted them in all four raised beds – very easy to fix the nets over. Work is going ahead to move more strawberry plants into the new beds after the harvest. The squirrels were very persistent!

Never mind, all is well and the other day I picked 2 kg of lovely strawberries. The next day there were 13 jars of delicious jam – summer in a jar!

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ALL IN ORDER

Amazing what a day of rain can do – it seems that everything has doubled in size. I thought I had the weeding under control but how wrong was I!!

There was nothing else but get down to it and weed….and weed again. As a result I have got very nice and regimented rows of carrots, beetroot and broad beans. Potatoes are usually in order but even the humble spuds are quite orderly.

The next job was to construct a couple of frames for my next year strawberry beds. I had this idea that I’d surround an area of land with planks of wood and next year I would grow strawberries there – much easier to protect – just throw a net over the whole structure.

I was lucky, my friend on the site had an asparagus bed that he no longer wanted. It was a quick job to dismantle the whole thing and install it on my plot! Exactly as I wanted!

 

NEW STRAWBERRIES

My friend Eva will leave our allotments next year, she will be returning with her husband to her home in Hungary. I know she’s looking forward to it but I shall miss her. She very kindly offered me her strawberry plants.

Today was the day for the move. The bed was ready, I heaped loads of very rich compost on it some time ago and yesterday just hoed it and got it ready for planting.

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After that it was just a question of moving the plants from Eva’s plot and planting them in the new bed.

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They will have the whole winter to settle in and in the spring and summer – watch this space!

Thank you very much Eva.

JAM

Another summer, another load of jam – my strawberries have started and after eating the first picking I decided to make some jam. All the last year’s jam is gone; I had everything ready and thanks to¬† Certo the result is as good as ever. There will be more later, my strawberries are a mix of very early ones and some later varieties.001

I decided to cover the strawberry beds with nets because we seem to have a lot of magpies there and they like to pick the fruit – they don’t always eat what they pick, they just drop it on the ground. I think that has helped but it is rather tiring to keep lifting the net and then fixing it over the bed again. Later in the autumn I’m thinking of putting some of the strawberry plants in one of my net cages, the one in a very sunny spot, that’ll make it easier to look after them and keep the birds out too, even the squirrels. I’ve got enough of the net cages to do this (even if I should think that I might need to build another one, after all the effort of constructing all my cages it should be a piece of cake!)

NEW HARVEST

Despite the poor spring everything grew and prospered and today was the first day I harvested some broad beans and strawberries.

The beans have been sheltering in one of the raised beds and I’m sure that is the reason they did so well. This is only a fraction of what I’m going to get in the end.

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I had to start my strawberries again as the beds I had were over four years old and I could see that the harvests were getting smaller towards the end. I’m sure it was worth it. again, despite the weather the strawberries are sweet and juicy and it looks a bumper harvest. More jam, anybody?004

OFF WE GO AGAIN…

Another end of February, another start of growing! I’m getting a bit better because in the past I started sowing seeds much too early, and too many of them at once. Never too late to learn.

First of all I had to sort out the greenhouse. It is an unheated one so plants hibernate there quite nicely. My kafir lime liked it and looks rather well. I had a good harvest of yacon tubers, also of the growing little tubers, they were put into pts and kept almost dry in the greenhouse. By the looks of it they survived well. I moved them out into the veranda so that they can get used to colder weather.

Now I know they do well on the allotment, they’ll go there again this year and I hope for another good harvest.

After this it was down to the real job in the greenhouse, sowinh some seeds.

I did a tray with some Red iceberg lettuce, Lakeland lettuce and some chinese leaves. The next tray is a selection of different tomatoes. I’m growing outdoor varieties because they’ll go in some of my net cages. I found that it seems to protect them from blight and as the net is very fine it feels a bit warmer inside too.

Last but not least I sorted out my strawberries. I’m hoping that they will flower earlier and we shall have some tasty early fruit. If not, nothing is lost, I shall plant them on the allotment and grow something else in the box.

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BOTTLED SUMMER

I always wanted to have a house with a walk-in larder or a pantry, I don’t have either and I can see the reason in having one of these. I’m running out of space to store my produce.

This is the result of my efforts from last night and today – bottled red and white currants, raspberries and strawberry and raspberry jam. I’m sure my Grandma would be very happy with my efforts, she always bottled and preserved everything Grandad grew on his plot. I’m sure I’ve inherited their genes!

In the winter we can all have a taste of summer on our plate!

The strawberry harvest was 26 kg up to and including yesterday. The first 3 beds are almost empty, I shall take the nets off to give the birds a bit of treat but I have one more bed close to the shed and that one is just starting to produce fruit.

More strawberries, here we come!

You can’t have too much of a good thing.

SERIOUS HARVEST

I went away for a few days to the Lakes – last friday to be precise. My friend has kindly offered to water the polytunnel on the allotment – nothing else is really vulnerable, everything is in the open and can look after itself.

Had a great time there, did some gardening – different kind, flowers this time. I do have flowers in my back garden but this was more organised, herbaceous borders etc. Fortunately the weather was kind and I got a lot done.

Came home on Tuesday 30th June soon after 1pm and after a short rest went to the allotment.

Amazing amount of fruit – 3 kg of strawberries, a full box of raspberries, red currants and white currants.

I also picked a big bunch of very fragrant sweet peas. They are great this year after I planted them inside my fruit cage, the birds can’t peck them and the stems are nice and straight.