The lovely weather continues and I still have lots to do. The first job today was to cut the grass on the path – again! It feels the grass grows too quickly, we had no rain but it is rather warm, even during the night. When that was done I did another boring job, filling the water butts. With no rain the levels went down very fast so I did all of mine. That should keep me going for a while.
Actually that was all I managed to do in the morning but I came back after lunch and planted the leeks I bought a few days ago in a garden centre. My seeds didn’t germinate at all and these were just enough for me. I’m still using the garden vouchers that Kim gave me , a very generous gift that I appreciate greatly.
After that I started hoeing the piece of ground where the courgettes and squashes will go. I cleared it some weeks ago but some weeds came back and it got a bit compacted so I made a start. I’ll be planting it all bit by bit.
The next job was to put some horse muck by the loops where the tromboncinos and butternut squashes will go. It has been in the corner in bags since last year and when we picked it it was already at least a year old so it is not going to burn the roots.
As I was spreading the muck I put it around the beans already in the ground and by the new wigwams where I’m going to have more climbing beans,
There is a little square of land in the very back of my plot, it was just an overgrown patch, full of nettles. I think the previous gardener used it as a compost heap because when I eventually cleared all the nettles I found the soil lovely and rich. I had different vegetables there over the years until last year I planted an apple tree in the middle and grew some potatoes. I must’ve left some in the ground when I was harvesting them so I just earthed them up now and will have a bit more to harvest in the autumn. In the next few days I’ll plant some pumpkins there they’ll have enough room to run.
I have also used three metal parts of an old trampoline my friend gave me, made a little wigwam and this will be for the butternut squashes.
By the time they climb up it won’t be too obvious what it was.
The weather forecast for today wasn’t very encouraging, showers mainly in the afternoon. But I have decided to go to the allotment in the afternoon to plant some more tomatoes in the greenhouses and get the land ready for more climbing beans. In the end the afternoon was beautiful, sunny and warm and I was able to weed the whole of my orchard and the ground where the collapsed net tunnel was. I will put the climbing beans there, the ground is quite rich. I found some more bean poles, made a row and a wigwam and behind it placed three of the plastic poles that formed the sides of the old net tunnel. They bend quite well and will be for my butternut squashes and tromboncino to climb on.
I didn’t manage to grow either of these last year and now I have got at least three of each variety. I’ve got more of the plastic poles, I’ll erect some more over the weekend.
Two of my greenhouses are planted up with tomatoes, there are still some radishes in one of them. These did amazingly well, this is the first time I managed to grow them successfully.
I have got quite a few tomato plants left at home so I’ll be taking them there bit by bit. I have decided to keep the pepper and aubergine plants in the greenhouse at home, I’ll plant them in some large pots, they’ll be just fine on the benches and even on the floor.
Everything is growing rapidly – all that rain and a warm day in between, no surprise there. Best of all are doing the weeds.
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
At last the temperature is a bit easier to work on the allotment, however my activities are rather curtailed. I have great plans on the way there – I’ll do the weeding here, collect the cut branches there etc. It is the same every time I go there and it always finishes in the same way – only a fraction of jobs get done. Take today. I was hoping to get on with watering all the plants in the four greenhouses but when I got to the farm I noticed that the blackberries had turned black overnight. I wanted to make some jam so I decided to pick them first and then do the other jobs. This didn’t take too long and I had two full boxes quite quickly.
As I started watering the greenhouses I realised the tomatoes needed picking as well, even though I had a large bag of them a couple of days ago. Another little delay but well worth it, I could make more pasta sauce because I also picked a handful of sweet chillies in yet another greenhouse.
After that I finally got going with the watering and after that came a few more jobs – cutting off some of the tomato foliage and tying the plants to their sticks, weeding inside the greenhouses and here I thought – how come the weeds always grow so well, even if the plants I want growing are struggling. There must be some kind of logic here but I can’t see it.
I was slowly getting round to all the jobs I wanted to do, even managed to harvest some runner beans and other climbing beans. I wanted to make more pasta sauce, this time a mix of tomatoes, peppers and the beans. It all together made a huge potful and I have kept one portion for us for tomorrow’s lunch, the rest is already bottled in my Kilner jars. All will be very nice in the middle of the winter.
As the last thing in the evening I made the jam. I had more than enough so I got two Kilner jars of blackberries as well as all the jam. I’d better slow down a bit with the jam making, there isn’t much storage space left and I’m beginning to run out of empty jam jars.
There are very dark clouds overhead and I’m hoping we might get some rain at night. I think I will work in the back garden at home tomorrow, and I must catch up.
I usually grow broad beans every year, sow them in the middle of October and hope that the mice are not going to eat every single one. This year it worked, the plants grew well and overwintered fine. We didn’t have a hard winter so all was ready in March to get going. I had to prop the plants up, they grew quite tall and some of them flopped over. In the end they looked good, flowered well and only some of them got attacked by the dreaded blackfly. I pinched the soft tips and that helped. I was quite surprised today when I saw a lot of very nice pods. I like to pick the few early ones when they are quite small, the beans inside are just about visible. I use them whole, just chop them into small pieces and use them in my favourite soup – chunky vegetable one. Anything and everything goes in and I finish it with some Orzo pasta, serve with either my bread or a garlic baguette.
I also grow climbing beans, these are still in the greenhouse starting to sprout. I have toyed with the idea of sowing them directly in the ground but again thought of the mice. There was room in the greenhouse in the back garden so I’m doing it this way.
The best surprise came in the evening, as I was thinking that I should move some of my large flower pots close to the pond, stand them on the edge so the heron wouldn’t be able to perch there. The pots have got big hostas in and the one large pot I was hoping to move has one of my Himalayan lilies in. I didn’t know if it would flower this year, they only do it every few years. Last time I had a flower on it was in May 2018 ( I checked it in the blog). I was rather surprised to see two buds on stems so that will be an extra showpiece by the pond.
The slugs like the leaves as much as they like hosta leaves so I’ll have to think of some protection.
Everything on the allotment is doing well and as the weather is nice ( the forecast is good for the next number of days) I decided to plant out my sunflower plants. These are the Johnson competition sunflowers, they were in flowerpots on the veranda so they were ready to go out. I gained a strip of ground between two of my greenhouses, they will be sheltered there and it should be a bit warmer too.
I also dug some rich compost in before planting three sunflowers, supported with a cane.
I had more plants, they were not so big and I just placed them randomly here and there, it’ll brighten the plot, all 12 of them.
The strawberries are flowering very well, I even saw some fruit on the plants and I’m sure the birds have spotted it as well. That meant my next job was to cover all the raised beds. I have got the nets for the job, the biggest problem is to remember which net goes where. The beds are not all the same size but I think I have managed.
I will have a little break now as the next vegetables will be all kinds of climbing beans and courgettes and squashes. These are now in seed trays and are already sprouting. There is also sweetcorn – first of all I thought I’d wait for the weather to warm up even more and sow them in the ground directly but there was the possibility of mice eating the seed. Better be safe, there was room in the big greenhouse in the back garden.
Every year I grow a lot of climbing beans. Not just runner beans but a lot of different ones. They are all nice to eat fresh, just as we pick them – best are steamed (I always steam all my vegetables, that way nothing gets lost). But after the last two summers, where I constructed the usual double lines of bean poles joined at the top and they got knocked over in the sudden high mid-summer winds, I decided to change the set up. This time I erected only a single line of beanpoles and joined them by two levels of horizontals and also placed them beside my greenhouse and the net cage, that way they’ll be sheltered.
And the work goes on. It was another nice day today and I had a lot to do. Unfortunately our dustmen are on strike and today was the last occasion where they emptied the household bins. Recycling stopped a while ago and I’m not sure when it will start again. The garden recycling is no problem as yet, nothing needs doing in the garden and anything else that I would prune I’d burn. Not really environment friendly but I have started burning cardboard boxes etc in my ancient chimenea. It has got a crack all the way down but as it is in a metal three legged stand, that holds it together.
After I finished burning the last batch of boxes I went to the allotment, it was too nice not to go. I took all the ashes from the chimenea down there and put it on my compost. Then it was the turn of strawberry beds. I didn’t do very much with them in the last few years so I had a good clear out. A couple of the beds I re-did completely and the others I just thinned out. There is just one left so that’ll be for another day.
I have decided to grow climbing beans beside my latest greenhouse so I spread a couple of large sacks of the lovely rich soil from the cannabis factory (September 2021). It will provide a nice shelter for them.
Weeds are plants that are in the wrong place – I’m sure they think they’re just lovely. I have a continuous battle with them – but not everywhere on the plot. One part I was able to prepare for planting garlic just by hoeing, there were almost none there. Another one, like inside the fruit cage was a morning job, they were very stubborn and plentiful. I’m delighted to say that all is fine in that fruit cage.
When I first started working on my plot I had to do a lot of digging – it was overgrown and all the stuff I cleared I deposited at the very back. That was 12 years ago. Amazingly this bit of ground is in use now, I tried to clear it a couple of years ago and it certainly was well worth it. This year it was a home for some Borlotti beans and a few courgette plants, Zephyr.
The soil here is amazing, rich and crumbly and this time forking it over was very easy, hardly any weeds and certainly no bindweed roots. I think I’ve cracked it.
Next to do was the little area close to my oldest greenhouse. It is right at the beginning of that plot and was always rather mixed. It has a line of blackberries and loganberries there, a couple of pear trees, an apple and a damson. The apple tree is a miniature, Elstar, but it had so many apples that I had to prop the branches up. The damson was only a thin stick given away years ago when I went with my son and his wife to an open day in their local garden. It even had a few damsons on this year but I didn’t do anything with them. I’ll wait till the harvest is bigger.
The first piece of land that I cleared after the harvest was under a number of bags of the reclaimed potting compost from the cannabis growing house and a large number of big flower pots. Once I managed to put the soil in some stronger bags and moved them next to the nearest greenhouse and stacked the pots there as well, I was able to sow my broad beans here. They germinated very well and I’m glad I protected them with some sweetcorn stems, just so the birds or squirrels wouldn’t be tempted to pull them out. I think it worked.