CLEARING UP

I was hoping the weather would be kind to me today, yesterday was fine but first thing in the morning the sky was very grey and just as I was thinking of going to the allotment it started drizzling. Fortunately I started making more blankets, not the baby ones this time, I’m making large ones, either to throw over on the bed or wrap over your knees on a chilly winter’s day so I had something to keep me busy in the morning.

Everything improved after lunch and I was able to get to my ‘farm’. I’m continuing with my no-dig policy and it works just fine, the ground is reasonably weed free to start with and it takes much less effort.

Having finished this part I have only my orchard to do on this plot and that won’t be too difficult, I keep it quite tidy most of the time. I have got two more plots to do but one of them is almost done – there are four greenhouses on it, a raspberry patch and a line of composter bins so that won’t take too much time either. On the last plot I have three net cages, a number of rows of parsnips and carrots so all in all things are looking up.

I’m putting the greenhouses to sleep for the winter but there are a few things in one of them. I am very pleased with my red pepper, it is the very first time I managed to grow them.

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PARSNIPS

Today is November 21st and the parsnip harvest is in full flow. I have pulled out the rest of the carrots yesterday, just in time I think because they don’t tolerate the wet conditions so well but parsnips are altogether different.

We have had some super parsnips before but some of the ones I brought home today are among the best. They don’t look quite perfect but they are huge, and what is even better and more important, the taste is super.

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BIG IS BEAUTIFUL

I thought I would get a few parsnips and some butternut squashes today. The parsnips are not quite straight but the taste is fantastic. It doesn’t matter that they are crooked, they’ll be peeled and cut up anyway.20201009_123002

The butternut squashes looked ready, the leaves and stem of the plant were quite dry so I started to cut them and will bring them home, each day a few. They are surprisingly heavy. 20201009_123010

One of them will be for our lunch tomorrow, roasted with some spices and Halloumi cheese. I have also found a very interesting breakfast recipe, we shall try it tomorrow and either it will be just delicious or ….

8.APRIL

It was a beautiful day today, just like a summer’s day so I decided to make a day of it. I made myself a flask of coffee, took a couple of slices of the bread I made yesterday, bottle of water and a banana and went to the allotment. I wanted to do a lot there and I think I managed. I finished sowing parsnips and carrots and also planted four rows of second early potatoes.

All this took quite a while, the ground was really dry and hard. I never thought I would be wishing for rain.

After a short break I continued with parsnip sowing – we shall have six lines of them. This year I took my time and sowed the seeds very slowly, fairly thinly so I wouldn’t need to thin the seedlings out. It worked and I made one packet of seeds go rather far. Then I did three more rows of carrots so all in all we shall have plenty of vegetables.

As the last job in the afternoon I decided to tackle the newly erected polytunnel.

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This was the sight that opened before me. Not very encouraging but everything is manageable.

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This is the better look, after turning the lawn-like surface over. The plan is to get to it tomorrow and clean out all the roots and clumps of grass, then spread a couple of sacks of horse muck, dig it in and wait for the right time to plant some cucumbers there.

CONTINUATION

I started working on this plot yesterday, did quite a lot and knew that the hard graft will have to continue. I was secretly hoping that I’d be able to finish digging this patch today.

I had to construct one more bean wigwam, that finished the line very neatly.

After doing this, some hard digging was due. I already had a strip of land ready for planting leeks – there was used to be a line of raspberries (altogether in the wrong place but I inherited it like that). They were getting past their best so I didn’t mind getting rid of them. I put loads of horse manure there, the soil was a bit starved and the leeks will do well in there.

Everything else is done on this patch, it will be parsnips and perhaps carrots, if I have some space left. I have got some land earmarked for carrots already but you can’t have too many…

I was glad I started nice and early today – soon after 9am – it was 12.20 when I finished and I allowed myself only a short coffee break.

To be continued tomorrow, there is more land to be got ready – after all, I have got three and half plots…..

It keeps me sane

END OF DECEMBER

I am amazed that I still have some carrots to harvest. I know that parsnips and leeks are fine left in the ground but not carrots. Well, I went down to my ‘farm’ yesterday, the weather was very nice, dry and mild, it was quite easy to dig out some more carrots. I had to stop myself from digging as I thought I wouldn’t manage to take it all home. Fortunately Frank came to my rescue and we had two full large bags of carrots to take home. They are not perfect but not bad either. Very tasty they are!

There were some purple and yellow carrots among my harvest and I remembered that my friend gave me a packet of mixed seeds. The purple ones were completely free of any blemish, no carrot fly damage, altogether pristine. The yellow ones were the same as the usual orange ones. I decided to get a packet of purple seeds, put the theory to test. We shall see. Mr Fothergill company has them, they are Purple Haze. Watch this space next year, they are on order.

The leeks are doing well this year too, I have been harvesting them regularly and I still have quite a lot in the ground. The same with parsnips. I know they don’t look perfect but they more than make up for it in taste.

WONDERFUL VEGETABLES

I went to my ‘farm’ today first thing in the morning as the forecast said rain. As it happened, it was quite correct but I managed to do everything I wanted. It started to rain as I was going home.

First of all I put three bags of horse manure on each of my freshly dug pieces of land – I plan to grow sweetcorn there next year and then I harvested some veg for my friend next door.

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The soil is great, hardly any weeds.

I also managed to dig in my new little orchard where I grew all squashes and pumpkins so that land is ready for next year too. I have to decide what to grow there next year.

Each time I pull some carrots and parsnips I wonder how I managed to grow them so big. I have been on the allotment for 10 years now and this is just about the best result!

WINTER ACTIVITIES…

…are very useful. Apart from a few parsnips still in the ground all my digging is done. It is maintenance time now. The second greenhouse is done, beds are ready to start growing so now I have to get down to repairs etc.

This path was always to be the next one to sort out. It is between two of my plots so it is important that I can walk there without being afraid that I’ll slip.

I had some more pieces of wood left (most likely salvaged from someone’s demolition of a bed), they were just the right size to support the edges and the rest was easy. We’re in the process of having the trees at the back of the site, outside the new-ish fence trimmed to the height of the fence and at the same time we have the wood chip deposited in the top corner of the site, on an unused plot. A win – win solution.

WINTER DIG

After a few days of rain today was a reasonably dry day. Quite a mild day so after sorting the kitchen out – as quickly as possible – I went to the allotment. I managed to do quite a bit of digging during the autumn and there are only a few patches left. I’m happy with the piece I did today, during this found a good few parsnips and now the ground is ready.

There’s only one net cage to sort out and gradually harvest the remaining parsnips and I’m ready.

Of course, there is the greenhouse to build – a winter challenge. Watch this space!