HARVEST

I started lifting my potatoes today and was very pleasantly surprised. I only planted the small left-over potatoes from my harvest last year. I didn’t buy any seed potatoes and these prove it to me that it can be done.

This is only one row – and I have another seven to lift. I think we shall have enough potatoes to see us through the winter.

I started harvesting my sweetcorn as well – we had it for lunch the other day – just simply steamed, served with butter. Totally delicious.

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POTATOES

At last! The weather seems fine – I know a change is coming and I hope it won’t be too great but I thought it was time to plant my potatoes.

The ground was prepared and it took just a few hours in the morning to get the job done.

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I didn’t buy any seed potatoes, just used my own from last year. They were really tasty so I shall have them again this year.

Also I sowed a number of lines of beetroot, one half the usual round ones and the other one the long cylindrical ones. That’s just a start, I shall continue in a few days with more beetroot. You can’t have too many!

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ALL GO

It all seems to go well, hope I don’t speak too soon. I was able to work on the allotment quite a lot these last few days and it looks rather good. I still think that the weeds have got it in for me – as soon as I have finished one patch I have to go and start again.

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Started earthing up the potatoes, they are looking good –  if all fails we shall have spuds. I am glad I moved my strawberries into my huge raised beds. They are protected and all are flowering well, just hope we don’t get any late frost.

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It is not only fruit and veg but also some flowers. I am trying to have as many as I can to encourage the bees and I think it works.

SUNNY DAY

I was reading my notes from last year, trying to see how behind I am with my planting. The result? At least two weeks. Never mind, my activity on Wednesday and today (18th and 20th April) almost caught up with last year.

One more plot finished, of course the same goes for this one as for the first one – the net cages are empty but the greenhouse in the back garden is filling up with seedlings that I will start transplanting as soon as the weather stabilises.

There are parsnips, strawberries, broad beans, globe artichokes, garlic and potatoes on this plot and one pear tree and two apple trees. The fig tree in front of the shed is doing well and my plan is to plant some more rooted cuttings of the fig there as well thus creating a little orchard. Who would have guessed that I would be able to grow and harvest figs!

THE WEATHER

It is very frustrating this year. I was convinced that spring was here, my digging was getting done and I had plans what seeds to sow. Mother nature had a different idea and now I am stuck in, frustrated, unable to do anything. They are Marfona, Swift and British Queen.

Old egg boxes come very useful for this and in the end they can be torn up and put in the composter bins so nothing gets wasted.

WASTE NOT,WANT NOT

After I harvested my onions and garlic I dug the land and thought – wonder if I could plant something here. Considering it was the end of July – 29th to be exact – I was lucky. Simon had 2 trays of chitted Wija potatoes and didn’t have time or space to plant them. I thought I might have a go as I did something similar a number of years ago. That time I actually bought some potatoes advertised as suitable for planting late so they would be ready for Christmas. I planted 4 rows and they grew very well. unfortunately blight struck when the tops were really lush green and big. I cut the whole lot off and hoped for the best. I eased a few potatoes out the other day and my strategy worked!

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I treated them exactly the same way as I did the new potatoes in the early summer – just scrubbed them clean and steamed them. Served with sprinkling of salt, black pepper, butter and chopped chives. Quite delicious. I’ve got high hope to have them at Christmas.

 

RESULTS

The weather is helping – sudden spell of warm weather and everything is doing very well. Of course we have to protect things like cabbages against twin attack from pigeons and cabbage white but it is worth it!

The same goes for sweetcorn – protection not against pigeons but squirrels – they cause havoc on the allotment. I decided to try to grow sweetcorn inside my large cabbage cage and it has worked!

I started growing in my new greenhouse a bit late but my cucumber plant managed against the odds…

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…and next year will be great, I can see that now.

Last job yesterday. after harvesting 2 large sacks of potatoes was planting two new strawberry beds. I decided to do it this way, it’ll be easier to throw the net over to protect the crop against the birds.

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The main potatoes are harvested but the late ones, to be ready for Christmas (I hope), are doing very well. I had to earth them up and will be putting the fertiliser on very soon.

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THE LATEST HARVEST

As ever, my unusual plants didn’t let me down.

My long green wonder is Dutch croockneck – I knew it as Tromboncino. Never mind, it is very tasty roasted. The yellow ball is my favourite Zucca da marmelata. This is only a juvenile – 4lb. Last year the biggest one was 14lb. Again, very good roasted.

I did an experiment – somebody had some chitted potatoes left from the spring planting. A very good variety – Wilja. As I had a recently cleared piece of land after harvesting onions I decided to chance it and plant them to be ready for Christmass. I did this a couple of years ago and it worked. I’ll have to keep an eye on the weather and cover them if it gets too cold. Hopefully new potatoes for our Christmass dinner.

 

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!

 

VERY FIRST NEW POTATOES

At last! I was hoping that I might be lucky – I planted some Swift potatoes in a few bucket and kept them in the back garden. I tried my luck today and the result is very pleasing. This is not the whole harvest, I just managed to pull out some, just to give us a taste.

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There are many more on the allotment so we can look forward to a few tasty dinners.