This is another two day effort, purely for the reason that as soon as I finished planting the courgettes it started raining. I was glad, it saved me the effort of watering it all but I wasn’t able to take any photos. I knew the job needed finishing so today first thing in the morning I took the rest of the squashes and pumpkin plants to the allotment and finished the job, including the photos.
There will be two pumpkins in the small area at the very end of the plot with my little apple tree. Even with some potatoes there they’ll have enough space and I’m hoping for a good harvest.
I have used every inch of the land, even the narrow strip around my little greenhouse, the courgettes will be fine and if they need to run, there is room on the paths.
After lunch and a little rest I went back to plant my sunflowers. They are getting quite tall so they need to go to their permanent position and be tied to a stick. The ground had a sack of horse muck forked in and I hope it’ll help them to grow well. After all, these are the competition ones so may the best sunflower win!
The weather forecast was quite accurate last night – rain. It did rain, it was the kind of rain I quite like, gentle. I needed that on the allotment, our soil drains very well and we had a few dry and windy days.
I was working in the big greenhouse in the garden today. I have had this greenhouse for a fair number of years and I think this year it is just about the best – everything is neat and labelled.
As the weather is so unpredictable and I don’t want to plant my onion sets too early when the ground is cold and wet I thought I’ll start them in trays and when I’m quite sure they would be fine I’ll plant them out. By then they should have developed nice roots.
First of all I thought my tomatoes didn’t germinate so I sowed some more and now I have got enough to plant up a small farm. I don’t mind I have so many, I know they can stay outside and produce good tomatoes – I have got a sheltered position all ready for them. Some of the more delicate will have to be in the greenhouses, same as the peppers and aubergines.
The rest of the seedlings are squashes, courgettes, a few pumpkins – one or two are the ghost ones, it’ll be interesting to see them among the others. I have both green peas and carlin peas – these will have to go inside the large net cage otherwise the pigeons would strip them.
Of course I have to allow some space for beans – no idea how I’ll manage that. Maybe this year I’ll wait till the weather is really mild and sow them directly where I want them to grow. Sweetcorn is another thing, I will have to start it in the greenhouse but by then I’m hoping some of the pumpkins or courgettes might have moved out.
I have also started some nasturtiums inside, I’d like a good mix of colours on the allotment and also in the back garden. I’ll save my seeds for next year.
Even though it was a lovely sunny autumn day I decided to change my plans and instead of going to work on the allotment I started baking first thing in the morning. It was a loaf, this one is an overnight loaf, I don’t have to kneed it, just scrape the dough into the loaf tin in the morning and after it has risen again, bake it. It always works, it makes a very tasty loaf.
Next I made two cottage pies. I went to my favourite butcher shop yesterday and got some mince. I had all the other ingredients and even though the preparation takes a while, it is worth the effort.
As the mince was cooking I got two apple cakes mix ready and baked these while we had our lunch.
The apples are from the allotment, we’ve got a few communal fruit trees and they were laden with fruit. I’ve got no idea what variety they are. I use them in cooking but they are equally nice to eat raw.
After lunch we went for a short walk and on the way back we stopped at the allotment. I wanted to collect my pumpkins, they look ripe but I knew I couldn’t manage to carry them home by myself.
They are not big but feel very heavy. It’ll be a challenge to do some clever carving.
It was a clean-up time in the last few days on the allotment. I knew that I took my eyes off the weeds in the corner of one of my plots but when I actually got down to it I was in for a shock. The stinging nettles did very well and filled the space between my net tunnel and the enclosure for discarded pieces of wood and unwanted items.
In the end it was quite therapeutic to hack at the nettles and pile them on the compost heap. During this process I rediscovered another composter bin and that was the best surprise – it was full of beautiful crumbly soil. It must have been there a good few years, I kept adding to it but never emptied it. It reinforced my resolution to leave these bins as long as possible, it pays off.
Of course it followed that I would sort out inside the net tunnel. I have blackcurrants there and as they are still young I had some free space – enough to plant a couple of squashes. These did very well and I harvested one already, it will ripen at home. There are a couple more, a bit smaller so they can stay a while longer.
Because I had a pepper plant in one of my grow beds in the home greenhouse and wanted to use it for something else I harvested the fruit. I have never seen such misshapen peppers before and I haven’t tasted them to see if they are hot or sweet.
They all grew on the same plant and by the looks of the ‘normal’ ones I guess they’ll be hot.
During my daily visit I managed to pick some more tomatoes, some cucumbers and put more lids and suchlike under the growing pumpkins and squashes. Needless to say I had to keep up with the weeds – if everything grew as well as the weeds….
I’m delighted with the cucumbers, they are very tasty and it looks the plant will keep on producing. The long shiny peppers will turn red eventually, they are the long sweet variety. Another first for me in the greenhouse. I must be doing something right….
I think it is just about the right time to harvest my beauties, I don’t want to lose them to frost. All of them did well, Tromboncino, Zucca Hubbard, Zucca da marmelata and, of course, my Maltese pumpkin
Despite the very dry period my monsters seem to be getting bigger. One of the Zucca da marmelata fruits increased so much I had to create a support for it, I don’t want to lose it too soon, before being fully ripe. I hope it’ll hold it.
There is one more monster but I don’t think I shall try to do anything, hope for the best.
My very own Maltese pumpkin – well, one of a few – let’s see what he’ll manage.