3.OCTOBER

My plots were judged for the second time early in September, the usual in the city allotment competition. Now I can try and forget all about it as we won’t find out the result for some time. Today was one day that we didn’t have rain so I went down the allotment, just to see if there is anything else I could harvest. There always is!

My beetroot is just amazing – I can’t remember what I did to prepare the ground but it  worked. This is certainly the best harvest I have had in all my years growing veg there.

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Not just the beetroot, it is everything else – the last of the sweetcorn, runner beans, giant carrots and the best of all – raspberries! These are the autumn fruiting variety and they keep on giving.

Getting the second greenhouse certainly was worth it – another generous picking of tomatoes.

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You can’t beat a home-made tomato soup!

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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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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IT WILL BE A GREAT HARVEST….

…if these few courgettes, french beans and peas are anything to go by.

I’ve got a number of courgette plants and after last night’s rain they suddenly sprung to life and here we are!

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I grew some garden peas last year and made one big mistake – I didn’t protect them. Of course I didn’t have any as the pigeons were enjoying them too much. This year I sowed all my peas in one of my net cages and the result is here for all to see. They were just too nice to cook them so we just ate them straight out of the pod. I’ve got an idea for next year – I shall grow them again in a cage but this time I shall sow them close to sweetcorn plants and these can be their support. There’s an old method of growing things – ‘three sisters – usually runner beans planted close to sweetcorn and all that underplanted with squashes. Well, the way my squashes grow I wouldn’t be able to walk there so It’ll be just ‘two sisters’.

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And finally, I also harvested my first french beans. I like the climbing ones – much easier to pick!

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A VERY LATE HARVEST

As ever I grew something new – for me at least – this year. It was cape gooseberry. I knew this fruit but never got the seeds to grow them. Today I picked the first few ripe ones and I must say that I’ll certainly grow them again. I’ve already allocated the space for them for next year.

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The next little surprise was sweetcorn. I grew about 10 plants and harvested them already. But as mine were growing tall I found some small plants suddenly coming up in a little group – thanks to our resident squirrel I had extra sweetcorn plants. He hid his stolen cobs but forgot where he put them! Thanks to the mild weather I managed to get very tasty cobs – these are the last ones. I steam them and because they’re so young I can eat the whole lot. Very tasty indeed.

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And this is, I think, the last of my raspberry harvests – if the weather stays like this I might get a few more late raspberries – very sweet, yummy indeed.

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SOMETHING UNUSUAL

I always try to grow something new and unusual every year. If it doesn’t work or we don’t like the taste – that one will bite the dust and I’ll try something else next year. This year was the turn of a new pumpkin – zucca da marmellata. I was amazed how well the plant grew and I also made it climb, it managed very well. This one will come back next year; I’d like to save my own seeds too.

Another ‘first’ is the sweetcorn. I had a go in the past but it either didn’t grow well at all or the squirrels ate it. This time I put a net all around it, also over it so nothing could get there. And it was worth it!

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So altogether ‘ a good day in the office’.