Tuesday 12th September 2006 - Weather: warm but overcast
Cor did it rain on the school run, came down like stair rods! However, by the time I arrived at the allotment, the sun was trying to break through the clouds, and I could see blue sky. The plan for today was to clean up plot number 2, the home of the pumpkin patch, spuds, toms and beans.
Weeded around the leeks first, and then went on to dig the pink fir apple spuds as their foliage has been dead now for a good few weeks. Quite a dissappointing harvest really. No big knobbly bobbly spuds like last year. Drought I guess. I will grow them again next year as I really do love them, and they keep so very well. I still have the edzell blues in, which I will probably clear next visit.
The beans are having a second wind, and I was able to pick quite a bundle. Will have to do a 'proper' dinner tomorrow. I will keep the beans up until the frosts. Hopefully there will be another good few pickings.
The, into the tomato mayhem. Wow they have grown. Blight has struck, but only on the plum toms, which is very odd! I was able to pick alicante, orange berry, white beauty, reisentraube, gardeners delight, sweet million, omar lebanese, golden green, and galina. Also picked the okay green plums which I will cook into something interesting. It took me a good couple of hours to sort through the jungle. I removed at least half the leaves from all the plants, and cut the tops out at the point just above a good developed truss of fruits. I also cut out any side shoots, and iffy looking leaves. I tied everything up to make sure the fruits were all exposed so they could get on and ripen. I am hoping they all start to get some colour before the blight ransacks them.
My last job was to make a start sorting out the pumpkin patch as this is to be next years cabbage patch. I picked a dozen lemon cucumbers, and an array of courgettes - yellow, green and round. I could have picked lots of patty pans, but decided to leave them for now....basically because I had no room left in my carrier bag! I cleared away the watermelon vines as they never really took off - but as I pulled the vine, there, hanging on the end was a baby watermelon, about the size of an apple. Well, I didn't have any lunch with me, so I peeled it, and the flesh was ripe, pink and juicy, so I ate a WHOLE watermelon for my lunch!
However, the highlight of my day was picking my first ever, properly grown MELON! The scent from it was breathtaking and I couldn't wait for tea to open it. When we did cut it, the flesh was soft and juicy and peach coloured. The scent filled the room, and the taste was quite different to those you get from the supermarkets. It just goes to show how used our palates are to under ripe fruits. There are a couple more not far behind, so hopefully we will be enjoying our melons for another couple of weeks.
I was planning to leave at 2pm so that I could go sloe picking before picking the children up, but as I was leaving, Ken who lives on the edge of our site, waved. I went over for a chat - he is a lovely chap, 80 next year. He lost his wife 3 years ago, and it took him a while to refocus, but now he fills his time with alsorts of committees and trips, plus he has a little allotment. He grows the thornless Oregan blackberries, and he gave me a carrier bag full of them! He also has a yellow plum tree - but they are very very round fruits - could they be Mimosas? Anyhow, he told me to help myself, so I may fill a bag next visit and do some bottling.
So, tonight, I made apple and blackberry jam, and I bottled some blackberries. They look like little purple jewels in the jar! Oh, I did also have time to go sloe picking, and half filled another carrier - after I had tipped all the courgettes out onto the front seat of the car! So, sitting alongside the jam is a bottle with a layer of sloes, a layer of sugar, and a bottle of gin. I still have a basin full of sloes....so will be popping to Asda for another couple of bottles of mothers ruin!