Monday 9th October 2006 - Weather: started overcast and damp but brightened into a lovely afternoon!
HAPPY 61ST BIRTHDAY DAD!
Today was plot number two's day. Having not been to the plot for much more than harvesting over the last couple of weeks, and after all of the lovely rain, and warm spells, things have started to turn into a tropical rainforrest, so, boots on, gloves on, digging head on! I re-edged the plot as I went along which I do by slicing down and turning the slab of earth into the plot - this leaves a ditch around the plot which prevents the couch grass from the paths creeping in. I oiked out most of the squashes - the last stragglers were brought home last week and dug over that half of the plot. In this portion I already have some pruple sprouting broc and some red and green curly kale. This will be my brassica section for this coming season. There are still four courgette plants insitu - 2 yellow, 1 green and 1 white volunteer. I don't know how much fruit they will produce, but they all have baby fruits at the moment so I will leave them until the weather takes it's toll. I also have the lemon cucumber still under the cold frame, although it is beginging to look rather sickly (yippee!!). Once again, picked nearly a dozen cucumbers. I think this monster holds the world record for cucumber production! A very satisfying mornings work - I love the look of a freshly 'fluffed' allotment!
Next into the tomato section. I pulled up all of the tomatos that were in the open last week, but there was still a lot of debris and canes around, so I gave that area a really good tidy and carefully forked it over - why carefully, well I have 100 daffodil bulbs planted in that area and I didn't want to dig them up. Then into the tomato tunnel. A couple of plants quite obviously had blight, so they came out and onto the rubbish, and a couple had no fruits left, so they came out. This has left about 8 plants still with fruits. As they are undercover, I am hopeful that the fruits will start to ripen a little. I will bring them all home in the next couple of weeks, but if they can ripen on the vine, so much the better! As it was I filled my trug with blighted toms, windfalls and ripe ones. Picked a large handful of runner beans again - they really have started producing amazing long tender beans. Fingers crossed they will keep going. Next year I will grow the toms where my runner beans are, and my beans where my toms were to give the ground a rest. I also plan to put down a monster pile of manure along both sides of the tomato house, and inside to give everything a really good start next year.
At the end of plot number 2 are my Autumn Giant Leeks, and they are really begining to bulk bip now. I weeded around them and then used to last of this years straw bale to mulch between them. The plan is the straw will help with the blanching, and can be dug into the ground in the spring to help with the soil structure and moisture retention. I have a couple of sacks of partly rotted leaf mould at home and I am also going to use that to 'earth up' my leeks. This section of plot number 2 will be my onion and garlic section, if Marshalls ever bother to send me my sets!
Chuffed with plot number 2 - looks tidy and weed free, and still in production, which is very satisfying at this time of year.
Had a quick flick over plot number one, but that is a job for later in the week/next week. I did take the second half of my cold frame over from plot number 2 to plot number 1 and have placed it over my newly growing French Beans. These are dwarf frenchies that we brought in France - a late sowing I know, but I am really hoping that with the protection of the cold frame, they will produce a desirable crop in November/December. French Beans are perfect flowers and do not need bugs to do the pollinating, so as long as they are warm enough, they should produce beans.
The sweetcorn have all finished now so I need to clear those out and dig over that area. The great thing I spotted is the cardoon, which I feared had died after the long dry summer, is in growth again - at least 4 new shoots at the base, so they will get a good mulch as I clear to help them along. I have found a local smallholding who sells bales of straw quite cheaply, so I may pick one up to snuggle my cardoon and globe artichokes.
Picked an amazing cabbage - I will photograph it tomorrow. No idea what type but it is a conical boy. Also picked some white romanesco brocolli so tomorrow night we are on roast chicken with all the trimmings.
A couple of people have given up their allotments so I am expecting to see a few new faces next year. Most importantly for me, I will have a new neighbour, a retiring headmistress. Fingers crossed she spends more time working her plot than my previous neighbours who have left me with an amazing crop of groundsel!
Oh, and another rant! Those Chapmans have cut a lot out of the old bramley apple tree which hung over one of their plots - and it was full of mistltoe! There is only 2 or 3 tiny pieces left growing in the tree now - the rest is piled up ready for a bonfire! GGRR. I wish wish wish I could get the darn stuff to grow in one of my apple trees. I have lost count of how many berries I have squished and wedged in the bark and nooks and crannies of my trees!