Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tuesday 31st October 2006 - Weather: blustery and decidedly chilly!


You may have been wondering where I have been hiding for the last few weeks? We lost our broadband connection due to Garner Digital going bust, and we had to wait 10 days for the new company to switch us over and for BT to switch us on! However, I am back with avengance and managed to get to the allotment for a couple of hours this afternoon.

There isn't much really growing now - even the weeds have started to slow down. So, job number one, planting the 200 odd Radar onion sets that the lovely Growmore sent me after Marshalls completely let me down. They are planted on plot number 2 at the end away from the stream. I have divided the top section of this plot in half, the right half has the leeks and garlics, which I am pleased to say are poking through, and the left section has the onions. Looks very neat! I used some old straw to mulch up the leeks a couple of weeks ago to help with blanching becuase I plant very closely to make the most of the room and don't have the surrounding soil available for earthing up. Mulching with straw, grass cuttings, or my most recent mulch material, shredded bills creates lovely long, CLEAN white stems. I dug one up just to see how they were blanching and as you can see, they are looking very good indeed!
With a chilly weekend forecast I wanted to bring in the last of the tomatos and courgettes and managed a tray of toms, 3 courgettes and 1 cucumber. If we escape the cold I reakon the courgettes will just keep going! The beans however have finished. They are lovely and green and lush looking, but there isn't a flower or bean in sight, so next visit, they will be cleared.
I have grown black and white moolis this year for a winter veg - the whites although patchy germination, they produce big roots. The blacks have huge top growth and thick germination but smaller roots in the same space of growing time.
Still growing/just growing:
Leeks - autumn giant and musselburough
garlics - purple wight and elephant
onions - radar
courgettes - white volunteer, black beauty, 2 yellows and 1 green with no labels
cucumber - lemon
chard - bright lights
kale - red russian, green curly, cavalo nero
brussel sprouts - red bull, green variety
cabbage - savoy, pointy and round with no labels
purple sprouting brocolli
9 star perrenial brocolli
moolis - white and black
beetroot - detroit, boltardy
celeriac - alabaster
french beans under cloches - currently in flower!
radish - salad rainbow
globe artichokes
parsnips - gladiator (I think)
selection of fruit and 2 thick rows of daffodils for cutting.
Not a bad selection for this time of year I feel.
Anyhow, just started to think about packing up when I spotted Old Jack looking for me. He asked me if I fancied going scrumping in the woods with him!! Well, I told him I'm not that sort of girl, which he thought was very funny, so off we went into the undergrowth. Alongside our allotment is a farm and they have a couple of huge ornamental lakes around which are orchards. The pear orchard, a mix of Commice and Conference pears, are still full of fruit and the farm didn't want anymore so they were being left to the birds. The farm owner told Jack to help himself and spread the word to the other allotmenteers. Well, an hour of giggling and pear picking later and I came away with 2 big carriers packed full of fruit, all perfect and fabulous looking! I spent some very nervous minutes whilst with Jack because he decided to climb up an old wooden step ladder, an old, rotten step ladder, and then leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeean across trees to get that last big pear! My heart skipped several beats as I was trying to work out how to explain to the 999 operator where on earth we were! He is a funny old soul, full of stories and jokes and he such a generous man. As he left he told me to help myself to all of his beetroots that he had piled up as he had enough for him and he didn't want any more. 'Shame I hadn't been on the plot in the morning', he told me, he filled a 2 litre icecream tub with rasberries!!!!
I will go back later in the week for a full day just to finish off really. A bit of weeding - might try and clear under the apple trees, and also have a tidy up in the shed. Then to be honest, other than to pop down and pick, very little will be happening. Gives me plenty of time to plan though - and I want to try to start a few things of very early in the greenhouse to try and steal a march on spring!

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