Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th November 2007 - weather: brighty and breezy
In memory of Nanny Shipley - 1906 - 2007
I know, I know, I have waited a whole week to get the blog updated, but honestly, I have been so busy with family and 'stuff' that only now do I have time to sit down and properly get this info up to date. A lovely time of year on the allotment, a time of tidying and preperation and sitting back and enjoying the colours of this season. I spent several coffee breaks sitting watching the squirrels larking about in the trees, and blue tits and wrens in the brambles. The sound of birdsong was so incredibly loud.
The main aim of this 2 day stint was to get everything cleared and all vacant beds dug ready for the winter weather to do it's thing. The squashes hadn't liked the cold nights and they were all black and shrivelled - fortunately the squashes all came home a couple of weeks ago. I dug and dug and dug, tidied the aspargus patch and the rhubarb and turned out some of my compost heap. Not bad stuff - too chunky to be used as potting compost, but as a mulch on the plot to improve moisture and open the texture up, just perfect. The rhubarb and sparagrass both had a good top dressing. I will continue to empty the heap and spread it about with gay abandon throughout the autumn, winter and spring.
I finally cleared the last of the spuds that were in the ground, filled a bucket, some slug damage, but considering I should have had them out a few months back, they were in pretty good shape. I dug a couple of Kestrel, the size of a rugby ball, and as clean as could be. They are a must for next year - the obviously love my allotment.
I made the decision some time back to sort out the strawberry patch as I don't really tend to it, just let the runners root at will all over the place, which is great as there are hundreds and hundreds of plants, but it is a real pain to pick the fruits as it is a complete tangle of strawberry plants, and dreaded creeping buttercups. So, I dug up large clumps, seperated out the plants chucking out any big, old, gnarly plants and started planting up neat rows of fresh young plants. Looks very neat - quite a worry for me as I rarely plant things in lovely straight lines. It will mean however I will be able to straw them nicely in the early summer, and hopefully pick them a lot easier. The other bonus is I have relocated them at the top end of plot number one, the sunniest spot on that allotment, so fingers crossed for a bumper harvest.
Most of the apples have finally fallen from the trees, so I gathered a few okay windfalls to use in crumbles, the rest are left in cider scented heaps under the trees for the birds and other critters to enjoy. By spring hey are usually all rotted down and I put fresh mulch under the trees. It seems to work okay.
Jack gave me a lovely green cabbage called Lion. I haven't heard of this one before, but they have grown very quickly for him and have made very tight cabbages, very green with a lovely sweet flavour. I also picked a red cabbage and dug some carrots. Still lashings of carrots in the ground and I may through some fleece over them to keep the a little bit cosy before the day time temperatures fall too low.
The tomatos have all finished now, along with the beans, and I will clear those next time and get the area dug over. The corn have also all finished and I picked the last of the rainbow cobs. Daughter number one loves these so am hoping to grow more next year.
Currently in the ground I have brussel sprouts - red and green, savoy cabbages, green cabbages, red cabbages, brocolli, purple sprouting, kale, kohl rabi, spring cabbages, lettuce, leeks, japanese onions, garlic, celeriac, rainbow chard, spinach, carrots, mooli, radish, spring onions, parsnips, turnips, swedes, pak choi and red mustard. A large amount still growing which is brilliant as I like to be able to visit the allotment year round and have something to harvest.