Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday 27th September 2009 - weather: not a cloud in the sky - GORGEOUS!

Well, it took some convincing, but today I managed to talk the old man into coming to the allotment with me to help clear the last of the spuds. You see, I have fluttered my eyelids at Old Jack, and he has offered to rotovate the plot wherever I need it. Now in the past, I haven't been a huge fan of rotovating allotments, unless you can guarantee they are weed free, or else you could end up making a slightly weedy plot into a weed plantation, however, time is always against me, and we are on rough, London clay, stoney ground, and I just struggle to get a fine tilth on which to sow seeds. Jack on the other hand as the most beautiful fine ground and gets an amazing show whenever he chucks seeds into the ground. So, the area I want doing is the spud bed, and since we had a drop of rain last week, it seemed a perfect time to get them clear. It was hard going, lots of bind weed to get out, but after a couple of hours work, half of allotment number 2 is completely clear and ready for Jack and his machine.

I have been up for a few flying visits, mainly to pick. I have been able to pick strawberries, which seems odd, but there are loads of fruit on about 8 plants, and providing the days are sunny, they are ripening. God they are sweet and umptuous, I can't begin to tell you. I have also been picking masses and masses of toms. Sometimes 20Ib in one visit. I should have weighed all of my tom crops, but as usual, my normal excuse....time. However, I would say in the region of 60Ib of toms, and still the plants are covered. But, with the days shortening, and the nights getting cooler, I have decided that I will pretty much pick all the toms that are a good size on my next visit, but that isn't until after next week as I am flat out at work, so I could be pleasantly suprised, especially if this warm sun sticks around.

I have decided to stop working Fridays, well, as much as possible, and this will be my allotment day. Sometimes, I will have no choice, and sometimes, I won't need to go to the plot during the winter, but I think if I get into the habit now, then by the spring, when I need to spend more time on the plot, my diary will already be sorted and it won't be a problem.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we had the village show. I did well and got 9 firsts, a spattering of seconds and a few thirds. Thrilled to bits with my red cabbages as I have never had a great deal of success growing brassicas but this year, they are doing great!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Friday 5th September 2009 - weather: windy and overcast

In memory of our darling Jonny Young who died a week ago - 28/8/09
Went to the allotment today as the children are back at school and I haven't really had much allotment time over the holidays.
Plenty to do but the ground is so hard. I managed to dig a row and a half of potatoes up, but I gave up in the end. If we don't get some ground drenching rain soon, I will have to hire a jack hammer to break the ground up!
I then harvested another full basket of mixed tomatoes. I spotted the first signs of blight, but only on the odd leaf, so to be honest, it is so late now in the season, I am not going to worry. Next visit I will start stripping the leaves from the plants just leaving the fruits exposed to see if they will ripen off. Again, a mix of black cherry, roma, gardeners delight, great white, ferline, santa, cherokee purple, sungold, and a few others. I have been really pleased with the toms this year.
From there to the fruit cage. It was time to tackle the old fruiting raspberry canes and have a general cut back and tidy. Cutting down the old canes doesn't take long but I got stung and scratched to buggery. I still need to get in there and weed around the redcurrant bush as it has a lot of long grass growing around it. Plenty of new raspberry canes for next year, and the gooseberry bushes are thickening up. I did take a few goosegog cuttings and stuck the stems in the ground - well, I have nothing to loose.
I next started to dig up the pink fir apple and Anya spuds that I didn't dig up last year - tut tut. Masses of spuds as you can imagine. The Anya are rather small, but the PFA are great and so yummy as wedges and chips. I only made a start as I was also cutting back the currant bush hedge and apple trees that have grown into the area over the last year. I will dig the rest of the spuds next visit.
Finally I had a sort through the squashes. I gathered 8 sweet dumpling squash and a marrow. I cut back a lot of the foliage from the other marrow plant but didn't pick the fruits yet as we want those for the village show next week. I have one butternut squash, and no pumpkins which is very dissapointing as there were 2, but the slugs tucked in.
I generally just pottered and picked. As you can tell, I couldn't really get myself launched into any job completely, but spending the day on the allotment did help me loose myself a bit. Back on Monday to try and finish a couple of jobs.