Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thursday 15th October 2009 - weather: gorgeous autumn day

I arrived at the allotment at around 11am today as I take a friend into the next village to meet up with a bunch of our chums for morning coffee, then I help her run a few errands, so a bit of a late start. As I parked in the lane and got out of the car, a pheasant hopped out of the hedgerow and strolled along the lane, in no rush at all. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement, and when I looked round, a muntjac deer was standing their chewing away at young shoots. He looked at me, I looked at him, the morning, autumn sun shining down on the common. After a minute or so, he wandered off, as did I. I know the deer are a pest on our site, but I love seeing them that I can forgive them.

Anyhow, first order of the day, picking the last of the toms and getting the plants oiked out. Filled a trug with green tomatoes and a few red ones. I have plenty for making chutney, but for now, they are in trays in the conservatory with a few ripe ones just to see if any fancy colouring up.

I dug the tomato bed over and weeded it through, then covered it with a thick layer of rotted stable manure that the farm at the end of our plot dumps over the hedge for us. This will break down over the winter, and I will fork it in during spring before replanting toms there in 2010. I have been thrilled with how the toms have done this year. No real blight at all. I have picked pounds and pounds and pounds of them and have gallons of pulp frozen for use over the coming winter. I still have a huge basin full in the fridge, and as I mentioned, plenty of green and slightly orange ones in the conservatory.

After that, for a break from digging, I picked a sack full of apples. They have done brilliantly this year, and some are huge, bigger than my fist, proper 2 handed eating apples. Very crisp, slightly sharp, delicious. Don't ask me the variety...I did know, and way back when on my blog, I have probably told you, but now I can't remember. One of the old boys on the plot told me once - when I next see him I shall ask him again and make a note.

Now back over to plot number 2 and I carried on weeding and digging at the top end when I planted all the seeds this year. In the ground, I still have carrots, parsnips, beetroot and spring onions. After I had tidied up this area, I sowed a row of sweetpeas in number one sons raised bed - seeds that Old Jack had given me. I will sow more at home in trays.

I had a general clear up, putting all the old bamboos in the shed, and gathering all the empty bottles that go on the tops of the bamboos and bagging them in the shed. The plot is still very productive, there is still masses of fruit on the apple trees, plenty of roots to harvest, and the greens look fab. I have 4 caulis!! Whether they will come to anything, time will tell, but I have some lovely savoy cabbages, sprouts, red cabbage and brocolli.

Hopefully I will get back on Monday for a few hours to carry on the winter tidy.

As a final P.S. , I thought you might like to see what is growing in my conservatory at the moment. I have grown this pineapple plant just from a cut top of a supermarket fruit a few years back. This is the second time I have successfully had one fruit for me and, fingers crossed, it will be ripe by Christmas.

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