After a very dry early summer, and then an incredibly wet late summer early autumn, the veggies on the allotment haven't know whether to grow, bolt or rot. However, there was enough growing well for me to have plenty of entries in the Danbury and Little Baddow Horticultural Society Show. Up bright and early and staged an array of fruit, veggies and cooking. The kids also took part and did flower displays and cooking. Did very well and all three of us won tropheys, mine and Jessica's were for most aggregate points over the year and James won his for being the Presidents Choice. A lovely time was had by all.
I have had a few visits to the allotment to just weed weed weed. Thanks to the lovely rain, the waterbuts are full and the weeds are 10 foot tall. I have thoroughly cleaned out the strawberry bed and planted all of the rooted runners in rows, oiking out the rest. I now have a lovely large strawberry bed, and I will definately construct some permanent netting over the winter to protect them from the deer and birds.
I have been picking tomatoes by the bucket load, even though blight is spreading across the site. I read somewhere that cherries and plums aren't so affected, which is great as that is mostly what I am growing. I have stewed down over 15 bags of toms which now rest comfortably in the freezer for winter use. I will continue to pick and stew down, but I think I might make some home made chilli and tom ketchup. I will hold off making chutters from the toms until I have a bucket of green ones and make my black mango chutney. mmmmmm.
Courgettes have been rubbish this year. I have picked about 6 in total, but the slugs munched my original plants, and when I did a rush resow, I sowed various squash, but no courgettes. Similar situation with the cucumbers, we have had about 4.
The runner beans are loving this cooler, wet weather, and have sent off masses more flowers and we are eating beans at every meal. I have also had a bumper harvest of bortlotti beans which I am leaving to almost dry out completely on the plants, then shucking them and freezing them for winter soups and stews.
I love my allotment, even with it's annoying challenges, and the surroundings do allow masses of wildlife on site. I know the muntjacs are a pain in the butt, but I love to see them, and last week on one day I went to lift my wheelbarrow on the compost heap, and there was lovely long slow worm under there, then the following day as I went to dump some rubbish, I disturbed an adder sunbathing. I know we have a lot of adders on the site - a dog was bitten by one on there last year - and they are so beautiful, but I did admire it from afar.
Hopefully I will get down more and more now autumn is here and gardens slow down. In the meantime, I have a huge glut of fruit and veg to use or process before it takes over the world!
p.s. Quail news......Saturday lunchtime, day 17, we notice definate cracks in some of the shells.... would there be babies by Sunday?