end of summer update

Potatoes have still been good, even though the foliage didn’t look great, and there have been a few holes in the spuds. Carrots, the maincrop late sown ones, have been excellent. Very little carrot root fly.
Runner beans have been doing well, as have the marrows & pumpkins (though the pumpkins aren’t as big as last year).
Onions have been good from seed this year although a couple had split at the base (probably due to the heavy rains). Sets also did well. A book I have just finished reading, Forgotten Fruits by Christopher Stocks – one of the HSL varieties of onions I have is mentioned in this book, as another name for Bedfordshire Champion. The book is well worth a read.
French beans are doing well, we are letting them mature for drying.
Leeks look good too.
I visited my mother last month and saw tons of fruit on her tomatoes. The plants themselves don’t look as healthy as the ones I have in my “greenhouse”, but they are certainly cropping well, with fruits of all colours and sizes. Her peppers, both chilli and sweet are far more advanced than mine (which unfortunately, have greenfly…).
Got fed up of fruity pies/crumble! Next year…!!!! the currants on our second plot should do even better (planted in 2008) – ideas please for what to do with currants – what would go nicely with them in jams & jellies, or drinks (I’ve put some fruit in alcohol….)
Have already ordered some seeds for next year!!

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End of July update

Harvesting has continued. Potato foliage may have a touch of blight. We’ve had a few “full smith periods” – ideal conditions for blight. We have had some good spuds though.

Some onions needed to be harvested – the leaves had gone yellow or disappeared. White Ebenezer had even started to get some sort of rot/mildew in the top couple of layers near the neck – I’m not sure if the affected area was on the predominantly wind/rain facing side – perhaps that’s a factor. Other onions, apart from some Tondo Musona sown onions that are about the size of “sets”, look fine.

Shallots also have started to be harvested. Some are a fair size, though I have not been wowed this year by Topper. Pikant (late buy!) and Yellow Moon have done better.

Runner beans are cropping, and are still covered in pretty red flowers. The climbing french beans are also doing well – pretty variegated pods. All the french beans we have are also suitable for drying. Broad beans and peas have filled the freezer (well, almost!). Got 4 bags of broad beans to deal with from this week – no (or little) blackfly, and chocolate spot appeared relatively late on.

Early sown carrots – Amsterdam forcing look more like those expensive “baby carrots” sold in supermarkets but even smaller – some weren’t even an inch long or a centimetre thick (though still tasty!!)!  Cleaning was done using a new (but cheap) toothbrush (we did at one time have a vegetable brush with the handle looking like half a spud). Some root fly damage too. Later sown carrots are doing better, including a white carrot.

My mother phoned me today to say she was eating a lovely red cherry tomato. Her tomatoes and peppers (which she had sown, but I potted on for her) are doing a lot better than mine.  She has fat peppers, thin but long peppers, large peppers, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, ….. She came to visit us for the week and laughed at my “pathetic” looking peppers and tomatoes. I haven’t even got any tomatoes turning colour. She lives in Lincolnshire and the weather is generally better there. There are both tomatoes inside the greenhouse and outside. Mine are inside a “greenhouse.”

Soft fruit has done exceedingly well. Not sure really what to do with it all. We have redcurrant jams & jelly, blackcurrant jelly, whitecurrant jam (perhaps a bit overcooked, but not burnt), eaten various fruity pies & crumbles. I’ve also put fruit in alcohol too.

Greengage is doing well. Fruit are yellow and are almost all ready. Yummy. Tree was bought from Morrison’s supermarket – though I can’t remember which variety they are.

Thinking of having more fruity trees. Not sure what yet, or what would do any good – more plums perhaps. We had an apple tree but it split in the wind. A second tree is doing ok.  There is also a cherry tree (Stella, perhaps) and a pear tree.

In the garden, we had a cherry tree (Sunburst) we had 4 cherries (first year).

Yay, I have small tomatoes

Ok, they are only green, but still. The tomatoes at my mother’s have already started to turn colour – I am jealous!

Currants still loaded. Need to have a serious harvesting session soon. On the lookout for more jam/jelly recipes and drinks to make with currants…

OH is really happy with Shetland Black potatoes. We want to have those again.

Hoping that the later sowing beetroot will work – earlier sowings didn’t have good germination.

We’ve got jam + update

We have been harvesting lots and lots of soft fruit – these have gone into fruity pies & crumbles. Last week, I also made redcurrant jam with over 5 and a half pounds of red currants, and for the first time, blackcurrant jam. Used various sugars to hand (light muscovado, demerara, caster…). Still have lots of jam from last year. Am intending to make redcurrant jelly this year.

Peas have all been picked. Broad beans are all ready. We’ve even had to give broad beans away (no room in freezer).

Runner & french beans now in flower. Onions are bulking up nicely (only a couple threw up flower stems which we’ve picked off).

Teasel down the plot is huge, didn’t realise they’d grow that big and magnificent. Hope the birdies will like it.

Strawberries almost all finished. The raspberries on our second plot were planted by previous tenant and are coming to an end – they don’t taste as nice as our ones. We might cull these and plant fresh elsewhere on the plot. The raspberries there are also hiding a gooseberry the previous tenant planted – the fruit are about the size of black currants.

Recent sowings of carrots are germinated. More peas have been sowed. Pak Choi too, I think. Will sow some more beetroot too.

Planted out some more brassicas and leeks.

Shetland Black potatoes are yummy.

I can’t think of anything else at present.

Harvests, ….

Harvesting continues – more yummy potatoes, though haven’t been recording what has been dug up, variety-wise (lost the potato planting map).

Harvesting also, Progress No. 9 peas – plants starting to yellow and have missed a few pods that have gone mature. I did a “weed” and “pea” – eat peas from the pod and weed that many weeds before popping another pea pod… Well, that’s the excuse I’ve used! Why shouldn’t I eat peas fresh from the plant!!?

Also we’ve been eating (self-sown) spinach, radish, garlic, strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, currants…..

Sowed some carrots. I saw a friend on Saturday and we got talking – carrots haven’t done too good this year, although we’ve had relatively decent germination, they aren’t very big. We’ve done worse with beetroot this year (I don’t think I’ll be doing any Borscht with the fermented beetroot juice stuff) with very little beetroot germinating.
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Back in the garden, I think some of the red currants are ripe… However, some of the currants are missing from the stalks – we have young blackbirds sheltering in these bushes watching me put the washing out or picking some fruit… I’ve seen blackbirds fly off with alpine strawberries, or raspberries in their beaks.

Speaking of young blackbirdies, one was caught in the net over the strawberries on the allotment. I freed its feet but couldn’t get the net off from round its neck. No scissors in the shed, but luck had it that there were builders putting in a new entrance to the allotments who had experience with freeing comorants from fishing nets, and they came to the little birdie’s rescue. Will have to get finer mesh netting for next year. Still, the birdies have access to raspberries, currants….

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