End of season summary – part 2

We had some mixed success with the onion family. Garlic was a bit on the small side, but we did have some decent onions (from sets I think). Leeks have been good, none have bolted (so far).

Roots have been a different story, apart from a few parsnip (luckily, no burns this time!), salsify and scorzonera. Will leave a salsify and a scorzonera to flower (they are pretty) in the spring. Carrots and beetroots decimated, both germinated OK, but something ate the beetroot leaves and didn’t recover (not even a golf ball size root). Carrots looked sad.

Potatoes were OK, although many were holey (slugs, other things), but we did have some!

Only the early sowings of peas did any good, but we did well with broad beans, and runner beans. Didn’t have that many French ones this time.

We had plenty of marrows (marrows, and not overgrown courgettes), and a couple of squash things. Marrows have kept well. We only harvested one pumpkin, was too late putting something underneath another pumpkin and so it was eaten by various creatures, turning into a mush gradually. Still, the pumpkin we harvested was nice.


Ryton’s Potato Day

Just returned from Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens where they held members’ Potato Day for 2010. Bought 100 seed potatoes (well, we were going to get 98 but my son wanted to make it a nice number so he chose a further 2 seed potatoes). Also took some seeds for the seed swap.

Today’s haul:

First Earlies – Accent, Foremost, Rubis, Sharpes Express, Ulster Sceptre, Winston

Second Earlies – Bintje, British Queen, Catriona, Edzell Blue, Kestrel, Yukon Gold

Maincrop – Dunbar Rover, Mayan Gold, Picasso, Rudolph

Late Maincrop – Arran Victory, Blue Danube, Fortyfold

Peas – Feltham First, Progress, Stephens’, Salmon Flowered

Broad Beans – Bunyards Exhibition, Witkiem Manita

Climbing French Beans – Selma Zelma

Shallots – Minogue, Mr. Stiff’s, Onion White, Yellow Moon

Onion – Batun, Rossa Savonese, and Red Baron (sets)

Garlic – Thermidrome

Lettuce – Bronze Arrow

Squash – Zapallito

Beetroot – Bull’s Blood


I also met some people from Allotments 4 All community, which was nice.

Earlier this week, I was able to visit the allotment. I wanted to take a few pictures at the start of the year! Unfortunately, most of the leeks that weren’t already harvested were soft (frozen and then defrosted?) – perhaps they were an early or autumn variety.
Better news, I harvested the central head of purple sprouting broccoli, and a small romanesco cauliflower, plus a few leeks that survived the freeze.
Autumn planted onions, shallots and garlic have sprouted.

Weather here has been cold, and snow settled for a couple of weeks. Then, it thawed. Now, there has been a small sprinkling. I am looking forward to spring! Though perhaps the cold weather will kill off a number of pests & diseases.

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!!

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).

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.

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