Saturday, 29 August 2009

Raspberry mountains

We officially drew a line under the European raspberry mountain today. When we took over the plot one of the good things about it was the fruit bushes and canes that came with it, however we now know we have far too many raspberry canes. Today we dug half of them up and gave them away to Roz and Colin. They have a good looking spot for them and room for some autumn raspberries too - our are summer ones.

The empty space on our plot looks like it would take a few early potatoes next year, which has been one of the things we have been tempted to grow. We have had to water the salad stuff and the asparagus, which is still quite young and needs some attention ready for next year.

The remains of the broad beans have been dug out as the last of the bean seeds for next year have ripened. Parts of the plot are looking a bit empty now and soon we will be fetching 'oss muck from the local stables to feed the ground for next year.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Hurricane Bill swept through our allotment today. It was a bit under whelming because it lost all of its strength over the Atlantic so it was just a bit breezy and a bit wet. It did make me think about tying up the raspberries and asparagus so that any really strong winds don't do any harm, so that's what we did.

We've been popping up most days, with not much to report. There's often a courgette or two and a fistful of runner beans. We keep taking spring onions as we want them and the beetroot is wonderful and just keeps coming. The remaining white and red onions are all drying and most other stuff is slowly ripening for the autumn or winter. The tomatoes inside and out are looking promising. The plum ones are yellowing so we might get some ripe ones soon. The cherry ones are lost in a tangle of plants, which I think I planted too close together.

Our squashes seem to be doing rather well. I have removed a few leaves to let the sun to the fruit. The fruits are swelling but I don't know when they will be ready to take. I'll seek more advice.

The parsnips are chugging along nicely, with a few of the roots just showing at ground level. These look temptingly large, but I'll wait for many weeks yet before I pull any. Beside, we still have soup in the freezer from last year's crop.

The leeks are wonderful. Planting them in succession has produced a variety of sizes, which didn't really happen last year. Everything is so early this year that I think we will be taking our first leek next month. We planted them deeper this year so I hope there is more white stalk where the real tasty bit is. I can hardly wait.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Carrots at last

We've been up to our plot a few times recently for all kinds of jobs. The broad beans that we left for seed have started to ripen. We've pulled some and dried them in the greenhouse. There are plenty more to dry yet. Even if we don't need them all we can gather them and give some away. Maybe the new plot holders will want some.

We pulled our carrots today. There were only a few, but they were delicious. I want to grow more carrots now. We have really struggled to get them to grow, so next year we might try chitting the seeds and planting them out much like we do our parsnips. Carrot seeds are much finer than parsnips so it might not work, but worth a try.

Jean has planted out more beetroot to replace the ones we have taken. She sowed some seeds for more beetroot. We're not sure how they will do as the summer wears on, but by planting it out we will eventually find when to stop for another year.

I have been drying onions and garlic. All of the garlic has been dried and tied into strings to hang in the shed until we need them. Apparently the best way to stop them sprouting is to keep them warm for as long as possible. Growers and retailers chill them and then when they get warm they start to sprout. Of course they don't mind if they don't keep at home so you need to buy some more. We have been pulling the white onions as they keel over then drying them gently. I've taken the dried ones home and stored some in a cupboard and some in the garage. There's still a quarter to pull up yet.

I pruned the squashes. They have runners with the flowers on which need to be pruned to put the vigour into the fruits. The fruits are developing nicely, but not as well as some others on the site. Gary's squashes are good and Kim's are even better.

It looks like the mangetouts are all finished. The plants we grew later have been poor, so next year we'll make sure they all go out early.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Weeds and squashes

The weeding is done, for a while, and the plot is tidy. I've pulled up about a third of the white onions and laid them out to dry. They look wonderful. I've also pulled some of the remaining red onions and I think we'll just use them.

The squashes have a masses of flower buds on them. They are putting out runners and at each leaf node there looks like a flower bud. I need to see if they need pruning or any other attention. The way these runners are spreading they will take over the whole plot soon.

The carrot that I stood on seems to have recovered - maybe they're tougher than I thought.