Autumn Digging, Freezing, and Storage.

For many of us here in  England, we have had an exceptional Summer.  Its broke records in high temperatures and in droughts.. And I know my husbands arms have ached from watering our large plot daily during the height of the heat and drought by carrying watering cans back and forth from the water troughs for two hours solid each morning just to keep the crops from wilting away. 

( If you click the image it should enlarge a little .. You may then have to left click your window to return to this page. )

Dahlia’s that give me cut flowers and bundles of joy.

But all of that effort was worth it. Above you can see the Dahlia’s, to begin with they would soon dry up because of the lack of rain. But after several solid days of heavy downpours over the last few weeks, they have opened up and the tiny black flea beetles seem to have left them alone now. But they were covered in them in the heat. To give you an idea how large these particular plants are they come well above my waist in height.  And some of their blooms are as big as saucers. 

I searched on-line for tips about riding crops of these little pests without chemicals I found several on how to get rid of Flea Beetles safely not using any chemical sprays I found here on the  The Old Farmers Almanac Site 

From the Old Farmers Almanac Site 

  • Try this homemade spray to control flea beetles: 2 cups rubbing alcohol, 5 cups water, and 1 tablespoon liquid soap. Test out the mixture on a leaf of the plant, let it sit overnight, then spray the rest of the plant if you don’t notice any adverse effects. Spray the mixture on the foliage of garden plants that are susceptible to these pests.
  • Dusting your plants with plain talcum powder repels flea beetles on tomatoespotatoespeppers, and other plants.
  • Use white sticky traps to capture flea beetles as they jump.
  • Insecticides may be used early in the season, but are generally unnecessary in the control of flea beetles on adult plants. Be extra diligent if your soil has history of bacterial diseases. Please contact your local nursery or cooperative extension for further advice.

A bucket full of Dahlias and some Gladioli

Taking you from the Top of the allotment plot to the bottom near the sheds you can see you how much digging has been done.. And this year, my husband has done all of this hard work himself.. A couple of hours every morning he is slowly working his way down the plot to the sheds, digging and clearing as he goes.. 

We just arrived on the plot, walking our way down to the sheds.

The space you see below is where the potatoes were planted..  And the Butternut Squash. It has been a very Poor year this year for our dear old Spuds.. The drought has  really took its toll on the yield of our crop. Last year we had four bags of potatoes, that lasted right up until May, and we threw some away which had sprouted. 

This year we have only One full bag, so a quarter of only of last years crop.. Local farmers are also saying the same.. So Potato prices I can see will rise as a result. And if our weather patterns are going to keep being so extreme, in droughts and floods, then I can only see more price rises and food shortages coming in the future.. 

So folks now is a good time to start planning to think about growing your own.. Not only it is more healthier, as it’s not dosed in chemicals, but it’s very rewarding, especially if you get young children involved.. 

On our allotments the School has a plot and this week each day a different class of young infants have been in wellies and the allotments have been buzzing with the sound of their laughter and chatter and squeals,  as they dig out worms and learn about growing food.. 

Its been really good to see and this year more parents have been roped in to lend a hand at digging. It’s a joy to see. 

 

Here at the bottom were where the potatoes were. On the left you can see the leeks. And in the foreground are two rows of Swedes. 

Here we have Beetroot and Rainbow Chard, then Cabbages and then Brussels Sprouts. What you cannot see behind there are Parsnips. 

Unfortunately the Cabbage thief stole another of our largest cabbages, Seems they enjoyed the other one that much they came back for seconds.. 🙂 Hope they really enjoyed it.. But at least they weren’t greedy, as we have had whole rows of onions taken before..  The leeks are easy targets too.. So I hope they spread out their dinners by gathering not from just one plot!.. Fingers Crossed!!…  

Sprouts and Kidney beans

Kidney Beans and under the cloche are young Spring Cabbage for next year.

Behind the red currant bush are the loganberries and raspberry canes, these have all but finished and this area is the next to be worked on and weeded and dug through. 

This is the Red Currant bush that gave us a bumper yield, and made up for the fruit that got lost when our freezer broke.

The butternut squash has done well this year, and we learnt  through our mistake last year too.. We didn’t allow enough time for the stem to dry out which resulted in some of they  perishing and rotting early, So last year we froze a lot.  This year we hope we have stored them right so they can keep as they are for longer. 

Butternut Squash, Around 42 

This area of the plot has yet to be dug and tidied up, here are lettuce and Carrots under the netting. 

The Greenhouse has given us lots of tomatoes and cucumbers this year, and the glut meant I made lots of tomato soup too.

Below you see the sweetcorn  and again this was another good year for sweetcorn, and that is now safely stored in our new economical freezer, along with raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries and loganberries and red currants. 

Sweetcorn prepared and packed for the freezer

 

I hope you have enjoyed the plot, next time will be some Autumn pictures of the home garden flowers and what my knitting needles have been creating. 

Happy  Autumn Gardening!

Until next time..

~Sue~

 

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44 thoughts on “Autumn Digging, Freezing, and Storage.

  1. I always enjoy your informal tours of your plot…thanks for this one. Speaking of digging, I am in the process of digging a drainage ditch to divert water when the winter rains arrive. It tends to get a bit soggy in Chicken Town, so this year, hopefully, my digging efforts will pay dividends. I’m certainly feeling the efforts in these old bones and muscles. 🙂

    Wishing you a peaceful week, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That sounds like hard work Bill… And Hubby knows how you feel.. At 71 he is no spring chicken.. 🙂 but he still ‘thinks’ he is… But his bones tell him otherwise..
      The chickens will thank you for your efforts if they keep their little feet dry.. 🙂
      You too enjoy your week.. And Pace yourself.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always enjoy taking a tour of your allotment. It is always a pleasure and I sit there as my head spins of all the work there to be done on a perpetual basis. I know all about hard work but not an allotment the size you have. You can also feel the energy of caring and love that emanates from the photos. Don’t forget to look for my piece on Barbara’s blog which will appear later on my time and early morning tomorrow. Be well my friend and congratulations to you and your husband for going green.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh my goodness Sue………if only your beautiful pictures could speak, they would tell of the countless hours that were spent lovingly working the soil and as a result you have such a wonderful harvest. Thank you for sharing all of this information……..it brings me happy thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Namaste Sue 🙂

    Another enjoyable instalment and another interesting glimpse at the life of an allotmenteer 🙂 I am always amazed at the effort, the reward, and the pace of change. It seems the year has flown by so quickly. I think back to your posts much earlier in the year and think of the space as it was then and now. The energy you’ve invested in-between is clearly evident…it’s fascinating watching everything come together so well, so seamlessly despite the hot summer. Hubby’s done a fine job with the digging: and that on top of being a hero with the watering. He’s earned his cuppa tea as I am certain have you 🙂 The Dahlia’s are impressive.

    I always like the photographs and those showing the size of the plot you have especially: it’s far larger than I imagined and larger than those I’ve seen locally around here as well. It’s a big site and I can understand better now how you manage to grow such a variety of crops successfully using the space. How long have you had the allotment? As seasoned (as knowledgeable) as you are as an allotmenteer, I wonder if you plan the growing year start to finish?

    I think it’s great the school maintains a plot and encourages participation that extends to parents as well. Our modern world removes us so readily from the soil, from Nature, and that is a great shame when Nature is also our educator : gardening is a great way to learn about life. Whilst at school I recall an allotment within the grounds that would serve only as a venue for punishment – often digging and weeding – but which was never otherwise enjoyed. I would have benefited by being taught gardening and allotment keeping as a practical skill: it’s knowledge one can take into the future, there is no redundancy in knowing how to grow food.

    What (or who) is the cabbage thief? My curiosity has the better of me 🙂

    Thanks for posting Sue. Always an interesting read and there’s always something to learn and store away for future reference. Great stuff.

    Have a wonderful week.

    Take care. Namaste 🙂

    DN

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dewin, yes the plot is probably the size of two good size plots on a normal allotment.. They are halving the size of those given up as many find them far too big to manage successfully, And yes you have to keep on top of it or it soon turns back into wilderness.

      As for the cabbage thief.. We wish we knew.. But it happens and not just to us… So you just have to accept it for what it is, and just hope they do not get too greedy and take the lot.
      Though if prices do rise and if veggies ever get short.. Or Chaos were ever to happen, We are under no illusions the plot would soon be stripped of produce in no time… Its an open piece of land baring two padlock gates which allotmenteers hold the keys. But we have had vans come cut the locks and break into sheds… So locks are not going to stop anyone ..

      Haha.. I am laughing at the memory of school and the punishment of the allotment.. My husband went to an all boys school an I to an all girls school as it was with secondary schools back in our day..
      He volunteered to look after the schools garden and Dahlias in particular and Chrysanthemums, In fact he loved to skip lessons and potter around in the potting shed.. 🙂 And got so good at it the headmaster I think turned a blind eye as they were his prize Dahlia’s on show.. 🙂

      My husband would say his pen lasted him the whole of his four years in school.. I never knew whether to believe or not lol, because he said he hardly ever used it..
      Yet he is brilliant at maths especially mental arithmetic and can spell better than I.. And he has a memory that can recall dates and names that I have long forgotten.. Yet he never applied himself at school because he disliked it… And wanted to be free in the outdoors..
      I think his upbringing on a small holding on the Chatsworth estate laid the foundations for his love of gardens and outdoors..

      But you are right Life Skills should be taught in school, that is why I am delighted the infant school has a plot.. The problem is though as they grow the other schools don’t carry it through, as its all then about the three R’s and getting grades so schools can reach government targets.. Never mind the poor children under pressure..

      Anyway enjoy your week Dewin and nice chatting.. Take care..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Namaste Sue 🙂

        A pleasure, thank you for a wonderful reply – we could probably talk for hours and still have words left in reserve 😀

        It’s a real shame produce has been taken from the allotments Sue: one would hope a sense of community would prevail throughout the local area, but in truth it could have been anyone from anywhere. Mention of gates and padlocks had me recall two occasions when thefts occurred on the allotment my family once tended years ago. On both occasions tools were taken from secured sheds and were never recovered.

        When you coined the name, Cabbage Thief, I wondered if it were referencing an especially virulent species of caterpillar or other similar leaf-munching blight that I’d never heard of 🙂

        I enjoyed anecdotal comment about hubby – he sounds like a man for all-seasons 🙂 Mention of his upbringing on a small-holding cossetted on the Chatsworth estate conjures images of rural idealism, but i imagine life had its hardships as well. Tales of school-days tickled me…I think I would have abandoned lessons in favour of practical activity whatever that might have been. How lucky he was to have a head-teacher who valued his green-fingers and enthusiasm and promoted his interest…although prize-Dahlia’s must have helped sweeten the deal 🙂 Four-years with one pen suggests at hubby’s success rate bunking classes 🙂

        I think you are quite right to think modern methods of schooling place extensive emphasis on targets and results rather than ensuring a well-rounded balanced education. Surely if one is to grow our future then it is somewhat dependant on the quality/preparation of the soil and the skill of the gardener: a properly funded open-access education-system attracting great teachers is essential. Perhaps one day such circumstance will prevail.

        Another enjoyable chin-wag Sue, thank you. It’s been fun. I hope the new week is unfolding nicely. Stay warm and dry!

        Take care. Namaste 🙂

        DN

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes I am certain we could natter long burning midnight oil.. Trying to put the world to rights..
          Yes you thought right about the Bunking off of classes.. He would tell other teachers the headmaster gave him permission to do this or that.. Though the head teacher was not a push over.. In fact quite the drill officer.. X military man and a town judge… He would line the boys up in the yard inspecting any grubby hands fingers, collars, ties, and creases in had to be in their trousers.. Thumbs to be lined up at the side seems to attention . He and others got the cane on many occasions..
          Yet I think my hubby still managed to get on his good side.. Which is his nature with all folk.. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your garden dear friend. The flowers are survivors I see and the blooms lovely. I have no garden to tend presently of the outdoor kind but the one within can always use my attention. 😉 xoxox

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  6. What a lovely garden you (and your hubby) have grown together Sue, a deep curtsy to him for the terrific digging and the motivation to do it! Looks like you’ve enjoyed the abundance of beautiful food and flowers through the season and onward; it feels so good to eat the fruits of one’s labor even after the garden is gone, beyond the literal nourishment received, it’s also a taste of the nurture and nourishing that went into it’s becoming coming back . . . . so glad the cabbage thief left cabbages for you and didn’t bag the whole lot😉
    Do you save seeds? In the past I’ve gathered the easy ones . ..calendula and marigold . . .this year I’m having a go at tomato, cucumber, squashes, and herbs and flowers, see if they dry out then can plant them next season and share or swap as well, as too often once a packet is empty, which granted is usually a few years as there’s always more seeds than plantable in our space, it becomes a loop of re-ordering (although . . .seed catalogs are fun to look through, always amazed at the varieties within one plant family!!) Enjoy your week Sue. 💛

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    • Dear Rose… forgive the late reply my friend.. And I thank you for a most wonderful comment.. Indeed we save seeds and marigolds I plant between the veggies ..
      Sounds as if your own harvest is going to have a bumper crop too.. Our tomatoes and cucumbers have been great this year with the heat.. I also saved some seeds from the tomatoes of last year.. dried out on a piece of kitchen paper.. They grew well..
      And we ordered the seeds for next year ..
      Hope all is well with you too Rose.. ❤ And again Thank YOU.

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  7. Oh so impressive sue… I take my hats off to you both! Your dahlias are so gorgeous… I’m sure the weather change is a blessing and I’m sure you’re busy preparing to store everything for your he winter months. Much love to you x Barbara x

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  8. (Written days ago) – My neighbor Melissa visited today and brought ‘open-fire-baked’ ripe plantains that were split in half and dusted with powdered peanuts, a ‘specialty’ comfort food of the people in the countryside. several thin slices of home-made ‘fresh’ cheese garnished the plate. the mixture of aromas contributes to the ‘comfort’ and I mentioned to her that the most important ingredient was love.. not only the love she put into the just-prepared (and still warm) food, but also when planting the peanuts, then shelling and roasting and grinding them. I definitely believe that the quality of food increases when all steps of preparation are dong with love and via the hands of a person with a sweet soul.

    Your garden ‘drips’ with visual examples of a garden planted, tended and harvested with love! Even the trips back and forth with water were done with a loving heart – not only for the end result, but also out of empathy for the dry and thirsty garden.

    Of course the products of your garden will nourish you and your loved ones well thru the winter!

    How well I recall being often impatient when the potatoes were forming, and I’d scratch into the soil and sneak the new potatoes as the plant grew larger. Is there a chance that the cabbage thief has been raiding all of the potato patches?!!!!!!!

    You’re wise to pay attention to the changes in bounty – perhaps a subtle SOS flag from mother earth – one that you note, and perhaps others will note as well – and work together to help her mend – one loving bucket of water at a time!

    Even though challenging growing season, your garden is lovely!

    Do you plant a winter garden? We always grew turnip greens as well as mustards.. the frost/freeze would bite both, but the turnips grew back where the mustards were more delicate… and the broccoli grown from sets planted now would be gigantic by early december. (this was when I lived in Mississippi/USA)

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    • Dearest Lisa.. Apologies for my lateness in replying to you.. Just getting back to my Garden blog and it seems four comments slipped by my attention..
      Thank you for your compliments, I passed on the TLC of the watering effort compliments to hubby,, He was the one who carried it back and forth every day..
      And no, the fox may often dig a hole to grab the odd potato, but no potato thieves, it was just the lack of water that reduced the crop..
      The cabbage thief has not returned thankfully..
      And the answer is Yes to you our winter crops.. We have parsnips, turnips and swedes, along with Rainbow Chard and Leeks.. Plenty to keep us going..
      We had a frost a couple of nights ago, so we have been busy this past weekend gathering in our tender flower plants which have been in pots, and await the frost to take the blooms of the Dahlia’s and Begonia’s..
      Your own gardening sounds to have been much loved too Lisa..
      Sending Many thanks and Huge Hugs.. ❤

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  9. Pingback: Autumn Digging, Freezing, and Storage. | Dreamwalker’s Garden – WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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