September Harvesting

September evenings are now drawing in quickly, much quicker than I remember in my childhood days, but then again the Summer holidays from school seemed to last and last when we were children, and now it seems within a blink of an eye  they are gone, as children break up for the Summer and now already they are back at school again.

So while the temperatures brought an unexpected Late August heat wave on a holiday weekend here in the UK, its now dipped back to normal with a clear chill in the air first thing in the morning.

So before the rain set it Hubby and I got to work in harvesting the potatoes, along with  the ripe sweetcorn cobs, and clearing out the litter of spent brassica leaves and weeds.

Click onto any photo to enlarge.

Just two rows of potatoes dug up here.

So while Hubby got digging the main crop of potatoes up, Picasso, I got busy picking sweetcorn and also pulling up the spent dwarf beans, collecting the pods for next years seed.

While Hubby dug I sorted into sizes and any damaged with the fork will be used first.

 

 

 

Gathering dwarf bean seeds, the rows covered in weed ..

 

 

 

There were also the Dwarf Beans which had finished to pull up and collect seed pods  for saving next years seeds. The rows had got covered in weeds and so this area of the plot needed a good weeding and clearing out.

It’s very satisfying when  its all cleared and raked, I also went under the Brussels sprouts clearing out decaying leaves.

Cleared area after pulling up the dwarf bean rows

Ladybird bug feasting on the aphids and white fly

Look closely for the ladybugs on the  left photo, making a meal of eating the aphids.These little creatures are a gardeners friend, although the invasive species of the Harlequin Bug are now wiping out our UK Ladybird bug..

 

Sweetcorn ready to go into freezer.

Our sweetcorn has done exceptionally well this year, with the heat and often heavy rainfall which would fall in the night. On the left here you see 40 cobs ready for the freezer. There  were cobs still ripening ready to be harvested. Quite a lot, but when we went to collect today it seems our thief had got there first leaving only six small ones..

We are having problems with produce being stolen again on the plot.. We had onions go, and the odd cabbage, broad beans we knew were ripe also went.  You do not mind the odd thing missing but when they take a  lot.. or a whole row.. It can be quite soul destroying when you put so much time and effort into your plot to grow your own veggies..  We have thought of putting our Motion camera on the plot, but as this was a gift we do not want this stolen, as we get a lot of pleasure watching the hedgehogs roam on our garden during the night via watching the play back.

Hedgehog out earlier in the Summer on our patio

I have no problems sharing, we always plant more than we need and give family and neighbours that which we cannot store.

I would gladly give produce away rather than someone think its there right to take it..  Though I am under no illusions people have no qualms with taking what is not theirs..  I just hope they enjoyed what they have taken.. They obviously must need it more than we do.. So we keep planting more than we need .. And are thankful we can do so.

So until next time.

Take care.. and be thankful for what you have, for there are always those less fortunate than ourselves..

Through the Sweetcorn view of plot

Happy Gardening!

Sue

 

 

August Update~ On the Plot.

August has been a very good month, lots of warm Sunshine, hot days, and short sharp heavy bursts of rain.. Though in the beginning of August we did have three days of solid rain..

This has been good for our growing crops, but also ideal conditions for our main enemy~ The Weeds!.. whose relentless battle goes on and on..

Click on the photos to Enlarge:

Even when you have weeded, set seeds, the battle is constant. Click photos to enlarge.

Now I have no problem with weeds, they are all beautiful in their own right, but some are just so invasive and spring up like a carpet, choking and taking nutrients from the crops. The plots are full of them

now re-weeded you can now see the lettuce, swedes, the carrots are too tiny to weed out too close.

 

 

 

 

 

We had several weeks of redecorating our home, so the plot was neglected apart from watering in the heatwave every morning.

This beautiful weather ideal for our Sweetcorn which has grown to the size of me now, and it has some lovely huge cobs just about ready for harvest.

The sweetcorn has loved the heat wave and we have some huge cobs ripening

We have enjoyed strawberries right up into the middle of July, when this next picture was taken. While the early Raspberry canes are now finished, our late raspberries are just beginning to ripen and I have already had three such punnets off, with lots left to ripen.

While this photo was taken in July, These raspberries were the early ones, we are now getting raspberries from our Autumn late crop

We have had some lovely tasty new first early potatoes these were called Foremost  we planted three rows of earlies and six rows of the main crop, which are Picasso Below you see hubby  who yesterday weeded out the rows as the tops had died down, though he is not digging them out yet until the end of Sept, as everything seems to be about a month in front of itself this year, probably due to the mild Spring.

Hubby weeded out the potatoes now the tops have died down, We have 6 rows of main crop and still two rows of early potatoes to dig up.

Above you can see the onions drying out in our home greenhouse, in the middle on the bottom shelf are tulip bulbs from our home garden, I dug up and dried out ready for replanting in the Autumn. On the right these are shallots  which can either be used for pickles or I like to add in stews. 

My Dahlia’s and Gladioli’s have been lovely again this year and they are still  producing lots of bloom

 Inside the Allotment green house we have yellow tomatoes ripening and we have fallen in love with these Crystal  Lemon Cucumbers  

Well that is what is happening on the Plot this month, I will leave you with some busy lizzie plants on our patio.

Until next time

Busy Lizzie’s in one of our patio pots

Happy Gardening!

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~

 

How the Garden Grows While you are away.

After being away for our holiday in Scotland for a week.. It was surprising just how  quickly everything had grown, including the weeds..  ( if you hover your mouse over each image it reveals what they are )  If you click it takes you to the slide where you can view larger and read full descriptions 

We had left off planting out our sweetcorn, pumpkins, and courgettes until we returned home.. 

The sweetcorn got planted too.. All 40 seeds came this year, a total difference of last year where we had to set twice to only get a poor crop compared with previous years. Proving again there are good and bad years in all crops..  

Below on the right photo you can see the Butternut Squash.. This is fast becoming a favourite of mine.. You can use in soups, stews, and I also like to use in making veggie curries, the milder kind and I personally do not like them too hot.  You can also see in the distance how the potatoes have grown. These were weeded through too. 

 

The runner beans we had shielded in case of any last minuted night frosts were uncovered from their lower shield.. You just never know until May is out.. and we planted Lettuce in the middle of them. And they had really got growing up the supports.  To the right below, is the Rainbow Chard.. This is wonderful steamed or raw in salads with younger leaves.. 

A surprise for me.. What I had thought of as all last years Gladioli’s corms coming through where we had a few last year and I had left all the young new shoots in the ground.. They turned out not to be Gladioli after all.. But Yellow Iris’s.. 

How come, you may ask.. Well.. It has to be at least three years ago, we had a sunken half water barrel that we used as a sort of pond for wild life.. lots of toads and frogs would use it,  all good for slugs and insects, so  we planted an out grown Yellow Iris in there from our small home garden pond as it got too big for it.. So we split it, putting part in the home garden and I didn’t want to just destroy the other half, so put it in barrel pond.  It then outgrew it the following year, and we got rid of the water barrel pond.. As a harsh winter froze the water which led to some frogs dying in the submerged water barrel.. So we got rid of it.. The area you see below is where that pond was.. The Iris’s had large seed pods on, so these must be the Iris’s from those seeds.  Isn’t Nature Grand!! 

We had lots and lots of leeks left over.. And nothing much gets wasted.. So I dug up two of the raised beds and planted some in there. They are closely packed but these I will use first. And all the family enjoy leeks so none will go to waste.

Hubby put up one more net , Each tunnel has two rows over cabbage three sorts, Kale, Curly and Russian  Black kale,  Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflowers etc.. We also had the tunnel protectors off and I weeded inbetween, and planted marigolds in between them all.. The nets protect from both pigeons and cabbage white butterflies. 

Tunnels over Brassicas

On the Home Garden I will finish off showing you our Olive bush, which our Daughter brought us in January for an Anniversary.. It stands at the side of this beautiful Jasmine, which I showed earlier in the year protected by bubble wrap.. Its now in full bloom and the fragrance from it is just Beautiful

HAPPY GARDENING!

~Sue~

Jasmine and the Olive bush..

Planting Dahlia Tubers

Things are moving swiftly now in the allotments as we get things hardened off and now into the ground.. We planted out the tubers of the dahlia’s into their new positions in the allotment last week.. By the time the new shoots appear through the ground we are hopeful there should be no more low temperatures of night frosts..   Click photo’s for further enlargements and to reveal the text about the photos  if you can not see text. 

These are the Dahlia tubers.. Hubby dug out deep holes and filled half full with manure from the compost bins .. Watered well. and covered up. 

The Dahlia’s covered up I staked each one to help show me where they are..
I put plastic bottles on top, as its easy when you are weeding to not see sticks.. This is to protect your eyes if you bend down,, Believe me its easily done when you are concentrating on the weeds.
The allotments also need health and safety.
And its always good to keep a first aid kit in your shed.. We have needed it on more than one occasion, through cuts and splinters

Under the large cloches are various three types of cauliflowers, three types of Kale, And three types of Cabbages..
 Under the small ones Brussels sprouts .

The tomatoes are thriving.. and are coming along well.. We have a few extra plants over.. As we also have them within our home greenhouse too..
So the excess we are giving to our neighbouring allotmenteer , as his are not as successful this year. 

Also in the greenhouse at home we have been busy growing seedlings. Below are what have yet to be hardened off before being planted out. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well lots to be getting on with, and I hope your own gardens are starting to thrive..  Until next time.. 

Happy Gardening 

~Sue~

 

 

Great Growing Weather

Well we have gone from Cold to Warm and Wet in a matter of weeks. As the UK is hit by rains, flash floods and thunderstorms almost none stop for over a week now.

But the weather has also been humid too, so although my flowers in my home garden have taken a bit of a bashing, the allotment plot is thriving.. Plus we have only had to water the green house.. So a bonus on not carrying cans of water.

I can not believe how fast June is speeding away, as on Tuesday of next week it will be Summer Solstice on the 21st.  Half way through the year, where did those last 6 months go?

Here is my updates in picture format and everything is coming along as they say in leaps and bounds..

Potato crop

The Potatoes are thriving with all the rain we have had.

Veggies, Sweetcorn

Bottom left corner is the parsnips, then two rows of turnips, and two rows of beetroot. The square of Sweetcorn are growing, I also planted a couple of Sunflowers amongst them

Tiny Leeks

You can barely see them, But here are the leeks, we planted them at intervals. The Three black pots you can see in the ground are courgettes.. We were protecting them from slugs until they get going.

Tiny Leeks

You can barely see them, But here are the leeks, we planted them at intervals. The Three black pots you can see in the ground are courgettes.. We were protecting them from slugs until they get going.

Peas

Here you see my rows of peas, I have now netted them with wire and string to help them grow upward. You will see lots of plastic bottles on ends of sticks.. Its our allotment rules cover canes to avoid poked eyes.. You can soon not see a stick when focusing on a weed when you bend down.. These white poles are metal, so are also sharp on the ends..

Dahlia's

What a difference a week makes, I can not believe how these have grown in a week.. I also took out all of the weeds around them last week, just look how the weeds have grown in a couple of days

Strawberry bed

We made a lovely little frame for the netting to go over the strawberries.. Most have now set, so to keep birds from them they are now netted.

Fruit Bushes

Here is the Fruit section, the one I tackled last time with the fork in the ground.. You can now see how I weeded out near the flag stones, and how my Hubby has put netting over the Blueberry bushes now the flowers are set.

The space at the back of the sheds

This was redug out again, and we have planted butternut squashes in there. We put bottles into the ground when it was dry to allow water to soak into the roots and not get mildew on the leaves.. Since we did that, we have had rain none stop nearly for a week.. We left the Nasturtiums in from seed set last year. You can see the Old rickerty shed is still standing.. Soon to be demolished when we are on top of everything else.

Mr Friendly Toad

This lovely Mr Toad is most welcome on our plot.. He is sat on top of the net above our lettuce’s He never moved an inch either when my hubby moved the net to pick one. He will eat the slugs and pests and he looks to be thriving..

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and

Happy Gardening 

~Sue~