Late, I know, but here at last.
The allotment in September turned out to be somewhere I rushed out to collect eggs and vegetables, and occasionally did a little weeding or cut the grass, but little else.
So I feel more than amply rewarded with produce, for so little input. And I do actually seem to have managed to get quite a lot done, despite my impression of not having done so.
First of all, I dug up all my potatoes and spread them out in the greenhouse (in the garden) to dry before bagging up the best to save and use through the rest of the year. Far earlier than usual, when I just about manage to get them all in by the end of October. Normally they last us until early March, and this year looks likely to be about the same – despite the awful blight that hit while we were away on holiday late August/early September.
The ‘keepers’ are a mix of Charlotte (yellow, waxy) and Desiree (red, good for most things in the kitchen). Both have a great flavour, and we really notice the difference when we eventually begin to buy potatoes in the spring.
Unfortunately the blight meant I had to be very very careful sorting them through, as quite a few rotted. And I will need to keep a careful eye on them over the next few weeks in case any more go bad. I store them double-bagged in hessian sacks in our garage, where they seem to keep well. Single bags don’t seem to keep the light out well enough. Since I bought the bags (from Marshalls) I’ve discovered that I can get hold of the perfect bag free of charge from coffee sellers who roast and grind their own beans, like the people we buy from at Bath Farmers Market.
We’ve also had a bumper crop of onions, also stored in bags in the garage and shed. These too will probably last us well into the early part of 2016. I’ll use up the last of the red onions later this week by making a small batch of red onion marmalade, as they don’t keep well.
Several of the crops I was despairing of back in July and August have turned out fine, which just goes to show that sometimes it pays to do nothing (apart from killing the bugs). The french beans have been amazing and abundant, despite my early fears that they weren’t coming to anything. Even the courgettes bucked up their ideas and began producing a bit better than earlier in the season – not as many as I would have liked, but I think others (aka Malcolm) may have been perfectly happy not to have had more.
The brassicas that I despaired of when the caterpillars were at their worst mostly survived, and I now have one kale, four broccoli, and four purple sprouting plants, all looking very healthy – and four lovely heads of broccoli which will be ready for picking and eating soon.
The autumn fruiting raspberries are still going strong, and as we’ve had other things to eat, I’ve frozen most of these for us to enjoy in the winter. Malcolm’s raspberry trifle takes some beating, and we normally have one at Christmas (and other special family occasions).
The hens are producing faster than we can eat the eggs, so it’s imperative for us to see the sons and their partners as often as possible! and anyone else we visit gets a box too.
Well the biggest one was tomatoes. Not. A. Single. Tomato. I’ll just say one word: blight. Resolve to start them earlier next year, and take better care of them. Because I do love a really good tomato. Like those below, seen and drooled over in a market in Paris (we bought some of the black ones for lunch and they were luscious).
And sweetcorn. Lack of fencing – bloody badgers again! All trashed. Next year…..
I’ve already made a start on next year’s crops – I’ve bought my onion and shallot sets ready to plant out in the next few weeks and over-winter, and my garlic to plant out in November. And I have my Allotment Association seed order ready to complete and put in. Mostly I will use this for my seed potatoes, which are always good and we get a good discount.
I didn’t take many photos of my allotment in September, but I did take some of my neighbour’s. Every year he grows a stunning array of flowers, which he shows (in local competitions) and cuts for his church. And which I just love. I hope you do too.
A feast for the eyes, indeed.
I love the idea of having sacks of potatoes and onions to keep us going through the winter but we haven’t planted any! I’m still getting to grips with having a large garden to grow stuff in and working out where to put things. It also requires a certain amount of forward planning which seems to flummox me at the moment. Our raspberries are doing very well too – such a treat to have luscious fruit well into October – and I think I’ll freeze some. Good idea. Those dahlias are gorgeous.
Yes, I can see the flaw there – if you don’t plant them, you don’t get to harvest them! But nows the time to be thinking about making a start for next year, even if it’s just putting in a few new potatoes and a few onion sets to overwinter – both of which are very forgiving in terms of conditions (thought they do both enjoy a good bit of muck).
I open freeze the raspberries then add them to a plastic tub till we want to use them. Helps keep them free-flowing.
My blind spot is flowers, somehow I never ever get things in or ordered at the right time. Need to find a ‘guide’ blog to help me along I think, just as I use Charles Dowding to guide me on the veg. Any suggestions gratefully received!
There are lots of great gardening blogs but I’m not sure about flower-growing advice specifically. Take a look through the ones listed in my sidebar (such as The Blooming Garden – she has lots of garden bloggers commenting). Now’s the time to be planting bulbs for spring 🙂
Me again…! Just a thought – the Sarah Raven website has a good guide for what to be planning and planting at different times of the year. Obviously it’s promoting her stuff but it’s very good nonetheless.
Oh thanks ever so much for this Sam. Will have a good look through once I’m somewhere with proper internet access. Will also have a proper look through the blogs on your sidebar. Bulbs and wallflowers are on my list at the moment, plus putting in the divided plants a friend gave me recently.