Sunday, 30 October 2016

Still getting a harvest

The nights are drawing in now... especially because the clocks have changed. But down at the plot there are still some goodies to be had.

The potatoes have been sitting in the bags since August when I took all the tops off them to stop blight from spreading. But down in the cool earth they're still happy.

Wish I could say the same for the carrots though. We've never had much luck growing carrots. Tried all sorts on methods, but we just can't seem to get nice true, straight carrots. They always end up knobbly and branched. They taste fine though. The spuds and carrots we're used in a nice Japanese Curry. The Cape Gooseberries... well they're dessert.

On the plot though, we're now onto boring jobs which aren't very photogenic. Emptying and re-locating the compost bin is not the most glamorous work. So I didn't bother taking photos of that. But trimming to Buddleja turned this...

Into this...

Which I'm sure you'll agree is a lot better. It also won't be bothering the neighbours anytime soon. But there is still much to be done. But it gets dark early these days. Darker now they changed the clocks. Can we just leave the clocks alone for once? If you want lighter "evenings" then get up earlier. I still wake at stupid'o'clock in the morning. But my times have to fit to everybody else, so now I can't go to the allotment in the evenings. :(

Saturday, 22 October 2016

This is why you use wood chips...

Haven't been to the plot for a week. Most of the week has been cold and rainy. So when I turn up I find loads of these guys...

Fun guys!

The woods chips become food for Mycorrhiza, which in turn becomes excellent food for your plants. Compost is a bacterial breakdown, whilst wood is fungus based. This gives a better composition of nutrients. In fact, you need both, but plants that have a better selection of mycorrhizal fungi tend to produce better crops. This is also the basis for "Back to Eden" gardening. I don't agree with the naming of it, but there can be no doubt that using wood chips and leaf mulches does produce good results.

Now I don't use the wood chips on my actual beds. But all of my paths are chipped, and the stepping places between the beds are also chipped. There are a number of other benefits too. Any weeds that manage to get a toehold, are very easily pulled. And it helps keep the place looking tidy.

Meanwhile, I went for a full blown cooking session at the plot today.

I was using the Ghillie Kettle to try and cook some breakfast. Unfortunately there were issues. I was trying to boil potatoes (they're in the pot on top of the kettle). This did not work as expected. The wind, gentle as it was, was enough to pull the heat away from the pot. I had to feed endless amounts of sticks into the kettle just to heat it up. In all it took about 90 mins to cook the spuds. So I decided to abandon that as a cooking method, and went back to the ethanol cooker.

There I managed to fry off the spuds, and add in a couple of eggs. Then with a tin of freshly cooked tuna I produced this mess... a.k.a. Lunch.

But I wasn't just cooking all day. There was plenty of work to be done. The flower bed was in a sorry state after being neglected after the floods. So I started to clear it of the couch grass, brambles and bindweed. Left behind some of the small blue flowers - not sure what they are, but the bees love 'em.

And piled everything up to become next year's Courgette Mound.

Soon I'll be building a new raised flower bed for the wife. In the meantime... there is much clearing to be done.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Tidying the bed(s)

Duvet's are nice. To make your bed after sleeping in it, you simply give it a flick. Raised beds are a bit different.

I had only intended to dig over two of the beds, but I guess I got a bit carried away and dug over four. But let me tell you, digging the bed with the old sweetcorn roots in was not fun. Those things look like some sort of alien with root tendrils going all over the place.

I still have the second bed of beetroot (the one which flooded back in June), but I pulled all of the existing ones from the original bed.

Some of them may be a little woody, but I doubt it. They have been really sweet and tender.

But there is still much to do. Plans for this winter include the second greenhouse, and a new raised flower bed for the wife. Work work...

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Last gasp of the Courgettes

We've been away for two weeks hiking in the Austrian Forests and Mountains, so it's with some trepidation that we return to the plot to see how it fared whilst we were away.

Well the first thing we noticed was the dead foliage of the Courgettes and the Tomatoes.

They have definitely past their best, but the have still left a few goodies for dinner.

The Wild Flowers in the wheel barrow are now all dead, leaving behind a lot of dried seed head. These will now be cut off and put into a paper bag ready for planting next year.

We have already collected a lot of specific seed head, such as the Poppys, but this will be a  mixture of everything. Just like we bought the pack in the first place.

Meanwhile, the Daikon is going great guns. Looks like we'll have a good crop early next year despite the damage done by the slugs.

The Morning Glory is still putting on an impressive display. A lot of people who walked by our plot today commented on it. At least it's now standing up. It's kind of fused to the grape vine now.

Talking of which, there are grapes on the vine. Not a large amount, but enough that they're worth harvesting a few bunches.

So we've done a lot of tidying up today. All the dead foliage has been removed. But we have left one courgette plant behind. We may yet get another one or two out of it.

But on the whole, our tally of courgettes has been quite impressive. Especially as we only planted 6 plants, and one of those we pulled because it produced somewhat mutated plants. So, including the 6 full size marrows that are sitting as potential seed stock for next year, the 2016 Courgette Tally stands at a mind blowing...

With maybe one or two latecomers. Here's hoping.