Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkins and the Plot

We have had gales and torrential rain...again!
These photos were taken on the 20th,so the pumpkins have probably grown somewhat by now.The 5 monsters are clearly visible now through the foliage and are like giant sunspots in the gloom.

The 3 on the top of the bank,Zwena plants pumpkins up here each year but this year is going to see record weights I think

This one is the same one in the header pic with Aoife.Zwena usually organizes a harvest day when all the pumpkins and gourds are freed from their foliage and weighed, the kids love all the excitement and seeing which one is the heaviest.
Zwena then divides up the booty to any of the children who want to make a really scary Halloween lantern.

Work on the plot is maintenance now for the winter, clearing beds and debris. The green manure on this bed shot up in a few days, I have since cleared the sweetcorn and bean beds and sown more green manure on them which should be up any day this week.

Our lone pumpkin which broke from its stem, I cleared the tomato plants from the greenhouse and put it in there to hopefully continue ripening in what little sunshine we will get.Its the White Ghost pumpkin but I think due to lack of heat and sunshine it has not developed its trade mark white top (yet)!

The colours of the Borage and calendula are stunning in the sunshine and I took a pic before clearing the whole lot!I am sure they will be back bigger and bolder next year somewhere on the plot!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Winding Down

We have lost a lot of time to clear the plots and get ready for winter due the the weather recently.I spent a few hours there on wed when the sun shone unexpectedly.
I dug out the roots bed and brought home some unusual specimens!
It took me the best part of an hour to dig out 8 parsnips!Last year we had a 4 kg monster and that was just the part I was able to unearth. This year I specifically picked seed which was recommended for small gardens and containers?!They were long and big, most of them coming in at a kilo weight.The seeds were planted back in late Feb as parsnip seeds are supposed to be the first to go in, because of slow germination I planted more in late May and they were of a much more acceptable size even though only 4 of them grew!
I spent the whole evening scraping ,peeling, blanching and freezing parsnips.I know they can be saved in sand but I don't have the space to keep them over winter like that so freezing is the best option for me.For all of their size I ended up with 10 freezer bags of approx 400 grms of blanched and sliced parsnips.
The few carrots from this bed had been attacked with the late season carrot fly despite being surrounded by a breaker.I have one bag of parsnip/carrot frozen to add to a stew or casserole.

We finally have red tomatoes from the greenhouse albeit in Oct!4 small green peppers,4 apples from our tiny tree and the last 2 courgettes.We did not have to worry about a glut of any of them this year.

Our pumpkin is turning but will it be ready for Halloween?!The purple flowers are Borage, sown 2 years ago and it has reseeded all over the place since.

Tomatoes turning red in the greenhouse!

The calabrese which has surpassed all expectations this year, it has continued to send out side shoots for months.The last time I was at the plot I cut all shoots and expected to be clearing the plants this time only to find they had grown even more impressively, some of the side shoots are growing as big as the first centre heads.

Alas our poor cabbage, I would think slugs as I could not see any sign of caterpillars, they are almost skeletal!

The strawberries are still growing and turning red in the little sunshine we have had lately, I cut all of the flowers and any fruit off of the row we are keeping for next year

The root bed after being cleared and sown with a Winter mix green manure, hopefully we will get a few more done before the weather changes from bad to worse!
In answer to Theanne, I will do a post on the hens soon and some photos of the havoc they have wrought in my back garden!They lay 4 eggs every day and when we had the few days of bright sunny weather I had 6 eggs a few days.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rain,Rain go Away!

I have not been to the allotment for over a week because of torrential rain every day and I have not been able to get on to the blog because Blogger is so slow!I am not sure if it is Blogger or my Internet provider is at fault, I tried up loading photos but they took so long I just gave up.The new header pic was done last week and took nearly 20 mins to upload, which is why I am on here on Sun morning hoping nobody else is online yet!

Our leeks have settled in at last and are looking a little more healthy and whatever was nibbling on them has stopped.

I cleared the bean bed leaving the roots in the ground to rot down to provide nitrogen.The Lollo Rosso is not alone a splash of autumn colour but a tasty addition to our salads.

The strawberry bed was cleared of all old leaves and debris, the near row was 3 year old plants and were pulled up.Some of them had a second flush of strawberries so I left them but with the wet weather the slugs got to them first so now this side is completely cleared

Tomatoes in the greenhouse are slow to ripen still but there is a few ready to eat each time I go out.
I have been ripening tomatoes with the banana skins and I also tried the apple, both of then worked successfully in a dark cupboard.
The pepper plant has a few peppers on it which are green and probably will not redden at this stage of the year.
The Aubergine plant produced lots of flowers but nary a sign of anything else!

Our lone pumpkin, there were 2 similar sized ones but one just died off leaving us with one,this is the White Ghost pumpkin.

The new strawberry bed ,I planted out the runners at the end of this bed.We got donated turnip plants from Ger these are in the centre and our cabbage under netting is at the near end of the bed.

I have not take any photos of the pumpkins on the bank so far this year, our communal compost heap where the horse manure from the stables is piled up.The plants have now covered the whole bank and there are lots of pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes hidden among the leaves.

3 of the biggest pumpkins peeping out.

The pumpkin which looks the biggest at the moment but we know from the past that it may not be the biggest on harvesting day.
The header pic is Aoife admiring the pumpkins about 2 weeks ago.
With the rain coming down unabated a lot of the work preparing beds for the winter has come to a stop for the time being. We will have to get in a few days before winter sets in as I have green manure ready to go down.
I bought it online from Seedaholic, I am always amazed at how fast their delivery time is, I bought it from their website one evening and I had it in the post 2 days later!It is an Irish company and they could teach a few more a thing or two.
Our UK counterparts are basking in record sunshine for Oct, please think of us dripping wet over here. The rain is either torrential or we cannot see in front of us with heavy wet mist!