This week at the allotment it has felt more like autumn, with some wet and breezy days. One morning this week it was quite foggy too and on this particular morning I noticed lots of spiders webs that looked beautiful with the moisture from the air making then sparkle:
The allotment is starting to slow down a little bit now and I am harvesting vegetables every three days now instead of daily, however the harvest is still good on those days:
At the moment the allotment plot is looking very pretty with the calendular and tegetes that line the paths. They also attract many beneficial insects as well, which is why I grow them:
But I can’t wait for the final finale that the michaelmas daisies give, that edge my rotational beds.
When they flower I love the contrast between the purple and the orange flowers and when they arrive in September, I know that autumn is here.
Below is a photograph of the michaelmas daisies last year. I hope they look this good again:
This week at the allotment I have been carefully watching my outdoor tomato plants for ‘ tomato blight’. After we had a few wet days I became very nervous that I would lose all the lovely green tomatoes if I get ‘blight’, as I do most years. I have already had lots of lovely ripe tomatoes from these plants and the tomatoes that are left are all a good size, but just not ripe.
So I took the strange decision to remove the tomatoes from the plants and ripen them at home. So here they are:
I have also been collecting my pea seeds at my allotment ready for next year. My dwarf peas and my climbing peas gave a wonderful harvest earlier in the year and so I want to make sure this happens again.
It’s very easy to save pea seeds. All you need to do is leave a few on the plants and wait until they are dry and brown:
I then pick the pods on a dry day and leave them on trays in my house for a couple of weeks. This ensures that they are completely dry.
I then take the pea seeds out of the pods and place them into a paper envelope or bag and store them in a dark, dry, cool place until I need them next year.
I find it so satisfying saving seeds and I always get such a buzz when my seeds germinate and produce plants the next year.
Also at my allotment this week I decided to dig up my two summer raspberry beds that I inherited. I will buy some new raspberries and plant them in a different place in Spring:
I covered the grass in between the raspberry rows a few weeks ago to kill it off.
Unfortunately, the raspberries never really did very well. Some of them looked lovely but would disintergrate when you picked them and the other plants just didn’t produce many raspberries. Over the last three years I have fed them and treated them very well indeed, however this hasn’t improved them and I can only think that the raspberries are old now and past their prime.
So I spent a merry morning removing their supports and digging half of the canes up. Due to the amount of compost and manure that has gone into the ground over the last three years, I found the raspberries dug up well and the soil underneath is beautiful.
I had some spare slabs at my allotment so myself and Mr Thrift laid a path down the side of the new bed, where I will shortly be planting my spring cabbages when I have dug up the rest of the raspberries on the other side:
At home my attention has turned to winter salads for my polytunnel.
I have sown seeds for mizuna, winter lettuce, perpetual spinach, winter hardy spring onions and coriander for my kitchen windowsill. I have also sown some more beetroot, which really is too late to sow (and i’m not even sure if it will germinate), but if it does I will plant it in my polytunnel in the hope I can use the young leaves in salads during the autumn.
My seeds are sitting snug and warm in my mini-greenhouse.
Finally this week at home I have been juicing all the lovely apples that I picked last week from my early apple tree at my allotment. I must say there weren’t many apples on the tree this year, but the ones I did have were great.
Below is a photo of my trusty ‘apple picker’ that I wouldn’t be without now, as it reaches all the apples on the tree without using a ladder – a great invention!
I juiced the apples using a ‘press’ I bought a few years ago. I must say though, I wish I had spent more money on a much bigger apple press as it does take me quite a while to juice all my apples.
I first wash the apples and cut off any bruised or bad bits and then chop them in quarters and ‘pulp’ them in batches in my food processor (again, bigger ‘presses’ have ‘pulpers’ attached). Then I put the pulp in the apple press…..
….and out comes the sweetest, most delicious apple juice I have ever, ever tasted. It’s also free from any nasty chemicals and preservatives that some shop bought apple juices have in them.
Unfortunately I don’t have a pasturiser so I freeze the apple juice in little plastic bottles that I have collected, so that my family can have the juice in months to come.
The bottles are ideal to pack in lunch boxes straight from the freezer, as they defrost by lunchtime and while it’s still frozen it keeps the sandwiches cool too.
Just to finish off with, I thought I would show you the strawberries that I talked about a couple of weeks ago. If you remember I cut the foliage down to approximately 8cm from the crown a couple of weeks ago and it always looks so harsh:
Cutting the strawberries back in this way helps the plant produce more fruit the following year, as the plant then puts all it’s energy into producing a strong root system.
Below is a photo of how they look today. You can see that new foliage has already begun to grow back and I will hopefully have lovely strawberries next year:
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back at my usual time next Friday.