I love this time of year as the harvesting of crops is finally slowing down at the allotment after a very busy summer and I can finally carry out some other jobs.
A couple of weeks ago I started to remove the old, unproductive raspberries from my plot and I laid a new path next to the area. I have finally dug up the rest of the raspberries now and the area will provide another bed for me to use next year:
The weed suppressant in the middle of the raspberries (in the first photo) covered the grass that I sowed a few years ago to walk on. I covered the grass for a few months to kill it, so I could just easily dig the grass into the ground.
Weed suppressant kills the grass and weeds well, except for bind weed which just skims the surface and ‘pops’ out at the side. However it does make it easier to just pull most of it up, though I will have to make sure I hoe this area every week during the growing season to weaken it, in the hope I can eventually kill it.
For those of you that don’t grow organically, ‘glyphosate’ does kill bindweed easily, though I choose not to use chemicals.
After digging the area over I topped it with some of my homemade compost and I laid some paths so I don’t need to walk on the soil that I plant into and I was very pleased with the result:
As I had a few spare slabs I also laid a path between my woodland area and my strawberries. This area was a real pain as before I only had a small path made of weed suppressant that I struggled to walk down. I also finished off a path next to my water tank, which will also make things easier for me:
If you read my blog a couple of weeks ago you will remember I stripped the green tomatoes from my outdoor plants as I was worrying about losing them to ‘tomato blight’. I put the tomatoes in my mini-greenhouse at home and they have been ripening well:
….And I have been busy at home making lots of tomato sauce to use in spaghetti bolognaise, pasta sauces. pizza sauce etc.
And it is a good job I did remove the tomatoes when I did, as ‘blight’ did strike a week later and you can see in the photograph below how it very quickly affected the few remaining tomatoes that I left on the plants.
I dug the tomato plants up quickly, removing any remaining tomatoes and put the foliage into my compost bin.
The stems and leaves of tomato plants that have ‘blight’ can be added to your compost heap, as the spores won’t survive on dead plant material. Do ensure that you remove every last one of the tomatoes on the plants, as the blight spores survive in the seeds….SO DO NOT COMPOST THE FRUIT.
I dug the area over where the plants had been growing and forked in some manure. I again split the bed up with some old weed suppressant, so I could easily walk around the bed without treading on the soil…and this was another bed completed for the winter:
Another area I have concentrated on this week is outside my polytunnel. This area used to be a real problem area as it looked unsightly with a few slabs, crazy paving and couch grass and the area was full of weeds. So last winter I removed everything from the area and laid weed suppressant, with woodchip on top and it looked lovely.
However, this is how the area looked again last week:
Unfortunately, the weed suppressant I used was just not up to the job and the weeds had grown through it!
I bought this weed suppressant from our allotment shop and it was a different sort to normal. Weed suppressant is sold in different grades and this was obviously a low grade, but as I have never had a problem with their weed suppressant before, I just never gave it another thought….that will teach me not to check.
So I had to remove all of the wood chip and lay some more (better quality) weed suppressant and then put the wood chip back……I have got to say it was really hard work! Hopefully this will work this time.
A couple of weeks ago I picked my saved pea pods from my pea plants and left them to continue to dry for a couple of weeks in my kitchen on trays. This week Mr Thrift helped me to ‘pod’ the peas so I can use the seeds next year.
I store the seeds in an envelope in a tin, which will be placed in a cool, dark place.
Finally, the first of my melons from my polytunnel was ready this week. They are a variety called ‘outdoor wonder’.
The melons aren’t really big, but they are really sweet and delicious. I grew them last year for the first time and I know I will be growing them every year from now on. According to the packet they can be grown outdoors, though I grow them in my polytunnel just in case we have a bad summer:
That’s it for this week. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog.
I will be back next Friday as usual.
I hope you have a good week.