Sunday, August 28

Who's knocking on the door?

Nearly the end of August so autumn is knocking on the door. Looking at the plot some of our plants have been in autumn dress for a week or two now. Although the blueberries are still offering up a few fruits they now are showing off their brightly coloured red tints.
It has been a great year for fruit and we are still harvesting strawberries that are supposed to be a mid season variety along with, alpine strawberries, autumn raspberries, blackberries, more plums, apples and pears. It’s the first year we have had more than a couple of pears; the trees were only planted last year and then fruit dropped off before it was properly ripe but this year we can appreciate the true flavours.  As for the plums - the Marjorie Seedling tree has suffered under the weight of plums. The main leading trunk broke earlier in the year but the fruit is still managing to ripen as the bough hasn’t completely broken. A huge section of the tree is propped up the keep it off the ground which at least makes it easy to reach the plums.

I’m being a bit wary when picking the blackberries as I think the evil beasts that are feasting on me could be lurking somewhere in the undergrowth around the base of the canes.

We have two varieties of autumn raspberry - All Gold and Joan J. The later was struggling to compete with the stronger growing All Gold and so early in spring some clumps were dug up and relocated. The plants that were moved are producing lovely large raspberries and so the rest will be moved next spring.

So it’s a success story all round as far as the fruit is concerned but there have been winners and losers as far as vegetables are concerned.

Earlier posts have mentioned that our carrots and garlic have been one of the major disappointments but at least we now have signs that the seeds sown in the empty potato sacks are growing away so who knows we may get a few carrots at least. 

I don’t hold out a lot of hope that we will harvest more than one or two sweet corn cobs as only the plants set out first are showing any signs of producing.

But it’s not all bad news - as mentioned earlier we have plenty of really good onions and shallots. Once dry I’ll have to try making some onion strings. I did threaten that I would buy Martyn a beret and send him to the market on a bike.

Brassicas also seem to be doing well and we may even manage to have sprouts this year after two years of failure.
Runner beans are also doing well and both Martyn and I have already sung the praises of our potato crop.

Looking back we seem to have missed out on the sight of the allotment being covered in lush growth this year. Lack of rain has meant the plants have struggled so we really feel very lucky to have achieved what we have.

Things also seem to have completed their growing in a short space of time with many beds on the allotment now being bare and ready for winter or some late planting.

The rest of the story can been seen in this album - that is if you haven't become bored by now!

The few spring cabbage in the album were grown from seed but, as time and space as been in short supply, we have bought most of our over winter brassicas as plants for the last few years. We won’t be doing this again though as the plants received from Marshalls were well past their best and those from Dobies were even worse. 

What do you think? Martyn has photos on his blog of Marshalls plants and Dobies plants.

In response to emails Marshalls thought their plants were fine - their definition of fine and ours doesn’t seem to correlate. As for Dobies we have only just emailed them and so are still waiting for a response. One thing is certain - we will be growing our winter brassicas from seed in future!

Update - we had an email response from Dobies who'e attitude was far more what you would expect from a reputable company. They are contacting the nursery that supplied the plants and asking them to send another batch . They have said if the supplier is unable to do that they will give a full refund. Well done Dobies - take note Marshalls!

Our full August harvest is listed here. It spreads over two pages so use the arrows at the bottom of the page.


  1. shame on you Dobies even to an unqualified eye like mine they look a bit tad skanky. Refund.....

  2. I'll let you know what they say Capt. The Marshalls ones actually looked better in the photo than in real life and the person I spoke to was very condescending. What was annoying was that their blurb says that plants are expertly grown under ideal conditions and sent out when in the best condition for dispatch. WE are having to try and coax them back into good health.

  3. You have so many fruit pickings! That tree is so laden with fruit. I am kind of down with my cabbage, I can't believe it this week instead of starting to form head it actually flowers!

  4. Blimey, those seedlings are past their best. One of the problems with buying online is that you don't know what you're getting. I've bought plug plants from markets before now, they've been really healthy little plants and very economical too. Yes, autumn is definitely on it's way. My blueberry plants are changing colour too, they turn such a gorgeous colour in autumn. I've got some more stumpy round carrots growing in a container so I should get a late crop too.

  5. We have some good cabbages at the moment Diana - hope you get some better ones later.

    WE have had plants before from Dobies and were shocked at the state of these Jo. It will be interesting to see what they have to say.

  6. Good to have the warning about plug plants. Amazing fruit harvest. Good luck with the sprouts!

  7. It's just a pity Janet as in the past they have been really good! But once bitten!

  8. I have updated this post as now the bank holiday is over we have had a response from Dobies - far more satisfactory than the attitude of Marshalls and that was even without seeing a photo!

  9. What beautiful bounty! I'm in awe of your garden.

  10. All goes towards the 5 a day L&R


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