Friday, September 29

Improvising - otherwise known as Plan B

Last year, I sowed some hardy annuals in mid September which provided some early flowers this year.
This bed provided cut flowers from the middle of May.
Following this success my intention was to repeat the exercise this September. I had some annuals seeds left over from this year's sowings and I bought a couple more varieties to add to them. 
As regular readers will be aware, this month our plot visits have been very restricted and when we have managed to get there we have mainly concentrated on harvesting.

With September being more or less written off, a change of plan was called for. In the past I have sown annuals in modules and planted them out. Planting out in October will not be ideal but it was this way or nothing,
My target date for sowing was 15 September. I sowed the seeds in modules on 16 September just a day later than last year. The modules are bigger than those that I have used for annuals in the past as I want the seedlings to develop a reasonable root system before planting out. 

I sowed, a mix of cornflowers, Shirley poppies, godetia, larkspur and nigella. The modules have been left outside on patio tables to try and give a little protection from slugs and snails,

Most germinated quickly after about eight days.
The danger is that the seedlings will be washed away as we have had some heavy downpours since I sowed them.

I'm not expecting these to produce plants as strong as last year but still they have a better chance of growing than they did in the seed packets.

On the plot the annual bed sown back in May is still looking colourful
The second annual bed that I sowed in mid June is also flowering and providing some cutting material.

The newly refurbished perennial bed has done far better than I imagined when back at the end of May it looked like this.
It started flowering in June and has continued to provide cutting material ever since. 
It's now battered but not beaten. I wonder how the chrysanthemums will fare?

Wednesday, September 27

Autumn touches the plot

Monday, September 25

Dash and grab.

We managed to get to the plot on Friday, thanks to our allotment pal, Jan who came to pick us up and ferry us to and from the plot.

Once there it was just a case of a couple of hours steady harvesting. We couldn't have stayed any longer anyway as the weather was against us.
You may be able to spot the harvest stuffed in the greenhouse to keep it dry whilst we sheltered from the worst of the rain.

The wind had toppled the runner beans like a stack of cards. They were attached to a frame like the climbing French beans which are still standing. The amount of leaf was all the winds needed to do their worst.
I did manage to salvage a few beans from the mass of leaves but to be honest, because we hadn't managed to pick regularly, most were past their best. Maybe I can pod some and use the beans inside.

I expected the sweet peas to have given up but there were still plenty of flowers.
We did manage to harvest quite a lot. Our booty was arranged at home under the carport out of the rain for a photoshoot.
In the net sacks are ....
... Fiesta apples ...
... Egremont Russet apples ...
... and Invincible pears.

We also managed to strip our sweet corn plants. We were really pleased with the haul considering we thought the plants had been murdered by strong winds straight after planting.
We decided to strip off the kernels and freeze them straight away.
The All Gold autumn raspberries had hung on for us. Usually the berries don't stand up well to wet and windy weather but we managed a good picking,
You may have noticed - on the group photo - that we even managed a smattering of blueberries. The bushes are now sporting their early autumn colouring so that's the end of their harvest for this year,
The fruit of the tomato plants in both plot and garden greenhouse are now ripening faster than we can use them and so batches have been made into a tomato sauce and frozen.
We have continued to harvest grapes, tomatoes, peppers, watercress, spring onions and parsley from the garden as we need them and I occasionally remember to take a photo.

The Snackbite pepper plants have done really well and are ripening steadily.
We will grow them again.
They've been a long time coming but we have now managed to harvest some spring onions!

As usual I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Wednesday, September 20


Monday, September 18

Harvesting when we can

At the moment we are not able to get to the plot and so any harvests are a bonus.

The only day we managed a visit was Monday and being unaware how the rest of the week was going to pan out we only harvested vegetables that we wanted to use and things that were likely to spoil if left another day or so.
Having had a similar problem getting to the plot last week meant that there were masses of sweet peas to pick. Vases of sweet smelling flowers were scattered in almost every room of the house. 

The apples in our harvest box were ones that had fallen off the trees.
The alpine strawberries had produced some decent sized fruits. These plants usually continue to produce a steady crop until the first frosts which in recent years has arrived at the beginning of November.

The rest of the harvest was from the garden. I haven't photographed the bits and pieces that were picked to eat straight away. 
The bunches of Himrod grapes growing in the garden greenhouse are never the perfect bunch shape as they are left to grow as nature intended and this is in no way detrimental to the taste.
We haven't photographed all the small harvests freshly picked to be eaten in lunchtime sandwiches but most days we pick something similar.

The aubergine is from Jackpot - a small growing variety. The fruits can either be harvested small or left to grow into a full sized fruit. Our plants are grown in our garden greenhouse.

We still have plenty of watercress. It's hard to believe that the mass of watercress in our pond was a tiny sprig only a few months ago. It has been severely cut back a few times as it as not only was it seeking pond dominance but also tried to head out of the pond.
The apples below were also windfalls but this time from the garden. They had fallen into the narrow gap between the greenhouse and a boundary fence and so it was quite a squeeze to get in and 'rescue' them.

Sweet peas were not the only cut flowers brought back from the plot.