Monday, September 16

Summer harvests are waning

We made another visit to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park last week. When we were there in July, the painted dog pups were only a couple of weeks old and still a little wobbly. They have grown up quickly and their unique markings are now present. Sadly their mum died when they were about three weeks old but fortunately another dog stepped in to care for them.
It's difficult to imagine that the cute animal above will grow into a super predator.  We posted a video here.
We also paid a more garden related visit to our local garden centre where we picked up some bulbs which will be planted in tubs and in the garden. We also bought a couple of packs of autumn onions - Radar and Senshyu.
The onions have been planted at the allotment. As usual they have been planted in channels of multipurpose compost which hopefully will give them a better start. Prior to planting, the ground was fertilised and covered with weed control fabric and a wood chip mulch. The sets should have a chance to settle in and put down roots before winter really sets in. Last year's autumn onions did well, in fact we still have a few to use up. We're hoping that these will repeat that success.
I've planted some tete a tete daffodils in amongst the snowdrops, primrose and bluebells that I planted in the garden in spring. The rest of the tete a tete have been planted in pots as the area that I want to plant them is still filled with summer flowers. The ones in pots will be slotted in in spring.
Regular readers will know that I like to sow hardy annual seeds in September in order to have an early display of flowers. Seeds sown now also seem to produce stronger more vigorous plants.

I've sown cornflowers, clarkia, poppies and calendula. They've been sown in shallow trenches of multipurpose compost in the same way as the onion sets. I've draped enviromesh over to deter any creature from disturbing the seeds and hope that it will also help a little towards conserving some moisture.

Earlier, Martyn, sowed some spring cabbage, (the variety is April) and these really needed planting on. He'd been hoping that we would have had some rain to moisten the ground, but that wasn't to be and the plants just couldn't wait so  these were planted out and watered well.
I pruned and tied in both the black raspberry and the tayberry.
The black raspberry, above, was fairly obliging but the tayberry, below, is a monster and fights back. Tackling it each year is one of my least favourite allotment jobs and I am always happy when it is behind me.
Martyn, cleared away the cardoon that had been flattened by the gales. 
In the middle all that woodchip is the new shoot. 
It's hard to believe that this will grow into a huge plant by the end of next spring.

We picked our first bunch of Himrod grapes from our garden greenhouse and the garden also provided us with watercress. 
We pick sprigs of watercress as we need it, but I always forget to mention it, and never take a photo as it doesn't hang around long enough between picking it and eating it.
Fortunately the fish haven't a taste for it.

Just a couple of harvest boxes came home from the plot last week. 

I removed the net from the blueberries and found a few that I had missed earlier. The raspberries are still producing, but the berries are smaller and more are being spoiled. It's drifted from berry time into apple time.
10 September
Despite one or two nights when the temperature has hovered around the 4C mark, (about 39F), we have avoided a frost and so the dahlias are still flowering.
14 September
Martyn trimmed the plum trees and spotted a few plums that both us and the wasps had missed. These were from  Marjories Seedling and were delicious.

It's also a treat to pick our own spring onions after several years of failure. I'm hoping we have cracked it and this year isn't a fluke.

The courgettes are slowing down now, which is a shame as it means my menus will soon be moving into winter mode. We use a lot of courgettes when they are in season and will miss having a supply. This year despite having about a dozen plants we haven't had the expected glut. The yellow, Atena Polka seems to have outperformed the green variety, Defender.

I've posted a video of our plot activity on Friday 13. We came home unscathed but I was careful to leave tackling the tayberry until another day. 

Finally, I managed to grab the photos below on Saturday night. Excuse the quality as they were taken from a moving car, (I wasn't driving!), with my mobile phone. The sky was incredible and exactly as shown.

This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

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  1. There's something primeval about those painted dogs. I can get a glimpse of how our ancient ancestors may have come to revere or fear them, even emulate the markings in tribal rituals. Good to see the harvest keeps on giving, and enjoy those spring onions at last.

    1. Apparently the marking are unique to each dog, Deborah. We are certainly enjoying having our own spring onions.

  2. That is a wonderful fiery sky!My dahlias are still flowering away, I do hope the early frosts hold off. I love all your early plantings and harvests. Oh, those painted dogs are stunning, so good to hear another dog stepped in and weaned

    1. Fortunately I think they were weaned at two weeks old, Dina when we saw them being fed regurgitated meat. At that stage one had a lim0 but that seems to have disappeared.

  3. Your garden will be beautiful next spring. What a gorgeous cauliflower.

    1. I always look forward to spring, Sue although it will be more like the beginning of summer before the annuals flower.

  4. Awww, the painted dogs are so cute, it's hard to associate them with the killing machines they'll become. So many gardening tasks now are getting things ready for next year, tidying beds, planting crops and sowing seeds which will come to fruition next year, autumn must be very close.

    1. The allotment jobs don’t really make for interesting reading at this time of year, Jo but still necessary

  5. Wonderful photos of all that is going on and around your Allotment. Those sky photos are tremendous.

  6. those painted dogs are stunning, I would love to sit and watch them, so terribly sad about their mother.
    You are an inspiration, we tried to get bulbs at the weekend locally but they had so few and they were really expensive for just the basics - hopefully this weekend will be different.
    Loving your wonderful crops and embarrassed by the productivity you two have been making on the plot for next year already - you go!! x

    1. We love going to the wildlife park so have an annual pass. Carrie. We always come away with hundreds of photos and bits of video. I took 600+ photos his time. Remember neither of us have to go to .org so have more time than lots of others have.

  7. I never had luck growing the Himrod grapes, so it is great to see yours! I too dislike pruning the thorny canes, which is why I love the thornless blackberries.

    1. Our Himrod grapevine grows in our greenhouse, Dave. We had a thorny blackberry previously and it was a nightmare the thornless one that we have now is much easier to deal with.


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