September 2002


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Sunday September 8th

Finally an update! Not that I've done an awful lot recently, bar pick huge numbers of marrows and give several away. And I've still got three on the kitchen floor… with at least two more needing picking at the allotment! 

Tuesday September 10th

Off to allot armed with empty trug and came back with the biggest pair of marrows I've ever grown. One was 18" long, the other 17", but the latter was thicker and weighed in at 11lbs. Yikes. It was bigger than the cat… Also got a load of French beans, still mostly the yellow ones which had that head start, but a decent number of greens now appearing. Three more beetroot, and yet more courgettes. Another pair of dark green courgettes has escaped me into marrow territory, so oh help there'll be two more on the kitchen floor soon. I'm eating them nearly every night as well! I suspect I'm going to have to freeze some more of them in cubes. The marrows will at least store (the first two are happily sitting on the floor with no sign of deterioration).

A lot of the musselburgh leeks have bolted, so I guess they're not the best variety for planting early. The verinas are very happily growing, and I'm expecting them to still be there in early spring. Next year I'll plant early verinas but hang on to the musselburghs until much later so they get the overwintering too. Meanwhile I'm trying to eat the bolters.


Mostly marrows again... and a very curious cat!

Friday September 13th

Exhausted. I found out yesterday that I had booked today off, and what a day. Sunny, hot, 24oC and I spent nearly 7 hours of that in the allotment. I think it's fair to say I've got a bit sunned, and that the allot looks a heck of a lot tidier. Dug out all the cauli corpses and bolting lettuces, so that bed is almost clear now. Then cut the grass, which was fun since in doing so I managed to find two more unsuspected lurking marrows. That took some time, and some trips up to the dumping corner, but we're there. Then weeded my way through the two late onion patches, removing the onions for eating, and weeded the French beans and beetroot. Dug up an accidental potato and found it had grown me several quite nice ones. Removed a lot of the wild verbascum, and only left when I started to feel wobbly. Went home with a trugful and a rucksack full. Two more marrows, Bramleys and a sweetcorn cob. Ate the sweetcorn immediately – much better than the last unripe one.

Saturday September 14th

Cloudy and not nearly as warm. Still, made for good gardening weather nonetheless, and so went up and spent another few hours weeding. Keith had mentioned yesterday that Focus has overwintering onions, so despite saying I wasn't going to do them again, I bought a packet of senshyu for all of 99p for 75 on the way up to the allot. Spent most of the afternoon weeding rocks, as the 2 square yard patch by the firebucket/frame was almost entirely flint, and it took two hours to evict it and the weeds. But at least now I'll be able to grow stuff in it. Now all that's left in the weeding department is the path between the leek beds and the path between me and Keith. He was up there, and I mentioned perhaps we should make a proper path and fill it with the evicted stones from our plots. So I ought to see if I can rescue some planks out of skips, as the suggestion went down well. Back home, planted all 73 usable onions, of the other two, one was shrivelled and the other I think is a tulip!!! Hopefully rooting them in modules as I did the last lot will really give them a decent start and then I can put them out in the cauli bed in a couple or so weeks. I've planted them exactly a month earlier than last year.


starting to look threadbare now!

Sunday September 15th

Still cloudy, and a bit drizzly to begin with, but not more than a bit of moisture in the air. Went up to dump with a carload of plant matter and discovered a water butt on top of one of the skips, so got it for a quid. Spent an hour or so playing with siting it and trying to fill it. The latter was fun as I couldn't quite reach it with the length of hose I had, and even with trying to spray it in from a distance didn't work (and just go me wetter!). Managed to go home forgetting to unscrew the pipe, so turned it into an excuse to take the holey length off the back wall and use it as an extension after another corn on the cob lunch. Ended up wiring up the old butt to pour over into the new one, so I can just put the hose in one of them and both will end up full. Don't as yet have the piping to get water *out* of the original butt, but I'm sure I can work something out! After all that, I have a well watered plot, including the spring cabbages which I planted in the bottom plot next to Keith's onions. Must hunt out garlic, to get a start on last year's (planted 4th November).

Wednesday September 18th

Up to allot intending to shift all the claggy manure so I could order some decent stuff, then decided that there wasn't much point in wasting money and effort shifting the old stuff then re-shifting the new stuff into its place. Dumped three wheelbarrows of the old stuff on top of the ex-cauli plot and got forking. Not terribly successful since the soil is so dry and powdery there it just fell through the fork tines. Another good excuse for putting in organic matter – it's too sandy and doesn't retain moisture! (This may be why the caulis did so badly.) Anyway, it's done early enough in the autumn to leave the worms to it. It will probably disappear gradually over the next months. I have slightly shot myself in the foot as it's where I was going to put the onions once they'd rooted, but I'm sure by the time they have leaves there will be other patches of clear soil. Besides, as I discovered with the late planted sturons, their roots don't really get out of the compost until they're quite a bit bigger than the sets, so they can stay in the trays for weeks.

Friday September 20th

The onions are rooting nicely, though some are a bit fuzzy with mildew from the conservatory humidity. Planted three squashes for a laugh. I figure that by the time the cucumber is out of its giant pot I'll be able to put a squash in it and see if I can grow one for Christmas.

Sunday September 22nd

Up to allotment and played about with the connectors to the water butts while watering stuff. Still not the ideal connections but better than it was. Talk there is about frost, and the possibility we'll get it midweek. Ouch. Out with the fleece I think to save my poor beans. Watered everything, and was surprised the spring cabbages are still not pecked to death. Picked everything I could, including lots of smallish beans nevertheless. Four Table Dainty marrows and two cabbages! And some sweetcorn, but this turned out to be mixed as two were too ripe and one not ripe enough. And the fourth was wonderful. Pulled a bunch of carrots yippee! And a forked load they were too. Took ages to prep them… but P had bought some normal carrots for the coleslaw and so I took the opportunity to compare tastes, and the normal ones really are much more watery. I think I'll stick to nice concentrated carroty taste.  But next year I'm planting them in large pots in the back garden so I get straight roots and an early crop!!!!

(I wonder if I can do the pea guttering trick with carrots?)

Tuesday September 24th

Quick dash to allotment to fill up water butts and water, only to discover the pigging water was off. Not happy, and only half the butt capacity left. Must be because of the forecast frost. All the same, bit of a pain given the drought conditions we have at the moment – nearly a whole month with no rain.

Saturday September 28th

A great dash up to the allotment, and managed to get utterly soaked thanks to filling up the water butts. It turns out that the taps in the allotment are mostly on – only the row next to my plots isn't. And of course it's the only row my hose will reach unaided. Thankfully Lee had his hose on, and so we jury-rigged the two pipes together and I got my butts back to capacity (and watered everything in sight while I was at it). Pegged fleece over the beans just in case, and wrapped the other fleece length around the custard marrows, since they are trying to grow their last two and I'd kind of like to eat them… Picked two turnips – tiny! Also picked loads of apples – the russets are actually very nice, last year they were obviously duff. Just weird eating apples which are only 2" in diameter!


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