September 2003


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Tuesday September 2nd

More weeding. Managed to work my way round the ex-onion bed with the fork, and now have a nice weed-free patch. Also managed to dig up four missed garlic and two missed clumps of shallots including 12 more Topper. :-) While I was at it, dug another 4-5" out of the grass path to even it up and get some more ground back. Took a while, then picked another tub of blackberries and a few autumn raspberries. Then got three marrows (two oddly shaped) three acorn squash (so they can ripen elsewhere, now it's getting cooler) and a few courgettes. Still doing pretty well on the quantities. So far the LGT marrows are doing best, with eight off three plants. Next task will be having a go at the orchard I suspect, or clearing the sweetcorn bed. Picked two more cobs of the supersweets, just tiny ones off the last plants. Ate them for tea. Picked beetroots at last - all small ones so should be nice to eat whole. They haven't grown as well this year through lack of water, but since I had too many last, it's as well.

Saturday September 6th

Finally joined the Chesham Horticultural Society!

Sunday September 7th

More bulbs. Hunted about for garlic Thermidrome but it seems it's not yet in. Went to Focus and got a bag of cheapo Japanese onion sets as per last year, and later on, back for a huge 160l bag of compost.  Then played plant the bulb. Figured this last season's been so cuckoo and early that getting bulbs in now wouldn't hurt. Started off by planting the onions in the usual modules (a week earlier than last year), then garlic, having raided the largest bulbs out of the shed for new plantings instead of waiting for the shops to get them. 

Wednesday September 10th

Allotment meeting at Town Hall. Not too many people there, but finally found out how many plots are available, how many currently have tenants and how special my own site is, having been given in perpetuity to the people of the town as allotments. I don´t ever have to worry about it being built on. Wow. There was some of the usual mutterings about organisation and committees and then I stuck my neck out and mentioned my willingness to do some webpages for the sites. Seems to have gone down well. I shall see.

Friday September 12th

Day off. Gorgeous weather. Hoorah. Drove round to the carpet shop and liberated some pieces of discarded woollen hessian-backed carpet. Perfect - shouldn´t have too many chemicals to leach into the soil. Carted them up to the allotment, backing up from the road. That was fun! Arranged them on the cleared plots and was astounded as they´re virtually exactly the right size. Just needed to trim them a bit. Returned the car to the parking area and went back for round 2. Picked some exceedingly squashy blackberries.

Decided to sort out the other three sage bushes, and managed to get seeds everywhere. Found some more baby bushes under where the butternut squash is currently, which will hopefully survive to next year. Harvested a lot of sage for stuffing. Then moved on to the carrot bed, as it was needing a good weed. Managed to get it looking quite decent again, and found a lot of tiny pickling onions. The ones I sowed individually in modules did best, as per usual. These ones look like they´ll be next year´s pickled onion sets!!! Then decided to have a go at some of the bindweed in the orchard. It had spread to cover most of the soft fruit section and it was time to pull it out. Filled the wheelbarrow with it, and left it to shrivel in the sun as it´s supposed to be hot (up to 25oC) this weekend. Picked the marrow, the butternut squash, a couple of smaller marrows and discovered the odd green custard marrow has produced another one at last, so picked that as well as two round ones.


laying carpets.


Still in production - cabbages and marrows


looking up to the dying-back sweetcorn and the leeks


Weeded carrot and beetroot bed. The French beans are starting to die back, but are producing new beans again.

I have more carrots than I thought, thanks to the second sowing. They´re only small, but should get to a decent size before the frosts.

Sunday September 14th

Amazingly hot day for September. Managed to spend another few hours tidying the allotment, moving the carpet paths about a bit so the plots are more evenly divided. Dug over one bit of compacted earth, dug up the self-layered gooseberries and moved a sage bush as it was where a path ought to be. Still need to get a fair bit of the manure out, but it´s still solid and won´t be moveable until we get rain, and a lot of it at that. Nearly at the stage where I can move some pallets up there to have a proper compost bin. But I said that two years ago... Didn´t pick much - just a couple of Bramleys, the two sweetcorn Chris had left me and an eight-ball courgette. Maggie gave me some of her incredibly prolific tomatoes and two tomatillos, which are apparently simmered for 10 mins and used to make salsa verde in Mexico. Could be fun. Arranged to do the wine thing up there tomorrow night.

Monday September 15th

Another lovely day, followed by a very nice evening. Wickes at lunchtime in order to get more galvanised garden wire for the carpet pegs, and came out with a £4.50 piece of corrugated plastic. It looks to me like a summer raincatcher for the compost heap and a spring/autumn cloche. Drove straight to the allot after work, and dropped them off. Left the car at home, and walked to the wine shop only to bump into Maggie there. Got a lift up, and then spent a while arguing with the proto-cloche as I tried to get it to go over the butternut squash. This has just managed to produce some females, so given their speed of growth normally, if they flower inside a week I might just be able to get another off before the frosts. Especially with some protection. Course the darn squash is growing at an angle to everything, and has got secondary roots so I can't shift it. Aligned cloche accordingly, so it looks daft. It only just fits over the squash… Watered things and then invited over a new couple (Linda and John) who have taken over the piece next to Lee, and Dave, who has the plots in the dip. Sat at the top of Tony's plot and watched the sunset and the incredible oyster mushroom clouds that were in the sky while chatting and drinking wine.


wonky cloche - luckily you can peg through carpet...


oyster mushroom clouds

Sunday September 21st

Hooray a bit of rain at last. Not much, but it's a start. Dropped into Wisley and bought some garlic ‘Cristo' which is apparently a strong one. Won´t grow any spring garlic this time because it doesn´t really get big enough.

Monday September 22nd

Equinox. Not much in the way of gales, but have torrential rain. At last.

Tuesday September 23rd

Major frost warnings on all forecasts so went out at lunch and bought a couple of packs of fleece. Dragged P. up to the allotment to lend a hand in deploying it, and after covering all the cucurbits and some of the runner beans, found ourselves with a bag of tomatoes from Vincent, a handful of French beans (the last?) and the final marrow, which I'd hoped would have had the chance to get a bit bigger. Oh well. Also blocked off the ends of the butternut's cloche, since the darn thing has finally started to grow fruits. Bet they don't get much bigger…  Picked over all the tomatoes which had any colour to them other than green. Hopefully some of the plants will survive.

Wednesday September 24th

Definitely didn't escape the air frost - car window was solid. However the plants at the house were ok, with the window boxes looking fine. Journey to work showed white fields, especially in the valley, so the lower areas were definitely hit hardest. Don't know if the lottie was ok: I'll bet the lower plots got it but mine was safe. Certainly with the fleece in place I'll have had a chance.



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