September 2005


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Thursday September 1st
Up very late - just going dark. Managed to pick a few courgettes, look at the state of the place and pick some runners.

Friday September 2nd
Got home to find a message from Chris saying sheīd chickened out and cut all her tomatoes. Decided that wasnīt a bad idea and so went up with carrier bags. Lovely evening. Left all the obviously blighted ones on the patch for now, placing all the others in carriers. I shall have a clear-out later this weekend - possibly a bonfire. I have quite a lot more than I expected! Some ripe, most not. I have no idea where Iīm going to put them to finish ripening: I suspect the spare bedroom as itīs dry and light; the conservatory will be humid and promote any blight spores to germinate. That and Iīve half a chance of being able to lay out hundreds of the things upstairs without tripping over them!
Picked a few more runners, a couple more courgettes and some beetroot. Combed the minicorn for more cobs and picked a couple of normal ones. Chris donated some purple podded French beans and I swapped her some yellow ones. Not many now - they finally seem to have exhausted themselves. Just as well for the freezer volume! Marrows still growing well though. Picked over the blackberries and raspberries, then cracked a bottle of wine and a pack of very nice cheese biccies and sat and watched the stars come out. Sitting in the lottie on a warm clear night until 10.15 when sunset is 8.30 is quite fun! Especially if itīs clear enough for the Milky Way to be seen.

Saturday September 3rd
Only a brief dash to the lottie to pick stuff: the grand plans for doing things went out the window when I got a heeeeelp! phonecall from a friend early today so ended up rescuing her. Still, did make it to the flower show (eeep) and got a bagful of veg. Sunday wasnīt much better - too hot to do much and we went to Kew Gardens to see the Chihuly exhibition!

Friday September 9th
Dashed up with P in tow and picked just about everything I could see was ready. Huge bagful of runners, a trio of marrows, ten courgettes (serves me right for not going up for nearly a week) and a carrier full of apples. And a couple of cabbages. Took most of them up to Mum and Dadīs, as we were going to help celebrate their Golden Wedding (so no gardening over this weekend either).

Thursday September 15th
Got phonecall from Sir while I was at work to say that a box containing various bits of green stuff had arrived. Oh well - Iīll train him one day. They were my brassica collection from Dobies; apparently so popular that they had to get their nursery to grow a second batch (of which mine was a part). Ten each of two types of spring cabbage, ten caulis, ten white sprouting broccoli and ten purple. At long flipping last I have got some sprouting broccoli!
Dashed out of work on time despite looming mountain of work (like has kept me out of the lottie for a week or two) and weeded the cauli bed of both weeds and caulis, since the latter had all gone peculiar and not had any decent heads. Planted six each of the white and purple broccoli; what the heck. They were supposed to be in that bed in the first place...
Heeled the rest into the space at the end of the summer onion bed, and covered with fleece to stop the pigeons getting to them before I find somewhere to put them. Canīt avoid it now - have got to dig out another bed!

Saturday September 17th
and at last got up to the allotment with loads of tools, several pieces of wood and the determination to get at least some of the next raised bed made. Managed to forget to take up the lump hammer, the ordinary hammer and the nails, so that was a bit silly. Decided to get cracking anyway, as the area was part of the carpeted bit that Iīve been merrily walking over for the best part of five years, and was likely to be solid. I was right. except I didnīt realise it was also solid clay at the middle section so digging got very hard indeed, especially as I didnīt have any easily accessible manure to stuff in. Borrowed a lump hammer off Lee, who was very handily up there, so was able to get the boards into position. Need to get the L-plates and nails up there tomorrow though, so the wood doesnīt warp.

Made quite good progress, despite having a time limit as I had to be elsewhere for the late afternoon: should be able to finish digging it over tomorrow.





Just to show it doesnīt take as long as you think to make an edged raised bed. Another hour of digging and this one will be done. Hopefully then there will be minimal digging in the future.

Sunday September 18th
... or not. Forecast didnīt say it was going to rain overnight, or be a cold, damp day which is hopeless for digging clay soil! Forecast still insisted it was going to be sunny and warm, even when looking out of the window showed the contrary! Come on BBC, you can do better than this...

Spent the afternoon making apple jelly instead while listening to GQT. Hopefully plot will be dry enough tomorrow to let me get an hour of digging in before sunset. Assuming I am not at work...  this last week itīs been insane, punctuated by making green tomato chutney and freezing lots of stuff.

Monday September 19th
Despite feeling a bit yuk, went up to the lottie with the tools etc and spent an hour and a half racing sunset (and losing) and finally getting the new bed dug. Very sticky - I'm glad most of it isn't clay! Got the remains of the poor brassicas in. Half have been eaten by slugs already. I hope they survive in their now permie home.  There were only four usable cauli Mayfair (not counting the one I've already shoved in with the broccoli) and planted eight each of the spring cabbages. Couldn't remember at the time which was the ball and which the pointy, but either way the Excel (pointy) are away from the path and the Spring Hero (ball) the closest. Have a bit of room left - might even plant some lamb's lettuce as ground cover. I suspect that after 5 years of being buried, a lot of seeds will take the chance to grow like the clappers! Only just got the net on before it was too dark to see. Used the one off the summer raspberries and the water pipe from the potato bed. Will have to tidy up the net's pegging later this week but hopefully it will do its job meanwhile.

Wednesday 21st September
Up to lottie on a lovely evening to sort out the netting from the other night. Cabbages doing ok despite me thinking they were being eaten by slugs. After a fair bit of faffing and rolling of spare net, managed to get it neatly enclosed within the framework (below). Went to look at broccoli - horror! That one WAS eaten! Had to replace several of the plants with the spare ones, though have no idea which one was which so for all I know I probably mixed the white and purples. Not that it makes much difference. Hadn't quite enough. I am now seriously cross about growing sprouting broccoli.
Picked 6 more courgettes, noted two marrows nearly ready and picked over the runners, which are definitely slowing off. Picked a pile of apples and some sage. Picked the last sweetcorn (I think). I am amazed that the remaining tomatoes never got really bad blight and are still happily getting bigger! So will be able to pick more soon. Picked some chard and spinach and beetroots. Must watch for frost. There was a slight air-frost in the pocket last Friday (16th), as Chris had a few crispy courgette leaves. Earlier than last year. But no real one up the top yet.

Autumnal equinox tomorrow night at 10.23pm. Odd no gales (yet).


Finished bed, though need to sort out the path beside it.

Saturday September 24th
Lovely day, though a very cold start. Rumours of frost again though I didnīt spot any signs on my plot (ie the basil is still growing). Got up to the lottie about 11.30am and started to tidy up the path by the side of the new bed. Decided somewhere along the line to use the spare bits of wood I had lying about to edge the loganberry bed on both sides, so that I have a clear gap between the soil and the shed. This involved wriggling between the metal post of the loganberry supports and the shed and crawling down the gap. Wasnīt too bad! Didnīt have enough wood to do all of the loganberry area, though somewhere along the line I decided that Iīd never picked any so why had I got them there in the first place. I think they are going to come out, leaving me a narrow bed for cuttings, bulbs and perhaps some more easily accessible raspberries. Managed to flatten the path area reasonably well (and fill in the dip by the grass path) and then carpeted it to smother the bindweed which is still lurking underneath.. Looks quite smart now. Also emptied the water butt into the water tank round the corner of the shed, which allowed me to move it uphill. Itīs now directly under the drainpipe so I donīt need to have the flexible pipe any more (and makes the butt easier to get water out of). Itīs also now away from the shed sides so we can get in with the roofing felt and redo the waterproofing. Much better. Picked a punnet of raspberries, found that Iīd missed the blackberries completely, picked the soy beans, some more runners, a couple or so weedy courgettes (though with 4 marrows nearly ready, I donīt expect many courgettes!) and a few pink fir apple for tea. Dug up the usable onions (some are already resprouting - serves me right for not hoiking them out of the ground, but then again theyīre only an inch across so not really worth bothering about). Looked at the blackcurrants in plot 2 and agreed with Chris that they need taking back to stumps to regenerate as they really are old and in bad condition. This will free up a large amount of space that they are currently (argh) flopping over. A job for next week I think.

The replanted broccoli are shreds again. I could cry. Cabbages are getting growing though, so at least Iīll hopefully have something to eat next April/May.

Sunday September 25th
Not as rainy as it was forecast to be, but Iīd made my decision to not go to the allotment, but to deal with some of the masses of stuff Iīve got from it instead. So hereīs my efforts: five bottles of ratatouille, four of various coloured passata (thanks to the passata machine I got from Seeds of Italy on Thursday), and four herb/spice jellies - two chilli, one coriander and one sage. The ratatouille had passata in rather than tomato chunks. Two cheats - had to buy aubergines for the ratatouille as the latest ones on the plant arenīt yet big enough and Bramleys thanks to my silly tree having none on it this year. Coriander a small cheat but everything else was grown either on the lottie or in the conservatory at home. Next up: pickled onions...

I hope to put some bottling/canning instructions up somewhere, once Iīve written them down.



Wednesday September 28th
20% off night at the local commercial GC and so stocked up on narcissi as usual. 100 Tętę-ā-tętę for Ģ2.99! That should keep me occupied... as should the large bag of jetfires, a bag of tulips and some assorted other interestings. I am definitely digging out the loganberries now - I think a narcissus border is called for!




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