Monday, 31 August 2009

Will my peppers ever ripen?

Well the chillies are ripening at the rate of several per day. We have had one curry (it wasn't very hot..) but the rest have all just gone in the freezer for now.

But these peppers are staying resolutely green. A few are beginning to darken, but now I'm beginning to worry that with the end of the 'summer' almost here, they may never ripen. We'll have to eat them all green.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Attention being distracted from allotment...

I have had a couple of sessions down at the allotment recently, but it's mainly been a question of harvesting, harvesting and more harvesting, and sometimes feeling guilty because of not harvesting, and just eating junk food instead. Sometimes feeling guilty for leaving a bag of runner beans in the fridge for too long and then composting them. Anyway it's raining at the moment so that's my excuse for today. However another major distraction is that we might be moving house! I say 'might be', because even though we have accepted an offer on ours, and had our offer accepted on another, as everyone who has moved house will know, 'there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip', and it's still early days. Two out of the three offerers have changed their minds, and we are currently waiting for the results of a survey on the new house. Still, fingers crossed, and if all goes according to plan, it is going to be quite an exciting project. It is a good sized plot - not big enough to replace the allotment - but has a perfect corner for siting my greenhouse, a herb garden and a few fruit trees. And it is still within cycling distance from the allotment.
Will keep you posted.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Onion Strings

I've been stringing up some of my onions. I've done three or four strings altogether but this is the best so far, I was beginning to get the hang of it by then. Actually these are mostly shallots. I will be digging up my brown onions tomorrow.

I decided to dig up all the useless brassicas, but I still need to dig over the area and sow some green manure. The phacelia I sowed a few weeks ago is ready for digging in, and there is a bare patch where the new potatoes have come out. I have now finally finished digging up the Charlottes (sigh of relief) and once we have eaten all of them we can start on the Anyas. At this rate the maincrops will be left in the ground until well into the autumn.

The pumpkins and the enormous marrow type things are starting to turn orange, and I have two tiny butternut squashes starting to grow. The plants are looking a bit yellow though, they probably want feeding.

My to-do list is getting ever longer.

I still haven't dug up the allotment tomatoes, because they don't seem to be getting any worse. The blight hasn't affected the fruit, and there isn't much left on them now anyway. I have a small amount of blight starting to develop in the greenhouse now too, but it doesn't seem to be spreading and the tomatoes are nearly all finished on those particular plants so I will leave them, and keep a close eye on them.

Also in the greenhouse, I have picked my first red chilli, and there is another one on the turn. There is plenty of fruit on the peppers, and hopefully the sunny weather will encourage them to ripen now as well. Oh yes, and the two remaining melons are biding their time....

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Ripening melons

The three melons seem to have stopped growing now, and one only reached kiwi-fruit size. This one I discovered sitting in a wet patch and was beginning to rot on the end, so I have had to pick it. It felt ripe, although there was no aroma, but obviously we had to cut the rotten bit off and therefore had to stick a spoon in and taste it. It's juicy, but doesn't have much flavour. I will stop watering them now so hopefully the other two will be a bit sweeter when they ripen.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Sunshine at last

At last I have been able to get down to the allotment, after what seems like weeks. I tried to go on Thursday but the minute I got down there and got out of the car it started to rain. I just managed to empty a bokashi bin before I had to make a dash for home.

Anyway, I have had a good session up there today, trimming the grass edges, weeding the carrot seedlings and erecting a fleece fence around them to keep the carrot flies off. Then I decided to dig up some of my maincrop potatoes to see what they look like.

They are the pink ones on the right, Sarpo Mira. They are supposed to be blight resistant. I dug them up because quite frankly, I'm a bit fed up with Charlottes. We seem to have eaten nothing else for weeks and I just fancied a jacket potato for my supper.

I also dug up nearly all the red onions, and the remaining shallots, and brought them home to dry.

At the moment they are outside on the patio, but at the first sign of rain I can move the whole thing into the shed. I also had a go at 'stringing' the shallots which have already been dried, but I won't show you as they are a bit rubbish. Maybe I'll have a bit more success with the onions.

The outdoor tomatoes at the allotment are showing signs of blight, despite being sprayed with dithane. I have already dug one plant up (the worst affected), but I have left the rest for now, though I know it's probably too late for them now. I have cut off most of the trusses with ripe/semi-ripe/on the turn tomatoes and brought them home to ripen here.

Then I picked some runner beans and some french beans and a couple of carrots, and a courgette.

As you can see the beans tend to dangle down on the inside of the frame, making it very easy to pick them. They don't have a great deal of foliage, but there seem to be plenty of beans.

Finally I sprayed the grass and weeds on the path in front of the hedge, so that I can put down bark chips, like I've done further up. The grass has spread to the actual plot, surrounding the tomatoes and lettuces, and it's very difficult to remove. I won't be able to do anything about it until those crops are harvested and out of the way.

Then I came home and sorted, washed, scrubbed and strung.

We have a birthday tomorrow, and we will then have an official teenager in the family!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Please sign the anti-Aminopyralid petition

You have probably all heard about Aminopyralid - the herbicide which has been contaminating manure and badly affecting peoples' allotment and garden crops. You can read more about it here, and also sign a petition against its use.

I haven't been able to do much on the plot lately, like most of you I expect, as the weather has been so rubbish, but hopefully I will be able to bring you some allotment news later today.