Only a few visits this week, so not huge amounts of progress but slow and steady. The clocks have gone back an hour this weekend which means it will be dark much earlier in the evening from now on. This will really limit the amount of time I can spend on the plot as, within the next few weeks it will be dark by 4pm (and, to be fair far too cold for me to want to be outside!)
We had our first frost this week so I harvested the parsnips. A.A. told me the frost makes absolutely no difference to the taste of parsnips which totally goes against everything I’ve been told about growing parsnips (which, on reflection isn’t much) I was always told you had to wait for the first frost before you harvested your parsnips but who knows? A.A. has been right before! Unfortunately, there’s no way of me making any sort of comparison as all the parsnips came out after the frost. I’m sure they’re going to taste amazing – despite their slightly unusual shapes.
I’ve continued to dig the extension this week. I managed one trip to the tip on Wednesday. It took me an hour to move 6 bags of rubbish from the site to the car, drive to the tip, transfer the bags from the car to the rubbish container and drive back to the plot. I have to say, really not my favourite way to spend an hour of my life but it has to be done if I want to clear my plot. The extension area is coming along surprisingly well. I’m already about half way in and, while it’s a bit of a slog and there’s still a lot of rubbish it’s actually quite satisfying. I’m pleased with the progress and, if we ignore all the rubbish, the soil’s pretty good too (and the rubbish pile is definitely smaller!)
This week I attended my first ever Allotment Annual General Meeting (and you thought my life was dull!) For anyone who has ever attended an A.G.M. I’m sure you’ll understand when I say they’re never going to be the most exciting couple of hours of your life. In fairness, this one wasn’t the worst A.G.M. I’ve ever been to – there were some very nice cakes which is always a good start, a constant supply of tea and it didn’t go on too long so, all in all, as these things go not too bad at all. It was also really nice to meet the other plot holders from the other 2 sites.
On Tuesday, after college I had my 2 apprentices helping me. This week I finally remembered the sweets I’d promised them (the milk bottles were for me – my favourites!) We didn’t have very long on the plot but we did a bit of digging in the extension and cut back all the weeds round the edge while Louis pottered around the rest of the plot. Louis seems to be a born potterer (is that a word?) He’s quite happy doing a bit of watering, a bit of digging, a bit of random planting. Speaking of random planting, my friend, J. pointed out we may have a problem with the aliums Louis randomly planted last week. Aliums are part of the onion family (so J. tells me – I did not know this!) so it’s going to be almost impossible to tell the difference between an Alium and an onion when they all start growing. The only way we’ll know (before the Aliums start to flower) is I planted the onions in (fairly) neat rows, so when a rogue onion pops up, chances are it’s one of Louis’ Aliums. See, it’s all fun and games until someone eats an Alium thinking it’s an onion!
My ex teacher popped round in the week for a cuppa and to give me my leaving present(s) Both are now proudly hanging on the shed – one inside and one outside. Spot the difference!
After protecting the brussel sprouts from the cabbage white butterflies they now have white fly! I was on the plot with Michelle the other morning when I moved one of the brussel sprout leaves to have a look underneath. A cloud of what looked like white fluff puffed out from under the leaves. Michelle told me what the fluffy cloud was and gave me some bug killer to spray the leaves with. It appears to have done the trick because when I checked yesterday morning the white fly were gone.
The chrysanthemum is looking beautiful. It’s flowering a gorgeous dark pink and yellow and with no squashes or sunflowers crowding round it I can actually see it properly.
At the A.G.M. it was agreed we can have a fire. I have so much wood I need to get rid of and the easiest way has to be to burn it. So, before anyone can change their mind I bought an incinerator from The Range the other morning. I love a good fire so I’m really excited about having a fire on the plot. You can just see the incinerator next to the compost bin in this photo.
The remaining onions have gone into the bed the parsnips came out of. We are going to have A LOT of onions as I’ve now filled 3 beds. Good job we like onions. I cook with onions a lot but even so I really think I’m going to struggle to use all the onions I planted!
Despite the frost the pepper plants are still in situ. I’m guessing I’ll have to dig them up this week after I’ve taken whatever peppers are still on them. I noticed some are still ripening which is pretty bloody amazing really.
Rhubi is looking good. I removed a few dead leaves this week. I’ve checked online about what to do with her over winter and I’m not entirely sure at this point what I should do as some say to cut the leaves back, others say not to. I’m confused and I need to investigate further.
One of my favourite times to be on the plot is first thing in the morning. I was there by 8 o’clock yesterday morning. The moon was still out and the sky was beautifully clear.
This is how I left the plot this week. Half term for Louis next week. I was hoping to take him away for a couple of days but it doesn’t look like that will happen now so, weather permitting we’ll be on the plot trying to get as much work done before winter really kicks in.