Sunday, 15 October 2006

Autumn Walk

here are some pictures from our Autumn walk through a village near to Huddersfield, it was a beautiful day:

October so far ...

My garlic has already surfaced and is looking very healthy. Last year I didn't plant until December, and got very small bulbs in July when I harvested them, so next year I'm hoping for a bumper crop.

The Japanese onions have sprouted too, just hope they don't get too waterlogged over winter, not grown the before, so will be interested to try them next year. Understand they'll be ready a lot sooner than spring planted sets.

I've re-dug beds 9 & 10, which were done very quickly in May / June and were only half dug by the time the pumpkins were ready for planting, as the discovery of my vole family halted digging. I've spoiled myself over the summer with my other beds - the soil is so good and the weeds so few from all the hard effort I put in over the winter, that it was a shock to rediscover the joys of digging soil that is bursting with bindweed runners and other nasty weeds. Will have to rethink my disposal plan. Boy its hard work.

Bed 11 was the potato bed this year, I've finally finished digging and raking it - but it's huge, so I need to think about paths to break it up for the next season. OH started to tackle the hedge behind it, I want it taking down to around 3-4ft to let the winter sun spread its warmth across the bed, which is slightly wet. As soon as the leaves arrive (courtesy of the council), I intend to cover it with barrow loads to try and improve / condition it. OH also replenished the bark paths running down each hedge - they look great and are really helping keep the weeds down. My only worry is that the bindweed is probably taking hold, as it can spread unseen and unchecked under the mulch.

I've set up a temporary cold frame with an old packing case and some perspex. It is currently housing the lavender cuttings (not sure that they've been terribly successful), strawberry runners (loads more to pot up), and some poppy and lupin seeds that I'm going to try and get established before the winter. If I manage to get any spare time over the winter months I want to build a permanent cold frame - I've got a plan and some glass, just need some wood and some spare time.

Next month is my one year anniversary, so I'm going to take some photos and then do a last year / this year comparison.

Size matters ...

My biggest pumpkin measured 45" ... not a world record breaker, but will still make a fair bit of soup !

Harvest Festival

Worried about the recent cold weather, I decided that this weekend I should take all of my treasures home for storage. Its brilliant seeing it all together

I've donated two of the pumpkins to the local schools that my firm supports - they are not sure what they are going to do with them yet. I've kept one for us - if we started eating it this weekend, we might finish it by January !!

I don't think I'll grow them again next year, as they take up so much space (although I did get some packet of seeds during the Wyevale sale ...) and the final one is at the lottie - it's skin has a little damage, so I don't think it will last long. Bernard & Roo have their own mini munchkins.

The kitchen is overwhelmed with veggies at the moment - I do wonder when we are going to eat them all.

Dug up the last of the Desiree They've benefitted from the additional couple of weeks in the ground, although they do have a bit of critter damage.

We've still got two blue crates of Pentland Javelin left, but noticed that they have started to sprout ! They are stored at the top of the cellar, but perhaps its not cold enough.

The courgettes are STILL going strong - they have been quite phenomenal this season. We've given up cutting them ... There are just four plants in the raised brick bed.

I'll definitely be growing these again, they look so lovely and didn't take up too much room. Next year I'll set them up a frame.

I've got some new friends

Here is my newest resident. I heard OH shrieking, as if in distress, and came running to find him chasing the poor little thing around the sunflowers.
I found another baby living in the herb path, he seems quite partial to the alpine strawberries and forget-me-nots.

OH chased him into the pond and was then delighted with himself that he'd helped him find the water "as he might not have known that the pond was there before". I suspect they'll be looking for a new home soon !

This is my cutie caterpillar

Friday, 13 October 2006

Sweet success !

I planted my T&M sweet potato slips out at the end of May under black weed supressent material. I've never grown them before and was bit unsure what to expect, especially so far North. Once they got going, they produced some good foliage and finally this w/e I didn't dare dally any longer and risk frost, so dug them up. What a suprise, they look fantastic

I've got some sizeable tubers and loads of very small ones (lots looked like they'd like to be in the ground for another month or so).

Unfortunately, the local wildlife also thought they looked fab for lunch and lots of them have small holes in them.

I'll definitely try them again next year, however, I'll try and produce my own slips rather than buying them.

This wee fella was the first out and looks like he is auditioning for a part in Aliens They looked so yummy that we decided to have these two for tea - delicious!

don't look muvver... tis rude !

heh, heh ..... lookie what I dug up ...

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Yum !

Made a special tea for Mum & Mike's birthdays - Ale pot pies, with champ and courgette & potato bake .... followed by warm chocolate pots - which was followed by lemon curd drizzle cake. Well we wouldn't want it to go off now ...

Delicious !

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Progress Report

well, we had a good day at the lottie on Saturday, despite mum's sandals (!) We harvested all of the butternut squashes, turks turbans, patty pans (only 3 from 8 plants - where did they all go ??) and pumpkins. They are now all sat in the potting shed drying / curing. The pumpkins won't win any competitions, but I'm very pleased with them. I think I'll give some to one of the schools that we support through work - maybe they can raise some money through a guess the weight compeitition, or perhaps make use of them in the kitchen.

The butternuts look brilliant, shall definitely grow them again next year.

Cleared out most of the potting shed, as everything looks so tired. Kept a couple of tomatoes that look as if they might have a last gasp and the pepper that I think has finished, but I can't bear to throw it out just yet ... and lookie, see what I found amongst the foliage:

I know they're very small, but they're mine ! Here is the one that my folks grew (from a plant I gave to them), it's huge and looks lovely. Shall make a curry with them I think.

The outdoor tomatoes looked absolutely terrible and have really suffered with all of the rain, so they've now gone to the make-shift compost heap.

We managed to dig over 3 beds, didn't take much effort really, as I have paths down either side, so never need to walk on the surface, hence its really light and uncompacted. Surprisingly there were not too many weeds either, I'm quite pleased with how I've managed to keep on top of everything in my first season. The beds look fabulous now - have a strange fetish for freshly dug earth, it looks so lovely.

I planted 6 bulbs of purple wight, which have taken nearly a whole bed and Mike planted the Japanese onions. Suspect his rows will be a lot straighter than mine !

Mum cleared the path (when I first took over the alloment, we didn't even realise there was a path there !) and planted my free daffodil bulbs down the side of the herb path, which should look lovely against the blue bench in the spring.

I still need to lift the remaining Desiree, I've got my fingers crossed that they haven't suffered too much from slugs, but the lottie has definitely been invaded. They've had practically all of the carrots - just empty orange shells left ! Next year I shall plant my carrots into a container, maybe a wallpaper trough, where the slugs can't reach them.

Think its probably time to have a peek at the sweet potatoes, the foliage is very impressive, but its impossible to tell whether there is anything under there.