Tuesday, 2 October 2007

the nights are drawing in ..

Sunday was my first trip to the lottie for a couple of weeks - we had a lovely weekend in Whitby, visiting my folks and delivering birthday presents. We went to Scarborough for a day and walked the North Bay - the weather was fantastic and gloriously warm. I think the sunshine may have gotten to my mum however, as she is convinced that she saw a penguin being attacked and eaten by a mink ... there wasn't much to say after that LOL. This is Scarborough from Oliver's Mount:

Scarborough copy

We didn't have time to visit the castle, but perhaps next time.

I had a great day on Sunday and got loads done. The cauliflowers are now potted on and in the greenhouse to grow on a bit. The cold has seen off three of the turks turban plants so I harvested three squashes (the fourth, which was very small, has succumed to the cold) and dug over the bed. Only one of the squashes will store, the others will need to be eaten as soon as possible. I left the remaining plant in the bed as it is still healthy (it is protected by the jerusalem artichokes at the end of the bed) and planted up the remainder of the bed with my overwintering onion. This season I'm trying Red Electric ... they can't do much worse than last winter.

Electric onions copy

The jerusalem artichokes have developed flower buds, so I guess it is nearly time to dig them up. I have never eaten them before so am curious to taste then - although I've heard lots of stories about their effect on the human body !!

I've also bought some garlic - Cristo and something else (its pink) and decided to plant them in the second potato bed. As I lifted the final spade of potatoes I got to thinking about what I'd planted there the season before ... oh yes, onions. So total waste of time digging up the potatoes after all. So now I'll need to dig up the cabbages instead ! The potatoes I dug up were Cara and Pink Fir Apple. It's my first season with both and I'm really pleased. The Cara are quite small, especially compared to the Rocket, but the tops had died off by the end of July, so I guess they didn't have long to grow. I got a brilliant crop from the PFA and experienced a bit of a thrill digging them up, they are so quirky. Potato bed no. 3 is still waiting to be dug up (more Cara and Charlotte). Am running out of storage space for them.

The weather has definitely grown colder, so I decided to take my remaining melons home. I was furious when I picked them up and realised that bloody slugs have been munching the underneath. On the plus side the smell was divine, so I cut off the munched bits - I'm so at one with nature ;) - and we enjoyed them on Monday evening. I asked OH what he thought of them and he said he thought they tasted 'very meloney' ... so err, I guess that can be classed a success then. The Edonis is really having a growth spurt and has started flowering again. I don't imagine it will last much longer in the cold, but I haven't the heart to dig it up just yet, so I've tucked it up and given it some protection. I dug over the rest of the brick bed. About three weeks ago I sowed some carrots seeds where the Temptation melon had been, surprisingly they have germinated and look pretty good. I've covered them with a fleece cloche and we'll see how they do:

Carrots copy

Here are my musselborough leeks, they are starting to fill out nicely. I've only got 20-30 and nearly fell off my chair when one of my work colleagues informed me that they have planted 200 !!!

Leeks copy

My tomato plants are still going well and some even have flowers on again. There are lots of green tomatoes on the plants in the potting shed, but something is eating the ripe tomatoes in situ - at least whatever it is, is eating full fruits, not just having a bite here and there. The red egg aubergines are now orangey/red and still as unappealing as ever. Next year I am only growing one aubergine - it will be the calliope as I had more success with it than the others. The peppers are looking great - I've given OH four of the tasty red grill / yellow grill to make stuffed peppers ... they are still green though, I think they need a lot more sunshine to change colour.

A cat appeared in the allotment on Sunday. It gave me a rather dismissive glance and then continued its leisurely prowl into the long grasses and weeds and disappeared from sight. A little while later it popped up on top of the compost heap, looking very interested. Worried about my little vole family I went to investigate - as the cat disappeared into next doors lottie, I saw some huge red fruits in the hedge. I've never noticed them before and think they may be tayberries - they are double the size of raspberries. Here they are, along with raspberries (bottom left) and alpine strawberries (bottom right) ... which are now inside my tummy after being baked in muffins :)

berries copy