Sunday, 19 September 2010

Frost Fright already

Blimey we've not even left September behind and there are frost warnings out. I didn't have time to do anything about it during the week, so just had to keep my fingers crossed. The lottie looks fine, so I think it was just a warning rather than an actuality. Nevertheless I decided not to risk my lovely squashes and have been busy harvesting this afternoon.

I brought home two butternuts and left another one that is almost mature on the vine and two Crown Prince - they are not as big as I thought they were going to be, but they are really heavy I'm looking forward to trying them. The Winter Festival gave me 8 lovely creamy yellow-green fruits and I took the remaining two tiny turks turbans which will be saved for Halloween pumpkin 'fodder'. I brought home 14 squashes in total.

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One of the butternuts is the size of a small dog - it'll take us weeks to eat it LOL. The plant is busy producing lots of babies, but it's way too late, I wonder why it takes them so long to get going. I'm going to start them even earlier next year and see if it makes a difference .... I may put them under plastic cloches during the season to see if heat helps.

I decided to leave my Queensland Blue's on the vine ... hope I don't regret it ! It'll be a couple of weeks before I can get back up there - will have to send OH if the weather takes a turn for the worse. They are also not as big as I expected - hope they taste good.

I'm extremely proud of myself today - I've managed to plant next seasons onions !! ta-dar !!!! how organised is that ... flipping amazing. Sadly no garlic yet - I'm still in disbelief that our allotment shop sold out in a week. Bizarrely though I've noticed 10 garlic plants growing in this season's garlic bed ... which is very puzzling. I'm going to leave them and see what happens.

I finally harvested the blueberries ... I thought I was picking them late, but I've been reading on the internet that they are harvested at the end of September - no wonder I've always thought they were a little on the tart side ! They've been made into blueberry pie with lemon pastry ... it's so good I'm on my second piece :) ... excuse the website - it's for the Daily Fail - just try not to read any 'stories' and you'll be OK:


With the left over pastry I made some jammy-tarts with some of this season's strawberry jam ... yum !!!


Now that the season is slowing I'm finally getting reasonable sized courgettes thank goodness. I've left two plants in in situ and put two onto the compost heap - I love this time of year when everything gets cleared away !! LOL, I know I'm strange :)

The tomatoes are almost finished - interestingly they've nearly all ripened. Usually at this time of year I'm struggling with loads of green ones. I've got around 8 kilos sat on the kitchen worktop ! eek. They are quickly overtaking the courgettes haha.

Yup, it's been a pretty good season I think. Did I say second or third piece of pie ...

Monday, 13 September 2010

Last of those summer days ...

We held our first mini-scarecrow festival on Sunday at the allotments for our plot holders.

Here's my scarecrow and scare-cat at the gates to welcome the 'hoards of visitors' ... I wish ! Sadly it was a very quiet day - can't even blame it on the weather as we were very lucky to get some sunshine. There was another event on locally, but we're told that was quiet too. Never mind, we enjoyed it :)

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Here's the best bit - the cakes ! I think we managed to pursuade most of our visitors to buy a slice :)

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Yum. See that enormous chocolate cake in the foreground ... gone ! not a crumb left :(

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I did manage to get a piece before it all disappeared and yes, it was as good as it looked.

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Megan's Fairy Cakes - the pink glitter was a hit:

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Guess the weight of the marrow ! the kids could barely lift it :) I hasten to add it's not one of my monsters ... they are all on the compost heap haha.

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We had 11 scarecrows in total. This is Jenny and her daughter arriving with 'Susan' and 'Doomsday'

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We are borrowing Susan for our next grant application:

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The pyjama gang:

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Here is the second place scarecrow - it was a sweet little thing. Our theme was 'recycling':

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Here is the winning entry - I wish my blog had 'smell-o-vision' so you could appreciate how lovely the smell of the rosemary and lavender was.

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I'm not sure whether I'll keep my scarecrow at the lottie or not. He was too frightening in the house - everytime I opened the door and saw the 'legs' my eyes went down to the boots and then the hairs on the back of my neck started to rise and I could feel the shriek developing in my throat before remembering it's a scarecrow not a burglar !!

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Sunday, 5 September 2010

yum ... gave the lottie committee a little treat today - am practising for our Scarecrow Festival next weekend !

Lemon Layer Cake :)


Saturday, 4 September 2010

The nights are drawing in ...

Hmm, well it's finally stopped raining and we are even enjoying a little sunshine - although welcome, it's probably too little, too late !

This is what happened to my best Turks Turban. I took home two more this afternoon which have survived the weather - they are not as big though. There are another couple of tiny ones on the vine - which looks like it is half dead.



This is a Winter Festival. There are 7 smallish fruits on the plant. Not sure how big they normally grow.


I have two huge butternut squashes and a teeney-tiny one. Very disappointing, but then again some of my fellow allotmenters have not even got one. They just need some sunshine now to ripen .. I may even start removing leaves from the vine (a top tip I read somewhere).


This looks like my Queensland blue. I say looks like because it is not where I thought I planted it ! Got two squashes so far - little bit bigger than footballs. Bit more sunshine please


so if the one above is a Queensland Blue, it means this one is a Crown Prince. It is doing quite well - there are four reasonably sized fruits ... fingers crossed !


Not quite sure what happened to my lovely leeks, I've only ended up with a handful growing. Noticed signs of rust today too !


Harvested another kilo of tomatoes today. Made them into a lovely batch of tomato soup - it's very tasty. Only got another 3kg in the frige ! Looks like tomato tart may be on the menu next week :)



Most of my potatoes are very small, which is to be expected considering how late it was before I planted them. My Pink Fir Apple however are huge - this one is the size of my hand ! There are not many tubers per plant, but the tubers are way bigger than what I normally harvest. Interestingly these were left over from my last harvest.


My blueberries are screaming 'autumn is here'. The colours of the plant and the berries are amazing.


A colleague at work has a plum tree. Seems they don't use their plums, so a carrier bag full came my way. I took him a jar of the jam to say thanks and it has gone home to be admired by the family ! Am looking forward to tasting it - plum jam is my favourite. I've not made as much jam this year - got strawberry, raspberry and now plum. Of course the blackberries are now in full swing ! Must resist must resist must res ... resistance is futile !! watch this space.


I'm also full of apple crumble, courtesy of the same colleague. I can't believe they don't use the fruit. There were also some cherries, bursting with fruit, but good grief were they sharp.

Had another go at the greenhouse walls today. God it's going to take me ages to get rid of it. I've knocked down the front wall pieces and the 'bed' in the middle. I've even started to stack those bricks that I can reuse ... although I have to confess that it didn't occur to me in time that I still have to knock down the wall behind my neatly stacked pile.


I've been on skip duty today at the lottie - got rid of my greenhouse roof :) Am wondering whether it's OK to put some of the half bricks & rubble in ...


The wildgarden is full of lovely seedheads




I've not seen as much wildlife on the lottie this year - is it a) because I haven't been there much, b) because it was so cold at the beginning of the season, c) because it has been so rainy and horrid for the last month+ or d) because I'm not looking hard enough ! Answers on a postcard ... don't forget to ask a friend. Got lots and lots of froggie friends around the lottie - there are still tiny babies in the pond.