Friday 29 October 2010

Say It With Flowers

Hubby's uncle called round this morning with a lovely bunch of Chrysanthemums for me. He always keeps my vases full at this time of year as he grows so many that there are always some which are surplus to requirements. Sometimes I get mixed colours and other times, like today, he brings all yellows, which are my favourites and look stunning en masse.

I didn't manage to get down to the allotment last weekend as other things cropped up, but hubby went and dug up the last of the potatoes as well as clearing some of the beds. My next job is to get the strawberry bed sorted out, the runners are escaping all over so they need to be contained and the whole bed needs weeding. The bean wigwams need to be dismantled and the plot needs digging over.

The weather has warmed up again over the last few days, though we did have our first frost last Sunday night. I haven't seen the forcast for the weekend but I hope it's dry so that I can get some jobs completed.

Friday 22 October 2010

Too Chilly For The Chilies

I think it's only a matter of time now till we get a frost so I have taken all the chilies off the plant. As you can see, they're in different stages of ripeness but they can still be used green. These are Serrano chilies and my daughter bought me the seeds for Christmas last year so I felt compelled to grow them even though we don't eat chilies. These will be given away to someone who can make use of them. I only grew one plant which I think has done very well.

I only realised last weekend that there are still some potatoes in the ground at the allotment, I had forgotten all about them. I will make sure that they get dug up this weekend. The potatoes I am growing in containers in the hope of new potatoes at Christmas are doing really well. They've now been earthed up to the top of the container and they're residing in the greenhouse. I will make sure that they also get a covering of fleece before we get a frost just to give them a little extra protection.

As well as digging up the remaining potatoes, I'm hoping to get some more clearing and digging done at the allotment this weekend. It's certainly worth digging the allotment over in autumn if at all possible as the frosts break down the clods of earth and it really is much easier to work the following year. So fingers crossed for some fine weather this weekend.

Monday 18 October 2010

Neighbours...Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

Our next door neighbour has quite a few apple trees in her garden and yesterday she gave us a dozen baking apples. I don't know what kind they are. My daughter made a delicious apple pie with some of them and I ate more than my fair share of it. I'm going to make some more pies to pop in the freezer.

Hubby gave the greenhouse it's final tidy out over the weekend. The remaining tomatoes have all been brought inside to finish ripening on a windowsill and the plants have been disposed of. I never add tomato plants to the compost just in case there's any blight around, perhaps I'm just being over cautious. The potatoes which have been planted up in containers for Christmas have now been moved in to the greenhouse to protect them from any frost we might get, though we haven't had any yet.

I had a trip to the allotment yesterday and harvested yet more French beans. I was still picking them late last year too. Even the courgettes are still producing, I brought four home with me and there's more growing and yet more flowers still to open. I don't think it will be long before we get a frost though and that will finish them off. I cleared the flower bed, bringing home the sunflower heads to dry in the greenhouse. They will then be put out for the birds.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Still More To Come

I've just picked another few tomatoes from my plants, but there's still more to come if I can get them to ripen. My greenhouse is only four foot by six foot, not big by any stretch of the imagination, but it holds enough tomato plants to keep me supplied throughout summer. I'm reluctant to plant tomatoes at the allotment because of the risk of blight, I hear so many stories of people losing their whole crop to blight that it's much safer to keep tomatoes to the greenhouse. On the whole, I've been very pleased with my tomatoes this year, and will definitely be growing some of the same varieties again next year. In the past, I've always tried some new varieties each year, but I've been so happy with the varieties I've grown this year that I don't know if I'll bother next year.

Earlier on in the year, my daughter won a competition run by Wyevales and one of her prizes was a grafted pepper plant. Grafted plants are supposed to be less prone to disease and more likely to produce a good crop which will ripen outdoors. I had high hopes of harvesting lots of peppers, but the plant has only produced six, three earlier on in the year and three which are still ripening on the plant. I think I'll stick with growing from seed, though I think I'll grow more plants next year as I've become quite partial to peppers this year. I'd be interested to hear which varieties have grown well for you, and if you've grown them in a greenhouse or outdoors.

I didn't manage to get to the allotment this weekend, though we had a gorgeous day here on Sunday. Instead we took a walk at Newmillerdam Country Park, you can read about it on my other blog, Through The Keyhole.

Friday 8 October 2010

Decisions, Decisions

It's that time of year again when the seed catalogues are dropping through the letterbox, and we're deciding what we want to grow next year. I've also had a trip to Wyevale Garden Centre at York, where they were selling off packets of seeds for 50p, so I couldn't come away empty handed. I always tend to buy a packet of cucumber seeds when the sale's on as they're always so expensive to buy otherwise. This time I've gone for Prima Top which is a F1 all female, mini fruited greenhouse type. These should have been £3.99 for the packet which only contains five seeds, so I consider 50p to be a bargain.

I bought a packet of marrow seeds in the Wyevale sale too. I've never grown marrow before, but this year, I used some of my overgrown courgettes as marrows and stuffed them with minced beef, tomatoes and feta cheese and they were delicious, so I decided I would grow the real thing next year.

It's very damp and misty here today but there's a couple of sunny days predicted for Sunday and Monday. I'm hoping the forcast is right as I need to put in some serious work on the plot, I'm so behind with everything.

Monday 4 October 2010

Saving Seeds

This is my first attempt at saving seeds, and I'm doing it out of necessity. This year I have grown a variety of tomato called Tangella. It's a medium sized orange tomato and I'm so pleased with it's taste that I want to grow it again next year. The seeds were kindly given to me and until a couple of days ago, I couldn't find anywhere which sold the seed so I decided to save some myself. I followed the instructions from Matron's 17th September post on her Down On The Allotment blog, and at the moment the seeds are drying out on a saucer. I had mentioned on UK Veg Gardeners that I couldn't find anywhere which sold this seed and I was supplied with the web address for a site called Tomatopedia. It's well worth a look as it sells so many different types of tomato, including Tangella.

Last Christmas, I was bought The Allotment Gardener's Cookbook. I've used it this year and found it really useful. The recipes are divided in to chapters according to which veg is used, but I would now like a cookbook where the recipes are divided in to monthly chapters according to what's in season. I'd be really pleased if anyone could give me any recommendations.

It's a beautiful day today, so different from the weather we had yesterday, I'm sure my allotment must be under a foot of water now after all the rain we had. I had hoped to get to the allotment to pick some more beans, they're still producing really well, but I'll have to go today instead.
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