Thursday 27 September 2012

The Last Of The Potatoes

This is the last of the potato harvest for this year. They've been grown in containers, but I thought I'd better empty what was left as frost had been forecast in various parts of the country and I didn't want them to spoil. As it happened, we didn't get a frost, but better to be on the safe side, especially this year, the weather's been very strange indeed. I've been really pleased with this variety, Arran Pilot, and I'll definitely grow them again next year. I also grew a couple of containers of Nicola but I wasn't so keen on them. They weren't so flavoursome nor did they give a very good yield. I shall probably try a few tubers of a different variety alongside the Arran Pilot again next year.

Just for reference, I'd like to record that it wasn't until the 21st of September this year that I ate my first home grown tomato. All the green fruit which I harvested last week is now spread out in seed trays on the windowsill in the conservatory. There's five trays in total and the tomatoes in one of the trays are just about ripe now, the rest of the fruit still has some way to go, but laying them out on a windowsill looks to be working.

It's a lovely sunny day today but we've had some terrrible rain this week. There's flooding in some parts of Yorkshire, though luckily, it hasn't affected us here. I'm wondering what else the weather will throw at us this year.

Friday 21 September 2012

The Tomato Harvest

This is my full tomato harvest for 2012. In total there's eight and a half pounds of mostly green fruit, though some are just starting to ripen. This is from a total of eleven plants, which isn't great. None of the plants, six in the greenhouse and five on the patio, produced as much fruit as is normally the case. I decided to remove the tomatoes from the plants as the weather has come so cool that there's little hope of them ripening in situ now, I shall lay them all out on a windowsill and hope that a few more turn red. I'm not a lover of chutneys so I don't know what I'll do with them if they refuse to ripen. Tomatoes are my favourite things to grow so this year has been very disappointing.

On my last visit to the allotment, I noticed that I have a Uchiki Kuri squash growing. It's a little smaller than tennis ball sized but seems to have shot out of nowhere, I didn't see it when I last looked. It's a shame that it's so late in the season as it's bound to come to nothing now. I shall have a go at growing squash again next year. I don't have any seeds left from this year so I will have fun looking at all the different varieties again and making my choices. There's so many different kinds to choose from, and many look so different, I'm sure they'll all taste different too.

We've got rain today and it's got really cold over the last few days, especially on an evening. Frost has been forecast in some parts of the country, and here was I hoping for an Indian summer.

Monday 17 September 2012

It's A Start

The late sowing of runner beans is starting to produce at last. This might seem a small harvest, but it's very welcome after the poor year we've had, and they'll go down very well with the roast chicken dinner I'm cooking tonight. I had decided not to grow runner beans this year, opting instead for French beans, but things didn't go to plan when just about everything got munched by slugs at the start of the season. In the end, I decided that I'd sow some runner beans after all, other people have had lots of success with them in the rainy weather we've had. They were sown very late and I didn't know if I'd manage a harvest from them at all before the weather turned, but providing the weather stays on an even keel for a little longer, there should be plenty more to come. The plants are literally dripping with lots of tiny beans. It isn't only the runner beans either, at the same time as these beans were sown, I decided to give French beans one last try this year, and although I haven't harvested anything from those plants as yet, there's plenty of beans growing.

The tomatoes have had a reprieve. I was all for taking the green fruit off the plants at the weekend and having a go at ripening them indoors, but more of the tomatoes on the Gardener's Delight plant in the greenhouse are now starting to colour up, as are a couple of the tomatoes on the Tigerella plant outdoors. I shall see what happens this week and if not much progress is made, I'll remove them at the weekend.

Hubby has spent some time at the allotment this weekend clearing beds and digging the ground ready for winter. We always seem to fall behind at this time of year, the bad weather creeps up on us before we know it, and then we're always behind when spring arrives. It would be nice to get ahead of the game this time.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Starting To Turn

At long last, the first couple of tomatoes are starting to ripen. This is Gardener's Delight, usually a guaranteed performer, but not this year with the weather being how it is. This plant is in the greenhouse, along with five other tomato plants, and I also have five plants outside too, but these are the only ones which show any sign of colour, all the other fruit is staying resolutely green.

I'm now getting a couple of courgettes to harvest each time I go to the allotment. It's not the glut I've had in previous years, but a steady supply is welcome nontheless. I've noticed in previous years that the yellow varieties I've grown never seem to produce as many courgettes as the green varieties, and it's the same again this year.

The weather's turned much cooler today and there's a strong wind to boot, though the sun is still shining through the showers. I think autumn is definitely knocking on the door.

Wednesday 5 September 2012


My best crop this year is without doubt the potatoes I've grown in containers. I first grew this variety, Arran Pilot last year, and was impressed not only with the flavour and yield, but also the fact that the potatoes don't turn to mush when boiled. I decided to grow the same variety again this year, and can see that it will be one I grow most years as I think it would take some beating. I started out with fifteen containers and started emptying them on the third of June. I've given lots to my mum and dad as well as harvesting them regularly to eat ourselves, and there's still five containers left to empty. You can see all the compost used to fill a container in the photo. This doesn't go to waste after the potatoes are harvested as it's used to improve the soil at the allotment.

I'm still hoping that I might get a bean harvest this year from my late sowing. The runner beans have reached the top of their poles and the dwarf French beans have been left alone by the slugs, and both are flowering so there's hope.

We've got a sunny day here today, though it's a little breezy. The forecast is for the sun to stay around for a while so my tomatoes might decide to surprise me and turn red. I'm starting to wonder if I should take the plunge and remove the fruit from the plants to try and get them to ripen on the windowsill. I think I'll wait and see if the sunshine we're forecast does anything for them first.

Monday 3 September 2012

Nearly Made It

The Birthday Rose nearly made it in time for my big day. It's my birthday today and as you can see, the half standard rose which Hubby bought me as an early birthday present has just about bloomed in time. The photo which was attached to the plant showed a white rose with a light pink tinge, but I'm always wary of going by these photos as the flowers themselves often look nothing like. It looks as though it might be a good likeness in this case though.

The sun is shining, for a change, and as Hubby has the day off work, and the kids aren't back to school until tomorrow, we're heading off to Bridlington on Yorkshire's east coast for the day. I hope the weather stays fine.

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