Sunday 28 October 2012

Back To Business

You may remember that back in September, I removed all the tomatoes from my plants and brought them indoors to ripen on the windowsill. They were just refusing to turn red on the plants, so I thought that this would be the best course of action. They've ripened well indoors, and I haven't missed out on that lovely home grown tomato taste, which I thought I might this year. The photo shows just some of the varieties I grew this year, Incas, Tigerella, Tangella and Black Cherry. I'm not sure which variety the larger red tomato is, it could be either Pannovy or Ferline. Other varieties I grew this year were Gardener's Delight and Eleanor. I got tomatoes off each plant I grew, but nowhere near as many as I've had in previous years. I'll be growing some of my favourites again next year, along with some new varieties. I'd like to grow more bush type plants, they seem a little less work than cordons, where you have to tie in and remove side shoots.

I thought I was only going to get one squash this year. When Hubby went to the plot last weekend, he saw another three smaller Sunburst squash on the plant. As cold nights were predicted, he removed them and brought them home. We didn't know if they'd be mature enough, but I prepared them for tea on Monday. As I cut in to one of them, it was rather mushy, so that wasn't used, but the other two gave us another small taste, and I've made my mind up that I shall definitely grow them again next year.

The lawn was cut last weekend. We hoped it would be the last time it would need doing before winter, but it's growing away again already. Perhaps the cold weather we're experiencing at the moment will slow it down somewhat. Can you believe that we woke up to snow yesterday? It was only a very light covering, and it melted in no time, but it was really cold all day.

I'd just like to thank everyone again for all the comments I received on my last two posts. This past week has been a bit emotional, to say the least, and every comment was very much appreciated. Archie seems to be doing well at the moment. He's perked up in himself, but has to take antibiotics and anti inflammatories for another week, and he'll be going back to the vets on Friday. Thank you again for all the thoughts which were sent his way.

Friday 26 October 2012

A Heartfelt Thanks

Thank you to everyone who has sent their good wishes our way for Archie.

We've been back to the vets today and a tumour has been ruled out. He's got a really, really bad infection in his anal glands, but it looks as though he's turned a corner now. He's just about back to his cheeky self today, and I'm over the moon.

I'm a true believer in positive thinking, and I know that so many of you have sent your good wishes, prayers and positive vibes this way that I can't help but feel it's helped. Thank you so, so much.

Back to gardening very soon!

Tuesday 23 October 2012

A Little Off Topic

I do try to keep the posts on this blog to gardening, after all, I have my Through The Keyhole blog for anything else I want to blog about, but I didn't think you'd mind me making this post.

Since suffering from Cancer twelve years ago, I'm a firm believer in positive thinking, so I want to ask you all to send some thoughts for Archie. He's unwell at the moment, so I took him to the vets yesterday. We've got to wait until next week to see if the tablets he's taking at the moment do anything for his condition, but if not, further investigations will need to be made. I've been told that it could be a tumour, so as you can imagine, this news has knocked the whole family for six.

He's due back at the vets at the beginning of next week so I should know more then, but in the meantime, all your positive thoughts for his speedy recovery would be very welcome.

Friday 19 October 2012

What's Up, Doc?

After last year's success with sowing carrots in the old bath on the allotment, we didn't think we'd have any problems this year. Cue rain and slugs. Even those seeds which managed to germinate were munched to the ground. We decided to make a late sowing in a container in the garden, and though we kept watch, the growth above ground wasn't very vigorous. We didn't have high hopes for what was going on underneath the soil but it came to the point where we had to bite the bullet and pull them up. We were right in our thinking, there wasn't much there. The photo shows the extent of the 2012 carrot crop. Oh well, like everything else, we'll give it another go next year.

I posted about the patty pan squash - Sunburst, in my last post. We ate it on Monday as an accompaniment to chicken stew; diced chicken with potatoes, swede, parsnips, carrots and dumplings, all done in the slow cooker, with mashed potatoes for me, and roast potatoes for the rest of the family, as well as French beans on the side. The preparation of the squash was simple, just cubed and drizzled with oil, then roasted in the oven. We all enjoyed it, so it is a definite for growing next year.

The weather is so unpredicatable at the moment. We can get up to a dark, damp day, but by mid morning, it's turned in to a gorgeous, bright autumnal day. I'm hoping for lots of sunshine over the weekend.

Sunday 14 October 2012

The One And Only

I've managed to get one squash to maturity this year. This is Sunburst, a patty pan variety. There's lots more on the plant but I doubt they'll grow large enough to eat now that the colder weather has arrived. It's a shame that they took such a long time to get going, I think the plant would have provided us with lots of fruit if only it had started producing earlier. I've never eaten this type of squash before so I'm looking foward to trying it.

The beetroot which were transplanted in to the old bath on the allotment have come to nothing. That's another failure this year, though I probably shouldn't have waited so long to start some seeds off at home and transplant once they got going. I've always sown them direct in the past and haven't had a need to do this, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I've had to do lots of things differently this year.

Hubby is in the middle of taking all the spent compost from the containers in the garden to the allotment to empty on to the beds there. It's surprising how much compost we actually use in containers, but once it's been used it doesn't go to waste, it's a great soil improver at the plot, and some of it is recycled and used again.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

A Sweet Discovery

You may remember that at the start of the season, I christened this year The Year Of The Sweet Corn. This is my fourth year growing veg on the allotment, and even though I've tried growing sweet corn every year, I've had no success. I used to grow it in containers in the garden with no problems at all, so I just couldn't understand why I was failing every year on the allotment. At the start of the growing season, I decided that I would lavish my sweet corn with lots of care and attention and do my best this year to change the outcome I've had for the past three years. Of course, I didn't realise at that point that we were going to have such a cold, wet summer, something which sweet corn doesn't particularly like. The plants produced cobs, as well as tassels and silks, but I couldn't feel anything inside the cobs at all so I thought this year would be much the same as the previous three. Imagine my surprise when I peeled back the covering on the cobs and discovered that there was something there. So they're not full cobs, only the ends had been pollinated, but it's more corn than I've managed to grow yet at the allotment, so I'm going to call it a success of sorts. I'll be able to remove the individual kernels from the cobs, and as there's only myself who likes sweet corn, it should last for a few meals.

 It's a shame that the season won't last a little bit longer as both the Uchiki Kuri and Sunburst squash are making some attempt to fruit. It's so late though now that I doubt they'll mature. The courgettes are starting to slow down a little now, as are the runner beans. I only managed one picking of the dwarf French beans, but I've had several from the runners so it was certainly worth doing a late sowing.

It's been a bright, sunny day today, but it's rather cold. I've noticed lots of berries on the trees, which some say is an indication of a harsh winter. Surely we're due a let up in the weather after the summer we've just had, a mild winter would be nice this year.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Champions They're Not

I decided that I would have a go at growing onions from seed this year. In hindsight, I don't think it was the year to be trying anything new with everything the weather has thrown at us. I chose Bedfordshire Champion, but was rather late in both starting the seed off and also in planting the seedlings out, which probably contributed to the poor outcome, along with the cold, wet conditions in which they were grown. They hardly grew at all in the earlier months, then seemed to put on a bit of a spurt towards the end. I don't think you can really tell in the photo, but they're not much bigger than golf ball sized. I'm unsure at the moment whether I'll have another go at growing from seed or if I'll go back to growing from sets.

The runner beans have finally started to produce enough to get a decent picking each time I visit the allotment. I doubt if they'll go on producing much longer now that the weather is much cooler, but I'm really enjoying them while they last. I've even managed a picking from the late sown dwarf French beans too. It's such a shame that I haven't managed to freeze any beans for later use, I'm just pleased to have managed to get any sort of harvest after the disastrous start I had at the start of the season, with slugs munching everything in sight.

One thing which is producing well, now that the plants have got going, are the courgettes. There's plenty to pick on each visit to the allotment, it's just a shame that there's only me who really enjoys courgettes in our house. Even my mum and dad aren't keen, so I can see lots of meals incorporating courgette in my future.
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