Sunday, 6 October 2013

Autumnal harvesting and planting

It's a nice time of year on the allotment right now. The flurry of high summer seems like a while ago; temperatures are well suited to working, there are still things to harvest, but there is that pleasing feeling that when you hoik up a weed, it won't be back with reinforcements anytime soon. There are some lovely colours around as well, not least of which being the Blueberry plants, whose leaves have turned a (un-photoshopped, honestly) vivid shade of pinkish red. We made the most of a nice Saturday afternoon to get a good amount done, although very much at "pottering about" speed.

I finally pulled down the remainder of our tomato plants, salvaging enough green toms to do yet another batch of chutney. People who know me: guess what you're getting for Christmas? We also harvested a load more courgettes that have grown in the last two weeks since we were here. I'm amazed that they're still producing the goods, albeit at a much reduced pace.

Also into the basket (well, poly bag actually, but that doesn't sound nearly as romantic) went a load of kale, which ended up in both a beef stew, and as kale chips - I gotta bung up a recipe, it's great stuff - and a few final stems of rhubarb.
Elsewhere in the world of squash, our Butternuts were removed from the plant to a shed-based location. The plants were crowded out by some Patty Greens, which might explain their diminutive size. Looking forward to finding out what they taste like compared to shop-bought as we've never grown these before.

Dinky Butternut
No such problems in the girth department for our plot-neighbour Toni's pumpkins, which grew up to be mahoosive.

Monster, monster!
After a spot of gentle weeding we dug some of Kasia's premium home-made compost, which had just gotten to that lovely "friable" stage, into a couple of patches, and in went some autumn-planting red and yellow onions set, shallots and garlic. We might be a touch early with these, but a whole load of onions we planted at the end of October last year did absolutely bugger-all, so I'll take our chances with that. It's really noticeable what lovely condition the soil is at the moment, especially where spuds have been this year. Whereas previously a whole morning would need to be spent digging and raking a patch to turn it from clag to tilth, now it's a 10-15 minute job.

The good stuff. Yeah, that's a le creuset bag on the allotment, that's how we roll.
Onions in.
We're expecting crops of varying proportions from both types of artichokes. Our Jerusalems had, we thought, all been dug up last year, but evidently we missed a few. I think this might now become a permanent patch for them. The plants haven't flowered, but are getting pretty tall. Hopefully a good haul of the tuberous fellows lie in wait.

Big plant
On the other hand, our sole remaining globe artichoke plant will be providing us with no more than a nibble, as the artichoke heads on it are what multinational confectioners would refer to as "fun-size". Never cooked an artichoke before, and have scarcely ever tasted one cooked freshly, so am looking forward to these, modest in stature as they may be.

Small plant

The plot is largely undercover now. Apart from the aforementioned plants, we have some Raspberries trucking on, and what looks like a good crop of Parsnips awaiting the sweetening of the first frosts, but that's about it. Time to check the catalogs, assess seed stocks, reflect on triumphs and calamities alike, and then begin to formulate a plan for next year's season.


  1. Great colours and great harvest :)

    1. Appreciate it all the more now that we know we're at the back end of the bounty!

  2. Blueberry leaves do have stunning autumn colour!

    1. Yep, best time of year all round, colour-wise.

  3. It all looks so tidy and well organised...I haven't taking photos in a long time for the shame factor.

    Looks like you certainly have everything in hand ready for the changing seasons!

  4. I think I might have been a bit selective with the angles, there are some hyper-weedy patches just out of shot!


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