Saturday, 24 October 2015

A Wet Weather Walk

And guess where we walked to... We knew we wouldn't be able to do any work on the plot on such a rainy day but it's nice to see it in all weathers and all seasons.
We did manage to pick the last few ripe Sungold tomatoes from the plants in the greenhouse. I may make some green tomato chutney with the remaining fruits but will see if I have the time and inclination.
Geese flying West for Winter(?)
The site and surroundings are looking good in their autumn colours even though it was such a grey day. The strawberries have flowers on but it's the leaves that are stunning red now!
The chard is still making a good display and the marigolds are still looking good (from a distance!)

The birds have been making the most of few visitors to the site and are enjoying eating our sunflower seeds. We saw blue tits, great tits and long-tailed tits flying from the hedge to the plants when we first turned up.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Squashes and Compost

We had a few hours of clearing on the plot this afternoon. We haven't had any proper rain for a week and it was reasonably warm so there were quite a few other plotholders with the same idea. We started by picking all the suitable Cornells Bush Delicata squash from Plot 3 - that lot was from 2 plants.
We cleared all the remains of the squashes and pumpkins on Plot 3. The large leaf cover had done well to prevent too much weed growth so it wasn't too strenuous to dig up the remaining weeds and give the area a bit of a dig over. We've now put all that green waste, plus some rotted manure and straw in a pile along the weed-free section - we're intending to plant our runner beans there next year, so that compost can form the bean trench. We're hoping that leaving it like this will help it to rot down over winter and let the birds deal with any pests that may be harboured in there..
We left as the birds were going to roost and we'd done what we planned to do. I pulled some carrots and took some onions to make soup - I'm adding a bit of rosemary and it smells lovely as it's cooking at the moment.
Jamie pulled one of the Tenerife potatoes but they've been in the ground too long and aren't edible :-( Luckily we still have some lovely Kestrels which are serving us well. We had some baked last week and they were delicious.
Our Brussels Sprouts (Revenge) are looking ok on Plot 7 but the plants on Plot 3 are pathetic - that's what happens when you don't prepare the ground properly!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Autumn on the Plot

I had to scrape the windscreen last week and the nights are creeping down so we moved the pumpkins into the greenhouse. We had to do a bit more clearing in there first. The cornichons are all picked but we're not sure if they'll be very tasty as they've got so huge. We're still waiting for the tomatillos to go purple and they still seem to be growing. I found this lovely dried husk, but the ones on the plant are still green.
 We read today that the husk is meant to go brown when the fruit is ripe... Hmmm.
We got 11 good-sized pumpkins from our 6 plants on Plot3. We were pleased to see that the slugs hadn't got to them.
September wasn't a good time to go away for two weeks as we missed out on so much harvest - look at that waste of lovely tomatoes and we composted lots of cucumbers today. These are our Radish Rat Tails, they're pretty hot. The photo on the seeds showed the seedpods should go red but I can't see that happening.
This photo is evidence for my sister Joanne that I've used the drink jar she gave me!

The tomatoes are blighted so they won't be going into the compost bins - we'll clear them off site very soon.
I was pleased to see we have one (only one) swede that has actually formed properly and we found a courgette that is still edible, though rather big! We pulled a Kestrel potato and have a good supply of spuds for the next week or so - there should be a couple of good ones there for baking - yum!

We're storing manure in the compost bins while we plan what we're doing next year. We haven't got a lease extension beyond April yet!! :-(

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Hungerford Food Festival 2015

A lovely day on the plot yesterday in the sunshine and there was a real buzz on site. I'm not sure if it was the weather or because plotholders were harvesting for the HAHA stand at the Food Festival. Everyone was so generous, providing bagfuls of produce for the display.

Jamie spent the afternoon carving the HAHA pumpkin and it looked great, as you can see.
We had a slideshow of photos and the site video, which is so pleasing a year after seeing it for the first time. As well as the displays we had a side stall with tasters of home-made savoury scones, fruit cordials and fruit - along with these pumpkin seeds.
I roasted the pumpkin seeds - mixed with olive oil, smoked rapeseed oil, paprika, salt and pepper - for about 50mins at 150C. They were delicious and so more-ish.
I'm glad we have more pumpkins for Halloween!
The food festival was a great success. So lovely to talk about growing your own with so many people and to see Hungerford bustling. It seems we may have gained a couple of new allotment recruits through the stall too.
What a lovely weekend! Thanks to all involved!