Sunday, 4 September 2011

Photographs of allotment in late August

The comfrey is growing back after another crop had been put into the green bins.  It is amazing how quickly this rots down and forms the lovely, rich, black liquid manure.

The liquid was going into the charcoal bin but that is full now so I am storing the comfrey liquid in the green butts.  I will try to get another crop of leaves before the winter.  I will need some for planting the strawberries in the new bed.

I am getting to the stage where I cannot eat all the vegetables that are coming now.  I will have to give away as much as I can.  The beetroot is growing quite large now but there are still some of a tennis ball size.  These are the most sweetest.  I will still use the larger ones because I don't think they are too woody.

Salsify and beetroot
I am mainly using the salsify and Scorzonera hispanica in soups at the moment. (Still using these salsify and Scorzonera in March 2012)

Rhubarb (Rheum raponticum)
Champaign rhubarb in the foreground and Victoria in the background.  I have been picking this and it has been fine stewed and with a topping of ice cream.  I am cooking rhubarb with damsons because we have an excess .  I do not have a damson tree but I harvest them from the trees overhanging the track way.

Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa)
The strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) look a little untidy at the moment because I am leaving the stolons.  There are quite a few 3 inch pots in the bed but you can't see them.  They have rooted stolons in them.  I am going to move these up to where the brassica bed is now.  You can see where I have taken out the two lines of three year old strawberries.  I am using it as a path at the moment.  The old strawberries have been buried in the old potato bed where I am double digging.  You can see one of my concrete slab curbing walls.  I think that I will need it this year.  I may have buried a little too much carbon.

Raspberries (Rubus idaeus)
I have taken out the fruited raspberry canes and tied the new canes into the supporting frame.  I have cut them back to about 6 inches of the top most support.  I reckon that I would have lost the tops anyway in the winter winds.  These canes are about 6 ft. tall now so they will produce a good crop next year.  The tomato growing in the pot in front of the shed was taken out and buried it with the old strawberry canes in the trenches.

Bit untidy but gives you a closer view of the raspberries.
There is a big pile of second spit soil on the right of the picture below and a big pile of topsoil on the left.  I will level all this off eventually making sure that the subsoil is placed under the top soil.  I don't raise beds; I raise allotments.

Partially rotted compost on top of branch shreddings
in the trench
The soil has been particularly dry even at this depth.  After rain in the past few days the soil has become much damper but if this carries on through the winter we will have a severe drought next year.  The second spit soil goes back in the trench first and then the top soil on that.

I've raised the soil where I have double dug.
This area still needs to be dug.  The soil where I have dug does look a little high at the moment but after I have leveled out the mounds it will look fine - but higher.

Broad bean and celeriac with tomatoes in the background
I think that I will only be using the broad beans in the foreground for seed because I already have a freezer full of them.  The celeriac is growing particularly rampantly.  I will certainly have enough to last right through the winter even though I am using them now.
I am using the variegated leaf nasturtium flowers for salads.  The lettuce does not seem to like the hot temperatures in August and I don't have a good one at the moment.  I will plant some more in September.  I have some ridge cucumbers in this bed too but you can't seem them behind the celeriac.  They are coming on well with lots of cucumbers but they fruit really late even though I put them in the ground early.  The greenhouse one has been fruiting since June.

Pumpkin (Cucurbia pepo)
The pumpkin has taken over the area where the onions were.  I have not really watered them enough this year to get really big ones.  You can't see them yet but there are some average sized ones under the leaf canopy.

Sweet cicely
I am not going to take another crop of sweet cicely.  It will grow on until the frost and then die back to soil level.  This will enable it to build up reserves for next year.


I have cut all the old fruiting canes off the blackberry and tied in next years fruiting canes.  I will have to tie them again because it is not very neat and the canes are far too close to each other.  Needless to say, the old canes went into the double digging trenches with the raspberry canes.  It is amazing the amount you can get rid of in a deep trench.

Sweet peas have gone off now.
I am not too worried about the sweet peas now.  I need to clean out the store shed and take all the pots and trays home to wash and make room for the canes.  I will not do that until I have finished digging over the potato bed.  All the sweet pea tops will be dug into the soil in this bed together with the runner beans when they get frosted in October or November time.  The sweet peas and beans have been fixing nitrogen from the air and this can be added to the soil when the plants decompose.
Kohl rabi and Swedes
The swedes have over shadowed the kohl rabi this year so they will be planted a little further apart next year.  I have cleared the ground here for the strawberry plants to go in.  When the swedes and the kohl rabi have been harvested I will put the strawberries in here.

Winter broccoli
Winter broccoli are coming along well and will give me a good crop during the winter as will the Brussel sprouts.
Brussel sprouts.  
These Brussel sprouts will be ready for harvesting during December and January.  Just in time for Christmas.  The only way to eat brussel sprouts is straight from the plant.  Never ever eat frozen Brussel sprouts.

I don't know what happened to the squash but there is a lot of leaf and very small fruit.  I am hoping, with a bit of watering,  to get at least some of these to a reasonable size before the winter.

Felthham First peas.
The peas are decidedly not doing very well.  They were planted where the earlier peas grew and this may well have affected them.  Not a very successful experiment.  I will not try to get two crops of peas from the same ground again.  I have not weeded them and I will dig them in with the weeds as a green manure.

Dwarf French beans
I have not harvested these dwarf French beans.  I am leaving them to ripen and I will save the dried beans seeds for soups and curries.

French climbing beans
Unfortunately, I planted the sweet peas with the French climbing beans and the sweet peas shaded out the beans a little.  The brown foliage is the sweet peas after being cut hard back.  I should have removed the sweet peas a lot sooner.  I have enough runner beans to be going on with so I am not too disappointed with the poor crop of beans.  I will remember not to plant sweet peas near the climbing French beans next year.  The beans and the sweet peas will be dug into the soil as green manure.

Late August can be an untidy time on the allotment.  Things are coming to the end of their lives making everything look a little drab.  It is what the allotment is like at the moment.  It really needs a good tidy up.

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