Garlic’s in!

Monday was a glorious day – full sun and warm. I think my new greenhouse min/max thermometer was lying to me – if it had got down to 2.5C last night the plants would have been looking pretty forlorn. After a small panic about early frosts (ruddy min/max!) I’ve taken home all the kiwano and they are slowly ripening in a bowl. Most of them were at least half orange, so they don’t have far to go.

Despite the sun today, when I have to start wearing wellies just to walk around the plot it really feels like winter’s just around the corner. The top plot’s a bit boggy. Though not as much as usual for this time of year.

ocaI haven’t sorted the rest of the hedge yet. My poor oca is in permashade. Though after weeks of seeing pictures of other people’s oca flowering, mine has finally caught up. Hurrah! oca flowersThere aren’t many flowers but they are there. I’ve moved the bagged plants into the greenhouse to protect them from early frost, but I don’t have anything big enough to cover the ones in the ground.

It’s quite refreshing to get beds clear of old crops, ready for planting something new or putting to sleep for winter. My fabulously chatty Allotment Assistant (aged 12) has been helping me. We’ve taken out squash plants and the weeds that were hiding underneath, all the visible worms have been given a pep talk and Becca the Wigwam is no more. Neither of us picked many beans over summer – she was in Spain, I didn’t like the flat-podded beans. Which, looking for the silver lining, has given us a fabulous harvest of beans for drying. harvest barrowThey need to be shifted somewhere less muggy than the greenhouse to dry out properly. That means home and, what with the plates of drying seed dotted about, plus the creeping Squash Invasion, bringing yet more stuff in to strew around will have Him Indoors’ tidy soul slumping in despair. Around this time of year I start sneaking things in and hoping he won’t notice. Although a barrowload of veg is hard to hide!

garlic 2015In Becca’s place are cloves for next year’s garlic – Extra Early Wight and Tuscany Wight from an offer in Kitchen Garden. Double-digging and sifting the soil this year has really paid off. Weeding the whole bed and planting up took hardly any time, though there’s still some creeping buttercup insinuating itself in from the grassy path.

There are a couple of other jobs I want to do, like move the rhubarb, but I have no idea how wet #92 will get. At the moment #92 is very diggable, whereas #100 definitely isn’t. One of the jobs is building a walk-in fruit cage – our friend John really kindly gave me a cage which will either be part of it or be its own strawberry area. Another is marking out the remaining beds on #92. Our site’s planned Guy Fawkes’ bonfire means the car park is slowly filling up with unwanted wood. As it gets left, be-wellied, anoraked allotmenteers circle round to see what’s in good enough nick to scavenge for their plots. I’ve got 4 posts, some long straight logs and a bit of board for bed edging so far, and added in 3 lots of rotting decking. Fair exchange and all that…

At home the experimental overwintering tomatoes are thriving leggily. They aren’t pretty, but they are alive and one of them seems determined to flower.

overwintering tomatoes late October

Categories: Diary 2015

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