I have no more blight in the greenhouse!
Admittedly the plants are ugly and have been plucked almost bald. The survivors are definitely alive – there are new leaves and no more blight spots developing. For now. I fully expect it to rear its unwanted head again. The only casualties were two bush tomatoes, which had patches all over and a Sunrise Bumblebee, though not before I got a ripe truss for the GYO forum seed circle. Lesson for next year: don’t crowd the greenhouse so much. Tubs in the path was a step too far. If I’m careful, I should be able to keep it all dry and spore-free for a good couple of months – I’d be really happy with that.
Other joy in the greenhouse is the sheer number of melon flowers. Of the three plants that went in, the remaining slug-survivor seems very happy and is climbing everywhere. There are at least 4 female flowers set (bagged and hand-pollinated) so perhaps there will be Kajari melon seeds for the various seed circles this year. As far as I can tell, from poking my nose against various greenhouses, no one else is growing melons this year and I might be safe leaving the others open to the bees. The pepino is also starting to flower, which is very exciting. Its flowers are small, lilac and a bit auberginey.
All the berries have been harvested, bar blackcurrants at Mum’s. It is really great to have the nets off the beds – though others are going up elsewhere. My redcurrants did very well, with fat, long strings of berries which take no time at all to pick and sort through. I got a few desserts, a tub of berries in the freezer and 9 jars of jelly out of them. The gooseberry bushes transplanted last year from Mum’s produced just over 5kg of berries. Added to the 2.5kg of red goosegogs that equals a freezer creaking at the seams and the luxury of gooseberry fools, crumbles and tarts. This gooseberry ice cream is seriously delicious, as is the strawberry & gooseberry tart on the same link. This year the berries have been really sweet, usually they are lip-puckeringly tart. We’ve also had a first kilo of blackberries from the brambles lining the allotment site. Early blackberries have a little more pectin than those later in the season so I usually use the first flush for jelly making. I still need to use an apple in the mix to get it to set, but I can usually get away with 60% fruit and 40% sugar.
Also up & at ’em are the beans. I’ve made my Munty frame bigger this year, which gives the plants about 13-14ft of growing space. So far the Cara la Virgen de la Bañeza León beans are galloping along the twine. Runners aren’t far behind, but half their attention is on flowering and producing beans, whereas the Cara beans just focus on growing till about mid-August.
To make room for the beans (and the ever-spreading giant courgette leaves) I’ve had to shift the yacon tub down to the other end of the plot. The plant has grown into a proper behemoth! Its leaves are massive. I hope that means the tubers in the compost are also going to be big, I’m looking forward to jars of yacon molasses.
My squashes are a lagging behind. Slugs have had so many of the original sowings that I’m probably not being fair on the new plants’ growing speed. I had female flowers but no males on the Sucrette I am meant to be saving for the Heritage Seed Library, and that’s being repeated in a lot of the other plants. I hope it balances out soon or I won’t be able to send anything back in.
I really hate that it’s also time to start thinking about the autumn & winter crops. While it’s a relief to get most of the last plants in the ground, I don’t like this part. It reminds me that the season has started to turn and we’re heading back into dull, grey chill. All my swedes, gilfeathers and turnips have been idling away in modules on the balcony. Leeks were sown back in March and have been sitting in a planter, growing steadily till a bed came free – they’ve more than reached pencil thickness, which bodes well for crops later in the year. And I’m looking forward to seeing the foliage on Below Zero F1, it’s supposed to be a beautiful blue colour.
In a rare full day’s work at the plot I’ve finally tackled rest of the pink bed. Disobligingly the ground was set into concrete – I jumped up and down on my spade like it was a pogo stick. It’s been turned over, spot-weeded and had compost, spare bags of topsoil and a bag of manure added, together with some BFB. Now housing sprouts, PSB and kale, I’ve draped it in new bespoke-cut enviromesh to keep the critters out. The photos are progressively dimmer in hue- I finished it all at about 9.30pm, just after sunset – which I watched with the little tabby on my lap.
Categories: Diary 2016