We managed to get some work done in the first weekend in September and the last weekend but both Sam and I have been travelling a lot this month so the allotment has unfortunately had to take a back seat. This has led to much anxiety! I have been imagining coming back to a frost damaged plot with all my veg rotting away. Melodramatic I know but it seems that the temperature is holding for now even if it has turned grey and miserable!
So this month we have dug over the broad bean bed and divided it into two smaller more manageable beds. All we need now is to dig in some organic matter ready for the garlic, onions and shallots. Main crop potatoes were harvested! We lost about a third to mice, slugs and sunshine but the remaining two thirds (7 buckets and a compost bag full) will be plenty to last until next year (maybe a little too many – might have to reduce the number of plants next year!) Excitingly, I dug up one of the sweet potato plants to see if anything was developing and if they were ready to be harvested. I was rewarded with two sweet potatoes, a large one and a small one, which will duly be roasted and enjoyed with some pan-fried sea bream! I have decided to wait for another two weeks (weather dependent) before harvesting the rest. This is my first time with sweet potatoes so don’t really know when they right time for harvesting is?
We started tidying up plot 3 by digging over the smaller bean bed near the shed and sowing some green manure which will be cut down just before adding well-rotted manure reading for our drying beans next year. We also tidied up the herb garden. The left hand bed was weeded and spring bulbs were planted. We then dug over the right hand bed, planted some hydrangeas and heather and the spring bulbs. In November time, we will move the globe artichoke to this bed as well.
I have cleared the flower beds around the pond, removing all the weeds and spent annuals. I planted daffodils, tulips and fritillaria bulbs for the spring. I think I may have accidentally killed the ‘Bleeding Heart’ plant. If it doesn’t come back next spring then I shall by a new one!
We have been slowly picking our drying beans as they have been drying on the plant. I have just about managed to get them all picked except for the borlotti beans which are still not mature enough yet. Hopefully they will get picked before the weather turns too cold and wet! In other news, the butternut squash have really come along! I was worried I wouldn’t get any this year or that the few developing would get hit by the frost before they could ripen but they seem to be ripening well so at least we will have a few squash this year! I have already harvested 4 pumpkins and 2 uchiki kuri which are curing on window sills as we speak!
We have also tidied up the compost area by put some pallets on the front of each bin – thanks Susan for giving us the pallets – this stops the compost from spilling out and stops the seating area from looking unkempt!
It was my birthday this month (21 again!) and I got some wonderful presents for the allotment. My favourite was the hedgehog hogitat from Sam. We will be putting this in the allotment, putting a bit of hay in it and collecting up some dried leaves for any hedgehog that wants to come and stay. All the advice I have seen so far suggests putting out some food like cat food but there are a few cats that roam the allotment and I am concerned that a) the cats will eat it and b) the cats will scare the hedgehogs away! I am also slightly concerned about the rats eating the food too!
Other birthday presents include a wheelbarrow, digging fork, rake, root trainers, gardening gloves…. everything an allotmenteer needs!
Now that we are moving in to October, the amount of time we spend at the allotment will start to reduce, most likely because the weather will keep us away although we still have plenty of jobs to get on with!
Hope your September has been fruitful/vegful!