The end of Summer

We have reached the end of summer and have dived head first into autumn! The crops are almost coming to an end; the courgettes, runner beans and cucumbers have thrived on our allotment. We will certainly be growing those next year.

The only thing we have left at the moment are our little pumpkins! I’m not sure how many will be ripe enough for Halloween. We have eleven in total. I will probably use the smaller ones in cooking and give away the larger ones… with the exception of one! The leaves were attacked by mildew, but this happened because I planted them far too close together. We live and learn. A mistake I won’t make again. The vines have started to die back, although I am not sure if this is because of the mildew or because it is just that time of year! A lot of people on the allotment have perfectly healthy vines, but I have seen several plots with vines like ours. Perhaps it varies depending on the variety. They will ripen off the vine, so if a frost is forecast I will cut them off.

Before the weather changed, we were able to finally finish painting the shed. I had left the back panel unpainted, purely because we had a lot of stuff stored at the back of the shed and didn’t have a place to put it. Tom managed to get the guttering erected. We had heard that heavy rainfall was forecast, so it was a race against time. We wanted utilise the excess water whilst we could… turns out we just didn’t have enough containers for it. The first water butt was full on the first day of the downpours. We were given another which was full the day after. I don’t know just how many butts we could have filled, but at least we know the guttering works!

The terrible frosting has finally been removed from the window, Tom purchased a little metal scraper which did the job perfectly. I can’t take credit for that though, I ended up planting up the window box instead [but I can take credit for the finishing touches, as seen below!] The shed is so much lighter inside now. We have also placed the chillies in front of the window, to protect them from the cooler temperatures. They absolutely love it in there!

As mentioned in a previous post, the tomato plants died back [from what turned out to be blight] and the plot was left almost empty. The only thing that remained was the cucumber. I purchased some small fruit bushes from Aldi of all places. They were just 69p each! The larger blackcurrant bushes were reduced to £3, I purchased these from a garden centre. The ground was dug over and compost was mixed in to replenish the nutrients.

Fruit bushes; blackcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries.

The potatoes have been harvested and the ground will need to be dug over and compost added. The lettuce we planted ended up bolting, but we have left it in the ground for now as it has been too boggy to remove them. Hopefully, the constant downpours are coming to an end.

Summer feels like such a distant memory now, it hasn’t even been a month since the days became cooler. I have never been one for hot weather, but I already find myself yearning for warmer, longer days at the allotment.

One evening at the allotment.

Beans Galore!

Apologies for my lack of updates, life has ultimately got in the way. The past two weeks have been pretty quiet at the allotment. Our summer crops are coming to an end. Our beans have done so well so such a small amount of space. We must have had 500+ beans! They are still growing, but the crop yield is now slowing down.

The pumpkins are growing well, but the leaves are covered in mildew. I have removed the worst affected leaves which in turn has given the plants more space to breathe. The mildew shouldn’t affect the crop. I did use a spray mix of milk and water (40/60 mix) as I had read this can stop the spread of mildew, but I found this to be ineffective.

Our tool wall has been organised and updated with some hand tools. We had a sort out of the shed, as it had become somewhat chaotic inside. Much better!

Sorry for the smaller update this week, I’ll have more to report next time. Until then!

Move & Tidy

The tomatoes are dying back. I had left them in hope that they may recover, but it was not to be. I removed the smaller green undamaged tomatoes before I started to cut them back.

We decided to completely move the herb garden. The pumpkins were blocking the light for the first row of herbs, thus slowly killing them. The herbs have been moved to the front of the allotment and have been planted up in an old tire Thomas found at the side of the road.

The shed is finally finished. The front panels have been painted and replaced and the window box has been erected. Thomas made this from scratch with some old pallet wood. He chose the most sturdy looking pallet and broke it apart. I picked up a big tub of grey paint from a car boot sale the other week for just £5, absolute bargain! I wanted the details of the shed to really pop out and I thought if it was all painted purple, it would be too much.

The pallet bin is now complete and has been moved into position. If you remember my earlier posts, the pallet bin was originally going to be at the front, but we have now moved it to be beside the shed. Thomas has done a great job on both the window box and the pallet bin. The front part will be for compost and the back will be for other items we find on the allotment; stones, glass, sticks and such forth.

We have been trying to tidy the ground behind the shed and fence. Unfortunately there is no break in the fence, so we can never get behind the fence to fully clear it. There are a lot of nettles and ivy behind the fence, I have pulled up what I can but these weeds will be a recurring problem.

I purchased a little ladybird house. It had been reduced and I thought it was an interesting item, we talk about bees a lot but the ladybirds are just as important! I painted it grey to match the rest of the details.

The courgettes are still plentiful and we have harvested our first potatoes! I can confirm they are delicious. Homegrown is best!