Trial & Error

This past week has seen the removal of our leafy greens, as stated in my last post. When they were pulled up, it was evident that the plants had suffered root shock. The ones that hadn’t, were eaten by caterpillars. This plot is now clear, apart from the courgettes. I will probably leave the plot clear until we plant the winter lettuce.

Our rhubarb is also not doing well. Something appears to be eating away the leaves. The rhubarb was on a different part of our allotment and was undamaged at the time. We didn’t intend to move it but it was trodden on when our neighbour cut down their artichoke, so we decided it was for the best. In the beginning, the rhubarb was absolutely fine. I didn’t expect much growth from it this year anyway, so I was surprised to see it do so well – up until recently. After researching, I think this part of the allotment may have some pests; Potato Stem Borer or the Rhubarb Curculio Beetle. Our potatoes aren’t too far from the rhubarb, so it would make sense if it was the former. I have trimmed off the growth and placed pots over them for now. I will move the roots next month; it is best to move rhubarb in spring or autumn.

To continue on this theme of failures, our tomatoes have started to die. I certainly expected some failures in my first year, but I was surprised that the tomatoes have started to die back. They had been doing so well up until this week, when I started to find green tomatoes turning brown. The plants are starting to turn brown too. This has happened due to our lack of research. Tomatoes can thrive in most soil types – apart from heavy clay. This is the exact type of soil we have. A lesson learnt, we will not make the same mistake next year. I am unsure what we will do next year; either plant them in pots of compost, or add garden lime to the soil. Hopefully I can save some of the tomatoes, it doesn’t seem to have affected all of the crop. As the plants are now damaged, I will pick off the larger green tomatoes and either make a chutney from them or leave them to ripen on a windowsill. I can’t deny that I am disappointed, but it is all part of the learning process.

On a more positive note, our pumpkins have gone crazy! I haven’t grown pumpkins in years and had actually forgotten just how big they get. I have definitely planted them too close together, but they don’t seem to mind! They are creeping over into the herb garden though, so I will plant them over two plots next year and away from the herbs! I have noticed four little pumpkins growing and I imagine there will be more, they will be perfect for the upcoming soup season!

The pumpkins have already grown over the path between the herbs and the pumpkin plot.

We harvest crops most days, we have an abundance of courgettes and blackberries! I’m starting to run out of ideas as to what to do with them; jams, cakes and crumbles… can you tell we have a sweet tooth? We have harvested almost all of our Cos lettuce, there’s just three left. We have planted some more which should come up in a few weeks. The lemon cucumbers were actually left on the excess produce table – you can help yourself to anything that is left on there. The elderberries will also be ready to pick soon, I will probably make cordials and jam with these.

Courgette, cucumber, lemon cucumbers, parsley, Cos lettuce, tarragon and blackberries.

Until next week!

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