Sunday 27 September 2020

Autumn Harvest

Well, the weather certainly knew it was Autumn with the changes from warm and settled to cool, windy and rainy taking place on the actual Equinox! Luckily the strong winds over the past few days have died down and there seems little damage. 

Just before the rain we installed a new water butt and guttering by the side of the lean-to greenhouse which seems to be working well, this will save having to carry water around from the back yard. The water butts in the allotment are filling up nicely too. 

One thing we grow which is reliable each year is Minipop Sweetcorn, the little ones that are used in stir fries. We have at least four bags of them in the freezer now and at about £1 per tray from the supermarket they are worth growing. (and saving air miles versus imports from the Far East!)

We've been eating carrots from the tyre stacks for several weeks now, although we are going to "rest" them now until the remaining ones have grown thicker and longer. Growing them in tyre stacks means that they are well above the ground, thus protecting them from carrot fly and have a very deep layer of compost/sand to grow down into. As you can see they are of decent size and indeed are very tasty both raw and cooked!

Just a few of the many potatoes and apples that we have been harvesting recently. We started harvesting potatoes for immediate use at the end of July and have been eating our own potatoes since. Before the weather changed, I dug up the remaining ones, mostly Cara I think, cleaned them up and put the best ones into store in boxes and the remainder into a sack for use over the next month or so. 

The Falstaff and the Chivers' Delight minarette apple trees are very much in season and there is, I think, at least a couple of hundred apples between the two of them either now picked and stored or still ripening. There's perhaps another fifty Gala apples on a very late ripening minarette that has now got a net over it to stop the local blackbird from pecking at them! This particular blackbird had managed to get under the net for the grape vine and when it was pottering around my feet when I was digging over this morning, looked like it had been binge eating and needs to go on a diet!

The borlotti and kidney beans (plus a few ying yang beans saved from the last year) are almost dry, in fact I picked some this morning to be laid out upstairs on newspaper to be thoroughly dry before podding and storing. 

We have an old swing frame that beans grow up as well as a wigwam and trellis made from hazel poles that we have trimmed last winter from the very vigorous hazelnut tree at the edge of the allotment

Monday 7 September 2020

Common Darter Dragonfly in the Allotment

 Sunday lunch was a little delayed yesterday! My wife came back from the allotment while I was making it to tell me about the dragonfly that was sunning itself on the back fence. So, I switched off the cooker and dashed up there with the camera! 

This is a Common Darter Dragonfly (Sympetrum striolatum) and whilst, as it name suggests, a very common dragonfly (!) it is the first one we have had in the allotment, in fact I am not sure when we last had a dragonfly in the allotment to be honest. 

My wife watched it having a bit of an altercation with a spider on the fence although by the time I got there it had taken up sunbathing and seemed quite content!

Here's another view from behind. I am always amazed at the intricacy of the wings of these creatures and love trying to get a close up photograph of them, easier said than done as usually they are quite skittish, however, this one was pretty chilled out about things!