Thursday 5 November 2020

5th November 2020 Lockdown 2 - Day 1 - Allotment Update

Well, we're back in lockdown again here in England, although the rules are slightly less strict than first time around. So, for me it is back on furlough for at least the next four weeks. 

Today, I popped up to the allotment for yet more apples, we have been blessed with an abundence of apples and indeed pears and soft fruit this year. The Falstaff minarette apple is nearly finished now, as has the Chiver's Delight but in the past few days the Gala, always a late ripening tree, is now in full swing. I have had to put a large net over the Falstaff as the birds do go for them as the weather gets colder. I saw Redwings on a wild apple tree yesterday on my cycle ride. 

Indoors, the remaining pears all decided to ripen at once so I spent an afternoon peeling and chopping and made five jars of pear compote. There's still a few in the fridge, they are very ripe though!

Although there hasn't been a frost here yet, it has been getting quite cold and so it is time to protect the Meyer Lemon tree at the allotment. Maybe you would expect this plant to come indoors in the winter, but we've found that it suffers from scale insect indoors, which we haven't been able to get rid of by any organic means. So, over a year ago now we moved it to the allotment and within few weeks there were no more scale insects, so it was obvious that there were predators in the allotment that took care of them! 

Being in the allotment does mean that it needs protection during the winter and last year we wrapped it in plastic which meant it was protected from frost. This year we have used bubble wrap as we have three lemons on the tree and so we hope that this extra protection will be enough to help them survive until Spring. There's a layer of straw around the roots as well. We have left a gap at the front of the pot where there is just soil so that rain water can enter the pot, although we do water it a little too. 

Despite being early November, with no frost as yet the nasturtiums and marigolds are still creating a pretty show at the top end of the allotment where the onions were earlier in the season. Whilst they have to be contained to avoid swamping the crops, they act as a magnet for pollinators and other insects, and even when they die off with the frost they act as ground cover over the winter and rot down as mulch. 

This is the first of this year's parsnips! There's a row in the same patch as the onions were and the nasturtiums above. Our favourite way of cooking them is as parsnip chips, deep fried in the chip pan. Cooking in smaller batches is best, too many in the pan sends them soggy rather than crispy. 

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