Blaugust Day 5 – August begins and with it, harvesting!

Despite some odd weather patterns here in the suburbs of London, the allotment is starting to produce in abundance. My Jostaberry bushes still have plenty of berries, but honestly I’m tired of picking them and the plucking off the stalks before freezing. So far I estimate I’ve had 8 kilos of the things and have made cordial, smoothies, crumble, ice-cream, frozen yoghurt and jam and still have plenty of bags full left in the freezer. The rest will have to be for the birds, mostly because now I have something new to pick – Blackberries!

Blackberries!

I was excited to see my plot had some established blackberry bushes. Year on year I collect them wild, to freeze for crumble through the year and they make delicious pies and crumbles with a few apples.

Kale, Beans, Cucumber, Squash and Blackberries

The squash plants are doing well, despite periods of drought, and I’ve already had two delicious fruits off them.

Cucumber

The cucumber plants are also doing really well. Two plants in a tub at home have already given us two decent sized cucumbers with more growing away nicely. At the allotment I have several in the ground which are doing less well but time will tell.

Tomatoes at home are flourishing. Lots of cherry tomatoes forming, though nothing has ripened yet. At the allotment, the tomatoes I started later in the greenhouse are catching up and have just started flowering, as have the chilli plants.

My experiment with Cucamelons doesn’t seem to have worked. The plants are barely growing, either outdoors or in the greenhouse. Not sure what I’m doing wrong but maybe it’s just not been consistantly hot enough.

Beans have given mixed results this year. Borlotti beans haven’t done especially but the French beans have been excellent and the plan to grow some in hanging baskets, inspired by my dad, was great. Sadly his own haven’t done much at all.

Sweetcorn

Sweetcorn, though not as tall as I’d expected, is producing plenty of cobs, much better than last year. Hopefully they continue to grown and
ripen.

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End of June and back garden is producing at last!

 Now summer is well under way, everything is growing well in the garden. Tomato plants have started flowering although of the 11 plants that have survived, I am unsure of the varieties, after planting three different types, so it’ll be a nice surprise when they start fruiting.

Within a couple of week, the poor, sickly looking cucumbers are now flourishing. Three plants in the back garden this year, and using a technique I discovered last year, forming a cage around the plants and weaving the growing head in and out til it reaches the top. The method worked very well last year so looking forward to a good crop. I have a few plants at the allotment too, but they are not thriving as well, most likely as they don’t get watered as often.

Having cleared a lot of weeds, the beans are now flourishing again. A mixture of yard long beans and Borlotti beans.

There’s also a few beans in hanging baskets. I’ve not tried this method before, having stole the idea from my Dad. In theory they should start to over hang and grow downwards.
I also dug out the only potatoes growing at home, a decent crop from a couple of plants.

After an hour long Jostaberry picking session yesterday, I now have well over a kilo as well as some lovely redcurrants.

As well as a few crumbles, I’ve made some Jostaberry and Redcurrant Jam which I can confirm is delicious!

Harvesting begins!

The dry spell continues which means I need to get down to the allotment every couple of days, if not every day to get things watered. Thankfully my daughter loves going and helps water everything and picking berries.

I’ve pretty much confirmed that my plot contains Jostaberries, a hybrid of gooseberry and black currant. Not only are they delicious but we have tons of them, so every visit ends in a marathon picking session! Teaching the little ‘un not to pick the green ones is a difficult task but they’ll do just fine in a crumble!.
I also dug up the first batch of potatoes, which were dying down, I suspect due to blight. Still, we got a good enough haul for the three of us and as I’ve been promised a roast beef dinner for Father’s Day this Sunday, they’ll do just right!

Mid June and everything is flourishing!

 Another gorgeous summery afternoon so the little ‘un and I went to check on things and give everything a much needed water.

Three separate plantings of lettuce are coming along nicely, as is the spinach,  surprisingly without a single sign of slug attack.

Sweetcorn has been doing well at last and the local greengrocer had some plants in, so picked up another 9 to add to mine, making it now 29.

I have more space coming free, so I’m tempted to grow another batch as it’s something all of us enjoy , especially grilled on the barbeque!

The cucumbers are starting to flourish and grow up the cylindrical cages I’ve made for them. One has even popped a flower already!

The little greenhouse is doing well, mostly taken up with Jalapeno plants and some purple sprouting brocolli ready for planting out later. A solitary tomato plant is doing ok, though probably needs a bigger pot.

Most of the plot

June arrives and with it Summer…almost!

Today’s visit to the allotment has shown how the increased temperature is finally kick starting things. I planted out lettuce and sweet pepper started off in the greenhouse. French beans are coming along nicely and the corn is starting to grow again. I picked my first radish from seed planted less than a month ago (delicious!)

Left side of the plot

Right side of the plot
The fruit bushes are coming along well and it’s now more clear which are which – Blackcurrant, Gooseberry, Blackberry and Raspberry. Sadly my strawberries that I transplanted haven’t taken too well (thankfully I have loads coming through at home.)

Although I still have about a quarter of the plot covered in grass and weeds, I am running out of room for things I still want to plant so I can see how I can manage a full plot in years to come.

Mid May update

So we are soon to the point where risk of frost has passed here in the Uk, so more tender plants can start going out. Today I took a gamble and got my corn planted. 18 this year, in a neat rectangle, and will hopefully do better in the allotment than those I planted at home last year.

I’ve also got some more beans on the go, making it three lots of canes dotted throughout the growing space, with rocket and lettuce seed in the ground straight rather than from plants, they. Should hopefully catch up quickly. 
Broad beans and potatoes are coming along nicely. 
And a few bits and pieces in pots, both outside and in the greenhouse. 

April drawing to a close and things are flying!

 Nice surprise at the allotment today, visiting first time in a week to find the things I planted in the greenhouse have taken off. Some very solid Sweetcorn F1 plants along with some French Climbing Beans. Clearly very tasty as slugs have munched through a couple already along with month of the peas I planted.

The climbers are now safely in the ground but I forgot my homebrew I was planning to use for beer traps. Hopefully they’ll survive the night.

Things planted in the ground last couple of weeks are starting to show up, lots of Kale and the first Broad Beans. I’m amazed the soil is producing anything. Right now it’s dried and looks like solid clay. 
Back at home, the fruits are looking promising. Raspberry canes have shown themselves and are sprouting up through the lawn. Dug a few up and replanted in the beds, so hopefully they’ll produce this year too.

I’ll also bought a new cover for my small greenhouse and used the torn cover from last year to make an ad hoc cold frame.