Saturday, 21 August 2010

autumn tidy up at the allotment

Today I spent several hours at the allotment, mostly in fine misty rain or mizzle as someone called it in the local community stores this morning when I went in for my paper.

I wanted to have a really good tidy up and harvesting of crops before I go away for a few more days - as otherwise I would surely return to a wilderness of weeds. The late summer rain on warm soil has made everything spring to life, weeds included.

Most importantly the grass between the plots has suddenly grown apace, and needed its first cut since the beginning of this dry summer. So this I did. I leave the blades quite high, as this maintains a green sward of grass even in drought. Others cut their grass very short, and all through the summer their grass paths have been brown and unattractive. The cuttings went on my compost heap. Too much lawn cuttings can make for slimy compost but it is fine to add them to the heap along with plenty of other material from the weeding

The beetroot is mostly mature and ready to harvest and store, but the leaves have all developed a rusty coloured mould on them. I am sure it is not harmful - the leaves are beyond the stage of eating in salads anyway - but clearly the leaves are so affected that there will be no further root growth. When i get back I shall pull them all up and hopefully store in a box of sand. It is not good to leave them in the ground for too long - they go woody.

I have found a website (Very edible gardens) that gives lots of information on the beetroot - including growing, storing, cooking - it is excellent - worth following the link for.

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