Monday, 5 September 2011

Autumn on the allotment part 2

Spent a couple of hours up at the allotment before breakfast today in lovely sunshine. I was anxious to get on with all the work still to do up there, because the forecast is not good for the rest of the week and already it has blown up breezy and it feels like rain is on the way.

So I picked the gorgeous yellow cylindrical courgettes, runner beans, french beans, spinach, raspberries, the small alpine strawberries (delicious but fiddly), and a small squash. There are still two rows of main crop potatoes to harvest, but with rain threatened now is not the right time. And the foliage still looks very healthy and not blighted (I buy blight resistant strains).

I pulled up the remaining radishes and put them on the compost heap. They have gone woody now - shame because the early ones I pulled were lovely, but they go woody and unpalatable very quickly. I sowed a winter cabbage in the soil thus vacated. Will have to remember to protect these from pigeons when they come through. The brussels sprouts I transplanted last week are doing well, although one had been badly eaten by slugs - so I scattered a few organic slug pellets around. It will hopefully recover - I think the growing point is still intact.

Then I carted 4 barrow loads of manure to the plot and spread it all around the perennials in the flower patch, between the rows of strawberries, and generally wherever there was any bare earth!

One year's seeding is seven year's weeding. I must do a big poster to put on the notice board up there. Looking around the other plots, I notice that people are making so much work for themselves, not pulling up the thistles, dandelions, chickweed, groundsel, etc etc that are now all flowering and seeding freely. It only takes a half hour or so to hand pull them all up and put them on the compost. That time well spent would save so much work and frustration later.
And of course the compost heap must heat up properly to kill those seeds, otherwise they are best burnt or taken to the local recycling centre instead. My closed wooden compost bins and plastic bins seem to make the best compost. People have made heaps out of wooden pallets, but they allow the stuff to dry out and not heat up properly so the compost is not so good and takes much longer to make!

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