Thursday, October 18, 2007

Autumn report

Things are coming on well in the garden. The cabbages and broccoli are growing nicely (and tasting nicely too). We've almost come to the end of the runner beans and the zucchini, but are still getting some. I've started putting the empty beds, and empty bits of beds in use, to bed for the winter. I've weeded them and covered them with manure and or ash from the volcano, then topped that with grass clippings. On Monday I planted autumn planting peas and broad beans in two of the beds and top dressed with ash. We'll have to see if we can beat the slugs, frost and snow this year!!

Oh - the corn has started to fruit. Too late, of course, but it did finally get there. If nothing else, I can make corn stock with it!!!

Things are in a moderate level of disarray on the allotment. The top beds desperately need weeding. There are leeks and tiny onions in there and you can't see them for thistles!! The potato beds aren't so bad. I've weeded the bottom one by the greenhouses and today planted white and red onion sets and some garlic for the spring. The tomatoes are producing prolifically! I came home with yet more today. There's now a huge pot of "ratatouille" waiting to go into the freezer. It's got tomatoes, onions, garlic, zucchini and wong bok (instead of aubergine!) and smells wonderful.

We are considering getting another couple of greenhouses for the allotment, plus a small tool shed. When The Builder has time, he’s going to start putting new beds in, starting at the bottom (I think) and working up towards the greenhouses.

The flower garden is looking very smart. I’ve weeded both the centre beds and they’re looking very cheerful. Last winter, inspired by a friend’s tales of wandering about in her garden the previous summer and eating wild strawberries for breakfast, I moved a few plants I found in the lawn into the first bed. A nice edging, I thought. Well, the most ardent evil dictator in human history could lessons in world domination from those strawberries. They’ve colonised that entire bed, made serious inroads into the brick path and even started to straggle into the next bed!!! I’ve hacked them back but I am seriously wondering whether this really was a terribly good plan. Didn’t even get any tiny strawberries (though I got loads on the real plants in the orchard). I’ve just bought some seeds for “black” hollyhocks, cornflowers, sunflowers and sweet peas. I’m pondering whether to dig out the wild strawberries and replace them with the “black” seeds. Apart from the sweet peas, which I might grow along the fence! That would give me (more or less and not absolutely) a black and purple bed which would be quite cute.

I now need to weed (urgently!) the original flowerbed along the wall. We are intending to take down the two rockery beds out the front and I want to rescue some of the plants in the bed by the front wall. Then we’re going to shorten the length of the wall outside the actual house by a bit. With both beds gone and the wall shortened, we should be able to get the new van onto the concrete and off the road. Mind you, the power pole in the middle of the new gap will still be a problem, but I don’t imagine the power people are going to shift it for our convenience!!

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