Thursday, August 08, 2013

Early August

The weather has taken a strangely autumnal turn in the last couple of days.  It's been chilly overnight and misty in the early mornings. It feels like early autumn rather than late summer. But it is, of course, only early August so there may yet be a return to summer rather than autumn conditions.  In the meantime we haven't yet had the temperatures drop so much overnight that we've had a frost, and the daytime temperatures are holding up. So we continue to do well for runner beans and for button zucchini.

The Under Gardener has now dug all the onions on the allotment and we are slowly processing them and putting them into the (nearly full :-S ) freezer. We've had enough zucchini this year for me to start putting together ratatouille or stew packs in the freezer, so far with onions, zucchini and runner beans.  If we get enough ripe tomatoes I'll add those too. I'll try and remember to add some herbs as well; we've got quite a few different herbs flourishing this year so I might add different herbs to different packs (and then not label them so which flavour it is comes as a surprise :-D). We haven't yet dug the potatoes. None of the rest of them came down with blight so we're leaving them in the ground for now. The plants either have died or are dying back, but while we are frost free they're as safe in the ground as they are in the freezer or potato drawers.  It hasn't been a good year for slugs or (apparently) wireworm and so far the potatoes are coming up hale and hearty.  If that changes, we'll re-think our approach.

The Under Gardener has also harvested all the peas and broad beans on the allotment, so the bottom half is now bare. He's started digging those, ready to put them to bed for the winter, or to plant garlic in the autumn. He's also harvested all the fruit on the allotment. The pumpkin and tomato plants in the greenhouse are positively thriving. I'm not sure how the capsicum plants are bearing up. The plants look quite healthy but they aren't flowering. The watermelon plants are extremely happy but I don't think we'll get enough time for watermelons to grow properly   I don't really ever expect to get watermelons - but we do get the very occasional year when the spring AND the summer are warm and sunny. That will be the year we get watermelons and I am ever optimistic!

The blackbirds have eaten the last of the morello cherries in the orchard. This was slightly irritating because we were hoping to get them ripe enough to make a foray into baking cherry pies! We had netted the cherries, but that didn't thwart the blackbirds.  We have plums, apples and a few more blueberries to come.

Ramen, the poorly chook still isn't dead.  We've put her into the small guinea pig hutch that we bought when we first got the ducks.  I am not expecting her to survive for very long but she seems reasonably happy, except that she can't walk. All the other birds seem hale and hearty for now. Udon has resumed laying eggs so we are getting a fairly regular two a day at the moment. Dim Sim and Gyoza haven't started laying yet. They're about 16 or 17 weeks old now so may start laying shortly.  Hoi Sin and Terriyaki are also not laying yet, but I still don't know at what age Indian Runner ducks usually start.  I'll let you know when they do.

Here's the planting plan as it stands at the moment:

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