Saturday, 5 October 2013

Allotment update (another year on the plot over) ...

Well it's October (where does the time go?) and I have to say it's been a good year for us, least we think it has, our little plot has been quite productive, so I guess ' you only get out what you're willing to put in' holds true.



Here's what the plot looked like at the end of the last update -


This was at the end of May.

As you can see not much is going on, things we planted had started to grow, but things were quite quiet.


This was taken a month later (the end of June) - 



Some growing appears to have taken place.

I sometimes wish veg plants would grow as fast as some of the weeds we get, but I guess it means the soil is good.

Some weeding needed doing, but a lot of the green stuff is actually veg of one kind or another, so after a few hours weeding we had everything ship shape again, and the next day I went back to plant some more stuff in the space we'd cleared.


More plants in - 


Looking a little more respectable now.


I planted corn and a variety of squash plants, pumpkins,winter squash and butternut squash which we'd started off in the greenhouse at home, and I did a bit more tidying, and that was it for June, although it's taken 3 years to get things to this state the work has been worth it as it only takes a short time now to weed the entire plot with a hoe.

On to July, which was quite busy, I would say I visited the plot more times over the course of the month than any other month this year, but most of that was watering and the odd bit of weeding, just to keep on top of things.


Plants are coming along nicely now, beans - 



The frame works well, and it's easy to move.

Spuds perhaps not doing as well as I'd hoped - 


The first spuds we planted.


More spuds - 


The second lot of spuds we planted.

Some of the rows of spuds did fail to grow, but we still got a good amount of spuds, mostly reds, which is odd as we planted mostly whites.



Carrots,parsnips and onions doing well - 



We'll be planting a lot more carrots next year.

Peas, again we'll be planting a lot more next year - 


The bird scarer did work well in the end.


The plot was looking good by the middle of July - 



Lots of lovely veg.


By the end of July things were doing really well, I had to make regular visits with the hose because of the weather being so warm, I always tend to do the watering in the evening in the summer, once the sun is off the plot, although some people say it's better to water in the morning.


 We have signs of squash - 


Patty Pans be growing here.

The corn was doing well, some even starting to show signs of cobs growing, the spuds despite the failures were also doing nicely, we had picked most of the peas and broad beans by the end of July, and very nice they were too, there are some beans left in the freezer for stews and such like in the winter, we'd also dug up the carrots and onions, again we've frozen the surplus for use later on in the year, freezing is a great way to make the veg you grow last, my wife makes purée from the pumpkin for use in soups and pumpkin pies during the winter, and pumpkins and squashes will keep for quite while in a cool dry place.

You can also leave squashes on a window sill to harden the skins up, this is what our kitchen window currently looks like, these are the ones we haven't eaten yet, I fear they are not long for this world.


Squash squad - 


I do like a nice squash.

And apart from watering and weeding that was about all for July, that and watching stuff grow and feeling very satisfied with all the hard work we'd put in, and if I'm honest this is the first year I've looked at the plot and thought you know what? the hard work, blisters, back aches, being bitten by bugs and stung by nettles was all worth it

The next time I visited the plot was in September so that I could do yet more weeding, and start to tidy things up a bit, I had to dig over the beds that had the spuds in and remove the dead pea and bean plants, I left the runner bean plants in because they were still producing beans, the squash patch was looking okay, the pumpkins aren't huge but they taste good.


This is how the plot looked at the end of September -


Bit messy but easy enough to fix.



Top half of the plot all tidy - 



Some stuff will stay in over winter, like the swedes.


Pumpkins and corn looking good - 


Perhaps a bit crowded to be honest.

And after a bit of work this is what I left behind - 


Note the flask, very important is tea (or coffee) when gardening.


And that brings me neatly to the last trip I made to the plot, which was today (October the 5th) not much had changed, few weeds growing, and there are still some squashes growing so I've left them in for now and I'll check on them next week, things like the swedes and turnips will stay in over winter and I also decided to experiment with planting some onions and shallots, all of which I got cheap from a diy shop, and I also had a few spinach and cabbage seedlings in the greenhouse so I figured I'd chuck them in as well, they might not do anything, but they wouldn't have in the greenhouse, least this way I might get a few spinach leaves and the odd cabbage.


This is what the plot looked like when I got there - 


Not much has changed.

The usual odd bit of weeding and then some planting and I was done - 


All done.

And that's that, apart from picking the last few squashes there's nothing else to do but wait for spring, next year almost all of the stuff we grow will be grown from our own saved seeds, things like beans, corn, squashes and peas amongst other things, this reduces the cost quite considerably.

Some might say that buying seeds will yield better results but that's not always been the case, for example this year we grew corn, half of which from a packet of shop bought seed and the other half from seed I saved from our last batch of corn, and they all grew, they all had good usable cobs, so we've noticed no difference at all, the same with our squashes.

And to that end I am currently working on a post about this years allotment escapades, I'm hoping to show that the cost of renting the plot and the cost of seeds is not that much compared to how much you can grow and ultimately how much money you can save if you think a little differently and put in that little bit of extra work.

I'll leave you with a collage of pictures, these were all taken this year, they are all of things we've grown entirely on the allotment and this only covers what we've harvested to date, there are still things to harvest, in the next post I'll include weights and prices, it might not be that much, but it's the most we've had in three years.


Our harvested veg so far this year - 


Loadsa veg !

 Thanks for reading.


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