Still Waiting For Summer….

Well, it’s now the end of August and it has been the coldest summer in 18 years apparently! I don’t disagree with this at all, as when we are planning a walk or a trip to the allotment the decision is whether to wear a jumper or fleece, not suncream! I’m hoping for an Indian summer like the one we had in 2009. It was the end of September of that year that we got the allotment and everyone said it was the best time to start as the winter is best for digging over. We had so much clearing to do, planning where our plots would go etc that we were prepared to go down in woolly hats and scarves to crack on with it but it turned out that October was hot and sunny and we did most of the digging in t-shirts! Fingers crossed we get it again this year as we are going to dig over every plot and manure them. The top two plots aren’t too bad but the bottom one has been really disappointing and we can only put this down to the fact it wasn’t fed last year. We dug our early potatoes up a while ago but have just started digging the main crop and it is a great crop. It was a bit like christmas though as all the labels we had written to remind us of the varieties had been washed off so we had no idea what we were going to be digging. Fortunately we had some of the packets they had come in and, through deduction, worked out that the first rows were Pentland Javelin and Cara. My enthusiasm at the beginning of the year to write down every detail of seeds planted etc seems to have vanished around April and so I didnt even have it written down. Next year there will be weatherproof labels and a proper list and plan so we dont have this next year (famous last words!) We know that the last few rows are Pink Fir, International Kidney and Roosters. These were our experimental rows and we have already dug up one plant of Pink Fir but they were a bit small althought there was enough for the two of us and they were delicious as was the one International Kidney plant we dug. By the time we have dug them there will be enough to keep us going through till next spring. The onions have now been dug up and most of them have now dried, and a bumper crop it was too.

The sweetcorn are nearly ready to pick now, Scary Mandy seems to have done her job. We know one plot that had a few taken by badgers but so far ours are fine. We did pick one to see if it was ready and it looks like it needs another week but I cooked it up and it was delicious. The french beans have been fantastic, I have picked, blanched and frozen loads and I’m so pleased that we decided on them over runner beans this year. On the whole things have been good but not as good as previous years but this could be down to a number of things, bad weather, bad soil, using last year seeds etc. but we have plans to make next year better. I did sow seeds called Autumn Squash and assumed they would be similar to Butternut. Only one plant survived the weather but grew well and soon filled out and flowered. I was delighted when mini green squash appeared but when Ian went down to water he found two that had got to a good size and picked them before they rotted. The only thing was they were still green so we left them in the conservatory to ripen but they stayed the same colour. One of them started rotting underneath so I cooked the other and, although it had had a green skin it tasted how it was meant to. However, when we went down Monday there was another one that had grown massive! Still green though but we picked it anyway and when we got home Ian weighed it and it was 8.5 pounds! Thats bigger than any of my children were when they were born! Still not sure why its green, could just be the lack of sun but they taste how they are meant to which is good enough.

 

I know it looks like a marrow but its definitely a squash!

Our holiday in Graffham was well needed and a lovely break. The weather wasn’t great but the scenery of the South Downs made up for it. We had a few lovely walks and did some geocaches as well. We had a day in Chichester and visited the cathedral and gardens there and wandered aroung the town. A place we will certainly go back to.

At the top of Duncton Hill

The Serpents Way.

Chichester Cathedral Town Centre

Craft-wise I have been buying more cross-stitch than actually sewing. A charity shop we visited had a Lilliput Lane kit and 3 small vegetable kits that I couldnt leave behind! I have been sorting out my cardmaking bits too as I am swapping rooms with Emily to have the smaller room. It was a job that needed doing and hopefully when we have it all sorted I can get my cardmaking mojo back! I also want the sewing machine set up as I have been using it a fair bit lately and really need to make more use of it. I have a few simple patterns and some fabric to have a go with and am looking forward to having a go. Ian has been working on his leather and has posted a ‘how to’ on the leather wallet he has made. The next few days will be spent digging up more spuds and hopefully having a bit of sewing time too.

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