Late September Plot.

When I started this blog I was determined to celebrate all of the glories and idiosyncrasies of allotment life, successes, failures, the what-might-have-beens and the thoughts that flutter around like late-autumn butterflies, never to be grasped again.

So happy to have made it at least part of the way, but seemed to have failed since summer to record the marvellous harvest coming in. Onions, peas (our best ever harvest – random, thick sowing direct into trenches – runner beans, sweet corn, potatoes, beetroot (including brilliantly coloured orange ones!), raspberries, blackberries … I hesitate to type you name it, but, er that’s pretty much what needs to be nailed down here. Sorry dear reader.

So we are here today, nearly the final day of September in blazing warm low sunshine. Does this kind of weather count as an Indian summer if it is September? Ore does it need to be October? Not much rain  recently, so the pumpkin plants have gone over. Enough small pumpkins to stack a Thanksgiving shop … but the courgette/marrows are still going on and on and on and …

The apples look gorgeous and taste better still. Rustic and rough skinned but so juicy and crisp. I need to find out the niceties of pruning these and the pears we have. Can anybody out there help?

And, started on the autumn digging. Actually before we went away to the States (Heritage of America tour: New York to Washington via historical sites. Booked through Thomas Cook, but actually run, in the Stated by Colette Marvellous company and itinerary.)

But yesterday the serious work began. So far I like to do it all by hand: it’s a fitness thing and a pride thing I suppose. But also I find it therapeutic and uplifting – even if the back aches, just a little, is all I’m saying, Ok? – to do. Especially in the sunshine. The day after my football team won convincingly.

But I made a mistake. I have always worked down-hill. Until this year! Seemed logical – and pleasingly rebellious – to do the opposite this year. The trench – this is double digging folks – was at the downhill side, so there is a logical place to start. Just clear the weeds (hmmm, some bindweed in there against the blackcurrant cage) then turn the next row into the trench. Most of the patch is now completed, but it is definitely harder working backwards up hill. More bending, further down to reach. Not sure of the physics, but I know what my body is telling me.

While we were away we asked a couple of plot neighbours to keep an eye on things – and help themselves to whatever ripened while we were away. Thank goodness they did! Some gorgeous high-rise toadstools (may be edible I am not sure) are rocketing out of the wood chip I scrounged a while back* and pot marigolds are blooming like miniature suns in places they have randomly occupied. In another plot dozens of self-sown borage plants with big cow-ear hairy leaves are trying to establish themselves while their parent generation’s petrol blue flowered survivors are covered with bees: bumble and honey.

But since we have been back and I have noticed this while digging somebody has been and popped potatoes into the ground while we weren’t looking. What kind of vandal would do a thing like that?

I only noticed it because the ground I am turning over is where the potatoes were planted this year and I am one hundred per cent certain I cleared every tuber out. Absolutely phone-a-friend certain!

So how come I’m finding two meals worth of spuds now as I’m digging the ground again?

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