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Or the one with lots of pictures.

After that short break to allow things to grow and things to change, it’s welcome back to the allotment. We’ve had a fair bit of rain up here in Yorkshire and some lovely sunny weather too over the past few weeks, and that has meant that the weeds have happily grown, but I’ve been lucky enough to keep on top of them when it was possible. The grass has gone mad as well. That’s been harder to control.

So what has changed in the last few weeks. Apart from the weeds and the grass that is.

I’ve done a lot of harvesting, mainly of sweetcorn, beans and peas. I’ve used a lot of potatoes and made a fair amount of potato salad. The courgettes have been going mad and producing lots and lots of them. I think we have had courgette for every meal in the last 3 or 4 weeks. They’ve been in curry, stir fry, stuffed, pasta, fried, baked, sliced, souped and barbecued (when possible). I haven’t yet started seeing them in my sleep or having them for breakfast but it can only be a matter of time. We’ve given them away and forced them on people as well.

Well my Carlingford Late potatoes arrived and they have been planted. I have put 2 in tubs and the rest in the ground. They are just starting to sprout. I have used all the new potatoes up. The seconds have all been dug up and dried because the foliage was dying back, and I cut off the foliage of the main crop as they were getting thin too. Then this weekend I dug them up. They are sat in the garage drying. I found that the King Edwards didn’t crop as heavily as the Maris Piper which I found odd. Also the Maris piper were easier to get up as they stayed on the plant whereas the King Edwards fell off the plant more easily. However, the Maris Piper were starting to get blighted, which is a shame and the first time I’ve ever had blight on the plot, I probably lost 5% of the potatoes to blight. Still better late digging them up than never. And talking to a few of the fellow allotment holders quite a few of them have suffered this year.

The winter turnips that I planted have come up, they’ve been thinned out and are coming along nicely. The first lot of turnips have all been used up.

Late crop spinach? They have started to come up too. Not all of them, but any is better than none.

The carrots are coming along nicely and they are being pulled regularly so we have a good supply of nice orange roots. They seem to have been very slow in growing this year. I know I did have a lot of problems with carrot root fly and replanted virtually all of it in May/June but they still look very small at the moment.

The late planting of broad beans have all flowered and are now busy growing pods. It looks odd with this happening in August, but that’s because I associate them with June.

The late crop French beans have either been devastated by slugs or attacked by disease, and this left three plants so I have had them up. The late crop peas haven’t started to come up yet. I do have concerns that they are going to crop at all because they are late, but it is only mid-August. I am not optimistic.

I am now happily harvesting the runner beans and the second lot of peas. I pick what I can when I am there and freeze whatever we don’t use. I think next year I need to space my runner beans out a bit more. Or get some bigger poles…

The calabrese and cauliflower was over far too quickly. I didn’t have large heads from them, but each was enough for more than one meal. The greyhound cabbage is very good, the summer cabbage is going well too. So far we haven’t really touched the red cabbage and only harvested small portions of the kale.

The mange tout second crop came as promised, but for some reason the pods it did produce seemed thicker with the second crop and didn’t eat well. So I’d either rip out and risk a re-sow if you haven’t staggered your crop, or not worry as it is such a heavy cropper that I have managed to freeze a lot of mange tout. So my mange tout is up.

The swede is growing well.

The beetroot are being used slowly and despite mrs MKs protestation I have pickled some of them, put some in cakes, gone for the soup option, roasted a fair few and even had some cooked at dinner. I have a feeling that beetroot is going to be the new courgette.

The leeks are doing really well. Is there any difference between the ones I put in the paper holes and the normally planted ones? Not that I can see. I do have a minor case of some rust on the leaves of the leeks but I’m not worried.

The onions are looking okay. I have a small amount that have not come to anything much but that’s life. I’ll expect to have them up and drying in the garage at home in a few weeks time. The garlic is all up and dried (apart from 2 bulbs which I have left in to over winter for next years use. Speaking of onions, has anyone else heard the theory that the colder the climate of growth the stronger the onion? Thank heavens they don’t grow onions in Iceland or we’d all be in tears!

The Spring onions have been really good. They aren’t as strong as they could be, but that may be variety. I will definitely grow a lot more of these next year, and probably grow them around the carrots.

The sweetcorn is now being harvested. I’ve had quite a few ears of corn so far but it does look like being a bumper crop of corn this year! The late crop of corn that went in has not flowered yet, but there is still time. They are a decent height and starting to put out the seed heads.

The pumpkins are coming along nicely. At the moment I still only have 3 of various sizes but as they are just destined for Hallowe’en there isn’t much of a problem. I was concerned that one of them was only putting out male flowers but this has been rectified.

This year my squash have been nice and healthy and grown well, and for quite a while they had me worried as they hadn’t put any fruit on, but recently I have seen 5 or 6 small butternut squash forming. Last year it was too cool and they didn’t ripen really. There are still lots of little flowers that haven’t yet opened, so I remain hopeful of either more squash or them ripening correctly.

The courgettes are in their second flush at the moment. I can’t see them carrying on much longer, but they have produced an awful lot of courgettes so far this year. I may just leave them and see how many marrows I get for the winter. At the moment my 4 plants have produced over 90 courgettes between them. I’m leaving a few to become marrows and they are big enough to turn into jack-o’lanterns at Hallowe’en, and have the added advantage of being green!

In the greenhouse I have had a good half dozen cucumbers and the tomatoes are cropping nicely. The chillis are prolific and are in the process of turning red, there are few that have changed, so that is quite a success.

The apples are a lovely size and if I can keep the damn wasps off them they should be good. The raspberries have started again and are producing large berries, and believe it or not, the strawberries have started to flower for the second time this year.

I was shocked at the weekend when I sat down at the allotment to have a breather while doing my marathon pea and bean picking session, to find that the allotment was a sea of butterflies, I counted 35 white butterflies flitting over my plot and the 2 plots closest to me. Okay they are probably cabbage whites and about to devastate all the brassicas on the plot but it did look good in the August sunshine. I also saw something I had never seen before. I noticed a cabbage white flying really erratically and while watching I it could catch glimpses of yellow stripes, and I realised it was being attacked by a wasp! The attack went on for about 15 seconds, in the air and on the ground before the butterfly managed to escape. It was still something I had never seen before and quite surprising.

Also while I was weeding in the sweetcorn I saw a caterpillar and moved it to safety. I’d never seen one as big as this before. So I took a photo just so I could remember it, and a bit later found out it was an elephant hawk moth caterpillar! I put it back where it came from, but it was astonishing at the time. It’s on the blade of a hoe, so it’s about 3 inches long…

The wasps are eating the windfalls and having a go at some of the apples on the trees, so I may have to get some of them off the tree.

And the bees are going made for my marigolds as well. There were a good half dozen buzzing around the marigolds and the pumpkins. This is my “countryfile calendar” photo that I may well send in to their competition…

I know it’s just mid August but the cooler mornings are a bit more noticeable and we’ve had our first foggy mornings up here in Yorkshire so that generally means that Autumn is galloping towards us. I tend to take my cue from the blackberries, and I have only seen a few out so far. So I shall hope it’s just been a cool snap and hold out for an Indian Summer of epic proportions and an extended cropping season for my legumes. It’s good to be back gardening. It may be only for a short while as we are off camping in Scotland for a week soon. We are taking mrs MK’s niece and nephew sailing, as well as other things.

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Wow! that is a monster caterpillar.

18 Aug, 2009


Smashing blog....that caterpillar is something else!!
Enjoyed reading about your season at the lotte...

19 Aug, 2009


Very nice and interesting blog, MK. You have a great crop of veggies off your plot. Isn't it a pity that everything seems to crop at once.
Hope you enjoy your trip up to Scotland.

19 Aug, 2009


Brillient blog MK, I have a spare freezer if you need it. Lol
As you know my veggies let me down big style this year or did I let them down? Who knows, anyway congrats on a bumper crop and I'm not jealious at all Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. :~)))

19 Aug, 2009


Wonderful blog Mk...blimey do you eat all that veg??!! You are a champ veg grower!
The caterpillar is amazing...huge! Great photos of the willife.

19 Aug, 2009


Great vag I have noticed before that up north the veg looks great.

13 Sep, 2009

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