The sky is blue. THE SKY IS BLUE. For the past couple of weeks trips to the allotment have been for a couple of hours, in drizzle, to collect produce or do urgent jobs. The highlight was thinning the leeks in the rain last week.
Yesterday it was almost dry so I took advantage and finally lifted my King Teddies. I've lost some to wireworm and I had a couple of plants which had god knows what and produced small, knobbly, completely red potatoes (which I binned) but in the main the crop is good. They are drying in the shed now and I'll bag them later. We've done well in tatties this year, wll, we've done well in everything, really.
The tomatoes are bad again, it's a virus I think and while they've set some fruit it's been a long time ripening. The cucumbers have once again thrived under Dad's watchful eye and I've a few peppers forming although I'm not convinced I'll get any aubergines. The grapes look like they might actually fruit this year as we've not had a dry spell and their doesn't seem to be any mildew in the greenhouse. I'm not sure what is happening with the melons - I think I've not looked after them properly so today I might do some trimming.
The late strawberries are just coming out now. This is a really good idea except for the woodlice. I really can't believe that I've lost most of my strawberry crop to woodlice. I think it's because Dad used rotting wood to make the bed and it meant that they could colonise the sides and take a short stroll to my strawbs. The wet weather hasn't helped.
Blackberry bushes died in a series of tragic accidents and this needs to be sorted out. The raspberries are away, happily putting up shoots for next year, both the summer and autumn fruiting varieties. The pear and plum tree look alright but I think the cherry might be dead, I'm not sure why. At the moment it's a glamorous stick in the ground. Over at the apple trees we've good fruiting again although I suspect we are going to start getting wasp attackes. I might pull some fruit today if I can fight my way through as...
Dad has loads of compost and wood stored on the allotment and it's really annoying. I can't move round the plot properly, I can't get to the apple trees to feed the birds, I can't wheel my barrow from one end to the other. I think we will be having words at some point. He wants a storage point so we need to sort that out. Perhaps put some paving stones down at one end or something. I do want my little patio back.
On the veg front everything has gone right this year. I've had my first ever successful pea crop, the mangetout have come on and on, salad veg have done well, herbs have grown, beans are everywhere. We've enjoyed some mini-cauli although my cabbage aren't doing particularly well. I netted everything apart from a couple of sprouting broccoli plants and I noticed them getting comprehensively munched by cabbage white caterpillars yesterday. I'm starting to think about preserving some beetroot for winter and perhaps putting some broad beans into the freezer. Annoyingly I realised today I forgot to sow my perpetual spinach earlier in the year but luckily I can sow some now for the winter. It's a top veg.
So yes, a good year for growers last year and a relief after the struggles of last year. I've only bought fruit and the occasional bit of non-seasonal veg for the past few months and I reckon I've saved about five quid a week... there's a chance the potatoes might last me all the way through this year!