Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Autumn Harvest

Where has the Summer gone? I find it hard to believe that it is October already! There is still plenty of excitement on my patch. A few years ago I planted a potfull of Garlic Chives that came free with a magazine. They come up with a spectacular display of white flowers and seed head this time of year, and do not disappoint with a tasty salad ingredient either!
Just last week I found these Hops growing in a hedgerow, so I picked some and dried them. Apparently dried hops are known for making you feel sleepy, so I am going to mix them with some dried lavender and make a 'hop pillow'. Supposed to aid restful sleep! - I'll let you know.
I found this little novelty in a garden centre today. Sold as 'Christmas Potatoes' it appears to be a shoot in a pot!! If the seed potato has been prepared properly (and it looks like just one eye shoot rather than a whole potato) there is a slight possibility that I might be digging my own potatoes on Christmas Day. I'll pot it up in the greenhouse and keep my fingers crossed, but I won't hold my breath!
Speaking of Christmas Dinners - they say a watched pot never boils, but my brussels sprouts Bosworth are coming along a treat. Getting bigger each day.
These Sungold tomatoes are slow to ripen now, there has been a distinct lack of sunlight over the past couple of weeks, so I might feel the need to make some green tomato chutney before long!
Ditto with these Chocolate Cherry tomatoes. I just love this variety, such a great taste!
I'm just about ready to harvest these Delicata squash. One of my favourite squashes, this is also known as a sweet potato squash because of its sweet taste and dense texture. Doesn't do terribly well here in the UK, I was kindly sent the seed from Petunia's Gardener in Seattle. I just think it needs a longer, brighter Summer than we get here. Nevertheless, I wouldn't give this one a miss, it is well worth it.
Still just a few courgettes growing at the moment. This is my brilliant climbing courgette Black Forest. Definitely slowing down now, but perhaps we might have a couple of warm, sunny days soon....perhaps?
And these strawberries are a mystery! I thought that getting a few flowers a few weeks ago was just a response to a warm, sunny day. But look here! I'm pretty sure that I don't have any Autumn varieties planted... but on the other hand... Again, we need just a couple of late, warm sunny days to see if they will ripen. I'll label this plant for next year and see what happens in Spring.
And while I'm on the subject of Autumn Harvest, I've been invited by the RHS to attend the RHS London Autumn Harvest Show on 5th October. I'll report back to you on the highlight of the veggie gardener's year!
And finally.. I've never been good at finding both gardening gloves in the same place at once (or so I thought) one would mysteriously disappear, or I would find it half buried in the garden somewhere. Until today. I most definitely put both of them in the greenhouse last night, and came back home today at 5pm to find this one half way down the garden, in the rain... with a finger nibbled off!! I blame foxes! any other suggestions?


At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Carole said...

Mice or rats!!!!!

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

Yup, That's the fox. Always curious.

I'm mystified about the
Sungold as (even here in Edinburgh) they were the first to ripen for me. I'm going to follow your seed saving advice and grow them again next year. (Ailsa Craig and Moneymaker both failed to develop a flavour anywhere near as good. Gardeners Delight gave a poor yield and then were raided by the slugs, I guess that's a vote of some sort)

I'd be interested to know if there's a better tasting Tom than Sungold.

At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Sue said...

Our strawberry patch of Cambridge Favourite, producing its main harvest in June, regularly has a small crop around now up at the allotment. These often fall foul to slugs due to damp weather, or bird pecks, the netting long removed. However, there is often a tasty gem to add to the autumn raspberries, particularly from the older end of the patch that I haven't got round to trimming and thinning yet!

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Jo said...

I'm growing potatoes in containers for Christmas. I did it last year too and got a respectable harvest so fingers crossed again for this year.

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous easygardener said...

Even my greenhouse tomatoes have been slow to ripen this year. My fault for getting them started a bit later than usual I expect. The allotment is looking very damp at the moment. Most of my gardening gloves look like that without the help of a fox!

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Simon said...

If your gloves were in the greenhouse and the door was closed then it most likely isn't foxes but more probably mice.

And I am very envious of you getting tomatoes at all this year as niether my Ailsa Craig or Gardeners Delight produce a single fruit from 6 plants (3 of each).

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Simon - door of the greenhouse was open, and the glove was carried 30 yards away on the lawn! Even London mice aren't that strong!

At 6:34 PM, Blogger Green Lane Allotments said...

I'm envious - no sprouts for us again this year - the plants are rubbish.

My gloves always end up with a hole in the finger ends too!

At 2:19 PM, Blogger RobD said...

I don't get the idea of growing new potatoes for Christmas. By that stage of the year I want roast potatoes - and to be honest I'll probably still have some Pink Firs left anyway ;>)

I'm a bit concerned my sprouts are doing so well so early too - I want them for Christmas, not before!


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