Alone time

This weekend the man was off up north on an epic drinking session, the type that brings out the hidden alpha male in groups of friends and involves copious anounts of meat, man hugs and cuban cigars…. Me on the other hand? I had an extremely long to do list to get through so I planned to be at the plot for the long haul. I arrived at 11.45 and left at 19.10, tired, dirty, sunburnt but very pleased with myself. 

First task at the plot was to weed all the pesky bindweed out of the beds, paths and off the crops. Despite having carpet and then woodchip on the paths and doing regular bindweed burnings, it is still one of the strongest croppers around. One hour later, a whole bin liner of unwanted greenery went into the boot of the car. Its incredible how fast it grows! Sad moment was trying to get it out of my mangetout and ripping up their roots by mistake. After I got rid of the bind weed I made a go at ridding the beds of annual weeds. I just rip them up and drop them where they are and nature does the rest. 

The day started cloudy and a little breezy but it soon cleared up. It was most definately time for a rest. Cup of tea anyone? 

I am incredibly pleased with the pollinator bed. The plan was to have an area to take cuttings which was attractive to wildlife and had scent. The colours all go well together and the scent is divine. As you can see by the pics below, the insects seem to enjoy it as do I.

I have been waiting for my onions to hurry up and start flopping so that I could whip them out and get some of the brassicas that have been in pots for weeks into the ground. 2 beds were emptied (shallots and red onions) and one was left as the white onions were further behind. I’m pleased with the size of them. Should get plenty of meals out of these bad boys!

My family are pickled onion fans so the shallots will end up in jars, the red onions had somewhat bolted so may have to do a freezer bag of prepared veg to ensure there’s no wastage.

In the continuation of experimenting with a more square foot gardening / potager approach I mixed up roundhead lettuce ‘Meikoningin’ and ‘Kagraner Sommer 2’ , yellow dwarf french beans, Kale ‘Purple ruffles’ and sprouting brocolli.

This bed has climbing bean ‘Cobra’ , mangetout ‘Carouby de Masussane’ as well as cabbage ‘Red drumhead’ , Kale ‘Kavelo Nero’ and dwarf ‘curly’, cauliflower ‘Romanesco’ and what could be a purple sprouting (lost the label) 

In the background of this pic, kind of between the bean poles you will see my 3 figs from my rather sorry looking 2 year old fig tree. Its in a good sized pot but I planted scabious in with it and the flowers have pretty much conquered the tree. The scabious will have to be moved to a less fruity / important planting area for next year.  I am totally greedy for more figs! 
I have been hoping that my poorly raspberry bushes in the far corner of the plot would recover from whatever virus makes their leaves mottled / crinkled and the fruit crumbly and dry. But alas; it was not to be. So the canes are now drying and waiting to be burnt and the next plot visit I will dig out the roots. For now I have moved my rose pots to cover the area but I fancy some more blueberries or perhaps my baby gojii berry bushes can make use of the space. I have noticed there is much more light and a feeling of openess in the corner now so whatever goes in there has to be less imposing than the raspberries were.

I had been a bit remiss at sorting out my shade bed (runners with beetroots underplanted). I spent some time thinning out the seedlings and the end result was a bag of leaves for salads. I had 1 row of spinach that bolted so I replaced it with a row of lettuce. 

I had been reserving this bed due to my parsnip seeds which were finally ready for snipping and putting into a bag to finish drying. The green line is another row of carrots. I have had 2 years of no carrots but this year I have at least cracked the germination stage so I am very much hoping that I will have successional crops throughout winter. These ones were ‘Autumn King’. I have 4 rows already in other beds which are showing varying signs of life. I had realised the late germination this year was down to not enough water so I have been persisting with watering the rows each time I visit and it seems to be working. 

After 4 months of waiting my summer cabbages look like they’re almost ready for picking. These have been mixed in with the calendula which seems to have kept the cabbage whites away but not the molluscs. On the plus side my manure lady has chickens who will be very happy to chow down on the greenery and the slithery slimey ones. 

I noticed something curious whilst I was weeding one of the beds. The calendula has been covered with black fly for about 2 weeks and I have just left it rather than putting soap water on them because the ladybirds seemed to be abundant. However this visit there were no ladybirds but a number of wasps. I watched them for a while and the wasps seemed to be licking / sniffing the leaves. 

I looked it up when I got home and I had to conclude that the wasps seem to like the sugar that the blackfly produce. Has anyone else seen this before? 


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