Allotment, Grow Your Own, Harvests

GYO – Harvest – 19th Aug 2018

After starting off the day escorting the older children to school I found myself heading up the hill to the allotment. I have not been for over a week as we have been addressing the maintenance requirements of our new car, as waddling is the new walk it took a little longer than usual.

The sun however was warm and after twenty minutes I arrived at the gates, I always wonder what I will be greeted with as I wandered up to our plot. I had a clear idea that it would be a little dishevelled as the rain has encouraged the grass to recover and grow. I was right it was beginning to overgrow but it will have to wait until we can collect the strimmer.

Our space was however intact, the corn cobs were filling out nicely but are still requiring to colour before I can harvest, it looks like I will get around forty cobs which is a vast improvement on the ten we managed last year! It is something that is definitely worth the wait and I am eagerly awaiting trying our first homegrown cobs.

My pumpkins which I set on mats on my last visit were growing nicely and my largest specimen must be the size of a basketball. I have three plants which are just setting fruit which I have an idea will be unsuccessful this year, however I intend to double fleece a cloche over them to try and overwinter them. If possible next season I will have two Atlantic giants that will come out of dormancy in spring.

The courgettes were still suffocating so after a little persuasion and seeing there were four decent plants, I moved them over into the new raised bed. After a little water they should settle in nicely and hopefully the compost will improve any fruit that they set. If I had not moved them they would probably have begun to rot off, so stripping the dead leaves and replanting seemed the best option.

The first sowing of beans have filled out nicely, now stretching across both canes they are producing a lot more pods. The largest ones I have set aside for seed and left the newly set pods to mature, which should be ready to harvest next week. The nasturtiums and calendula have set new flowers, harvesting the best I placed them to one side so I could focus on my sunflowers.

The Giants were finally ready to be removed, choosing the largest Russian Giant which has yellow petals and a dark centre I chose one the birds had chosen to taste. Using a saw, I topped it just at the neck of the flower. Its diameter was a fabulous 29cm, a personal best for our family and something we will continue to grow for their spectacular show. The second was a Golden Giant, the centre of which was a golden yellow. Topping it again I placed it out across the bench, both heads I will use to save seed and I am eager to extract and package them to see how many they hold.

My new bean plants are establishing well and in the covered bed on the opposite side of the arch my late sowings of cabbage, which seem to hold some early sprouting Broccoli are growing on strong. It really is just nice to have crops over wintering, spring will hold some pleasant surprises irrelevant of what has germinated.

The tomatoes are finally filling out thanks to the change in temperature, the added moisture has seen an increase in foliage on all of the plants. The Peppers are just beginning to fill out, I will probably only get a few green offerings but that will be another personal best for 2018.

It was just beginning to show the first signs of the storm as I set off back, weighed down with my harvest in hand it was hard work, however I was happy to return to my beautiful daughter and a wonderful greeting!

Happy Horticulture!



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