A couple of weeks ago any surplus fruit and vegetables from the allotment plot found a good home at our City Road Allotments open day. We had a fantastic day, people turned up in droves and most of us had a complete sell out with visitors having a great time exploring our plots, along with plenty of activities to amuse the kids.
Weather, as forecast, was warm and sunny up till just after 3pm. Just perfect, but then as we started to break down canopies and clear away the tables the heavens opened up and a thunderstorm arrived to add a bit of drama and excitement.
However a lot of crops held back by the wet weather, which had continued from the beginning of June, are now maturing and harvesting is in full swing. These are very healthy times since we grow a wide variety of crops and a target of five a day is easily surpassed. Try 10 or more a day and, if salads are followed by a fruit dessert on the menu, the number increases dramatically.
Early potatoes Casa Blanca are now all lifted and we are starting on second early Lady Christl. Another row of Sarpo Mira is showing signs of blight, though it has some resistance, but after nearly three months of very wet weather it has been put to the test. A row of Amour is still looking very healthy so no need to lift these just yet.
Onions have been totally cleared and dumped as white rot wiped them all out. I have always had great success with onions, but this year I thought I would try a different kind so bought in a packet of Sweet Spanish. Big mistake. It does not like our wet weather. Looking around other City Road plots most other onion crops are just fine, so I am putting this down to bad choice of variety – it looks like it is back to the supermarket for our onions till next year.
Pea Kelvedon Wonder, which I have been growing for about 40 years, grew five feet tall and had very small pods. I question my seed supplier. That did not look like any Kelvedon Wonder I have grown before. However Hurst Green Shaft is now giving us huge crops and filling up the freezer.
Broad beans have not cropped as heavy as last year so maybe they are another one to prefer drier conditions, but there was still plenty for the freezer.
Beetroot thinnings, taken as baby beet, have been plentiful, and salads have just loved this weather.
A new turnip, Falco, has been brilliant with good size and texture and quite sweet. I will definitely grow it again next year.
A great year for courgettes and my pumpkins have gone wild with growth invading my rose and flower border, but at what point do you stop it as this is a growth year.
Cauliflower Clapton has been very successful and curds are maturing over a few weeks, although it has been a battle with slugs, snails and caterpillars.
Over in the fruit garden the strawberries are all done, but raspberry Glen Fyne is still cropping and my autumn varieties, Autumn Bliss and Polka, have just started with crop potential very high.
Bramble Helen arrived at the beginning of August with large very sweet fruit, but my new Reuben continues to disappoint. It is fruiting this year but the brambles are small and sour, so after cropping it will get dug out. Do not believe everything you read in catalogues.
Fig Brown Turkey started to ripen early August and looks like this outdoor exotic will continue to excel as the small tree is just laden with fruit ready to ripen for the next couple of months.
Tomatoes were ready at the end of July with all three varieties packed with crop. Alicante is still a winner as my main crop, while Sweet Aperitif my best red cherry type and Sungold a very sweet yellow cherry tomato. Spare cherry tomatoes planted outdoors came into crop at the same time.
Grape Seigerrebe in the greenhouse ripened up early August so picking has begun and so far there are no signs of wasps attacking the sweet ripe fruit.
Wee jobs to do this week
Prune blackcurrants and gooseberries after cropping and give peaches apples, plums and pears some summer pruning to encourage fruit bud production for the next year’s crops.