For someone who likes to grow vegetables and work on the garden and allotment, my blog has been severely lacking in posts hasn't it?
This year has been a challenge keeping on top of everything for us, with other commitments taking up our time that would normally be spent at the allotment. Coupled with the weather - late Spring, cold Spring then sudden hot and dry late Spring and Summer; the plants and us have just struggled to keep ahead.
There have been successes. Our Broad Beans and Garlic planted in Autumn last year did very well and large harvests nourished us and replenished our stocks of stored food at home. We continued to pick much Chard, Cavalo Nero and Kale (all from last year that overwintered well). until the hot days meant they bolted and were replaced with newly sown plants this year.
Our numerous tomato plants did well, providing many tomatoes and now the green ones that won't ripen now will be used to make chutney. We've had salad and herb leaves aplenty. Beetroot have again performed well, still many in the ground to pick. Our fruit trees and plants haven't disappointed either, even the one in the garden survived the Squirrels this year - far too many for them to nick all of them.
Disappointingly our runner beans got hit early with blackfly and the heat/lack of rainfall (as last year) and took a long tome to recover. We have had some good pickings in the last month or so, especially the delicious Borlotti beans. We've picked pumpkins and still have some to cut from the plants, but I won't mention the lack of courgettes!
So onto the planning for next year. Alex has changed jobs and doesn't work the long hours he used to, plus he works close to home - he can now walk to work - so hopes to have more free time to spend at the allotment. He's put in some hours recently to get it into shape, creating more bed space, and recycling/composting/burning unwanted stuff. With Imogen at school I may get time to spend up there a little more until I return to the workplace part-time in the future. Imogen loves to go to the allotment and help, but sometimes last year she was either unwell or the weather was too wet/damp or too hot (talk about extremes) for her to be out there helping.
We have a lot of seed still of the things we want to grow, some bought, some saved; we will need to remedy some beds that need some more support and organic matter, green manure seed is scattered and well-rotted manure will be spread.
It's a great time of year to reflect on your veg growing, and start planning, and planting for the months ahead. Broad Beans are in, Peas and Garlic are going in soon. Cavalo Nero and Kale are in and doing well, so should keep us in good supply for the Winter and Spring months.