The allotment has been a mixed bag this season with the dry weather and sometimes strong, drying winds making growing conditions difficult but the courgettes have done very well and we have a bumper crop for courgette and walnut chutney. The first batch is on the stove as I write this and there should be several more to follow!
Runner beans too are looking good and we have just started to eat them. I am always late planting mine out, but don’t mind as they follow the peas and broad beans. They are full of scarlet flowers and seem to be standing up to the windy weather so there should be plenty for eating and for runner bean pickle, is which is delicious with cheese!
One of the jobs that I must do over the Bank Holiday weekend is lift the onions. The tops of most of the plants have bent over naturally and I have ‘eased’ the roots to encourage the bulbs to start drying off. Once I have lifted them, I will bring them back to the house and dry them in the garage if it is wet or outside during the day on metal trays.
The garden has grown a lot this summer and there is plenty of pruning to do! We have completely removed a Cotoneaster tree and a winter flowering Honeysuckle (which had grown far too large) and now have a good sized area to plant up near one of the sun decks. It is a sunny spot and we have decided to put in a couple of raised beds to grow salads and other vegetables that can be cut and used in the kitchen immediately, without the need to go to the allotment! I would also like to grow more Sweet Peas next year and some new varieties of Dahlias for cutting.
This weekend seems like a good time to start this project by building the raised beds out of timber. I will start by staining the wood and chipping out the soil so that the lengths are slightly buried. Wooden pegs will hold the timber in place and the soil level can be raised with bags of stable manure and top soil from Notcutts. Before the soil mixture is added, I will need to dig over the base to ensure good drainage. Nothing will be planted here until next spring, so I will also add a top layer of rotted garden compost that can be worked on by the worms over the winter. Next spring should just be a case of raking the soil and sowing some seeds once the weather is warm enough. I have some cloches on the allotment which rarely get used, so they can come back to warm the soil for earlier sowings and to protect Dahlia tubers if they are left in the ground over winter.
As well as continuing with harvesting from the allotment and weeding and pruning in the garden, I hope to get a few hours in the sun watching the butterflies on the Buddleja and planning where the first of the spring bulbs will be planted.
Whatever you are up to this weekend, enjoy your garden!