I got down to the plot every day over last weekend but not had time to post on the blog.
The first day, Friday, I set about lifting the rest of my onions and shallots. That was after dumping bags of garden waste from my neighbours in the left hand bin as there was no room in the correct (right hand) bin.
A row of shallots, Jermor, were not quite as large as those on the eastern side of the path. They were bought from Stewart's at great cost when I thought there would not be any from the Trading Hut. Even worse were those saved from last year but they had suffered from being buried when my caretaker dug out the garlic in the next row. Unfortunately a small patch had rotted completely which means I might have problems in 5 years time when the onions are planted in this patch again. Onion rot can stay in the soil for 10 years or more!
Some of the shallots may be good enough for the show so I will spend some time during the week checking them over. I grow to eat, not to show but occasionally a crop is good enough to show.
Having lifted the shallots I turned my attention to the patch on the other side of the plot where I had cleared the onions earlier. I cleared it of the remaining weeds with the hoe, digging out one dandelion with the fork. Then using my cultivator I prepared a sowing strip for a row of early carrots, Karnavit (from Lidl). Hopefully this early variety will produce a crop before the cold weather. The seed was old so I showed thickly. If they all come up I shall have some thinning to do.
Next to them I sowed a row of spinach (F1 Reddy - Suttons).
On Saturday I persuaded my wife to join me in a major harvesting session as I find it difficult to get any work done when there's harvesting to be done. Between us we collected a big bag of runner beans - as expected. However my wife checked out the climbing French beans and found quite a few pickings. She was confused to find some flat beans and some stick beans. Checking the labels on the row reminded me that I had sown half a row of 'Hunter' flat beans and half a row of 'Cobra' stick beans. Both tasted great cooked with meals at home as did the large crop of mangetout she picked from the row beside the beans. There was also a large crop of dwarf French beans. The 'Tendergreen' variety is fairly untidy but producing well. The 'Safari' beans are only just starting to crop but are easier to collect as the plants are very compact. 'Safari' is a very tasty bean so I will probably concentrate on that next year.
Meanwhile I finished tying up the autumn raspberries and the picked a good bowlful of berries. Then I dug up one plant from the row of Maris Piper potatoes getting quite a good crop. We also found a few courgettes to take home.
In the brassicas tunnel I found a huge cauliflower, over a foot across. I cut it to take home to eat but may try saving it for the show. There were also a couple of cabbages that had started splitting so had to be lifted.
All in all it was a huge harvest we took home meaning lots of work preparing them!
On Sunday I came down to the Trading Hut to buy some bits and managed to get the last of the winter cauliflower plants along with a few Savoy, Black Kale and winter cabbage plants. They are a bit 'moth eaten' (caterpillars) having sat in the open frame for too long, but most have the growing tip so should survive with a little TLC.
After enjoying a mug of coffee and a slice of lovely fruit cake I returned to the plot and dug out the rest of the row of Maris Piper potatoes as I needed the space to sow some roots that will over-winter. Only a few of the seed potatoes had survived (I had started them off as early spuds in pots in the greenhouse - until I realised they were maincrop!) but the survivors had given a good crop.
Watering my newly sown seeds was unnecessary after the rain.
Monday I only had a short visit but managed to sow a row of Spinach Beet and a row of Mooli winter radish where the Maris Piper potatoes had been - after digging the strip over to smooth it out. I had to trim back the Sarpo Mira potatoes a bit as they had flopped over the seed bed.
I found a few more courgettes and another splitting cabbage.
I didn't get round to trimming back the squashes or clearing the old pea and bean plants. A busy week ahead with visitors means I probably will not do this until after the show. Hopefully I shall have time to harvest enough to see if anything is good enough to exhibit at the show on Saturday.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the show and hope the weather holds up!