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Daphne

So how is the season so far?

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Freezer is now full :anxious:

 

Any more surplus allotment veg will need to be eaten or given away :P

 

We have a bunch of merry people prepared to take the surplus off our hands :lol:

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Peach schnapps anyone? I love peach jam. I think make the most of what you can. Sounds fab.

 

Courgettes still doing nicely and steadily rather than being a glut. We have them raw in salads. Still French beans going and because they were late sowings the aphids haven't found them yet. Looking good - very deep purple flowers and almost purple/black pods. Still getting raspberries. Leeks are plumping up nicely too. Quite pleased with things this year.

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We have harvested a bumper potato crop thus year, mostly huge, it is just a shame that we didn't remember that there would only be three of us by the time we harvested them. I gave a bag away to a fellow allotmenteer who hadn't grown any.

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I harvested 15 winter squash (Hubbard, Uchiki Kuri, baby bear, etc.) They make gorgeous soup and lovely roasted veg.

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Squashes are a good sign of autumn aren't they? I have seen some giant ones growing in fields, but I haven't seen many in gardens or on menus here. I do like a roast squash, perhaps with a roast sweet potato and some roast pork or in a veggie curry or a risotto with some cheese and mushroom.

 

We are having a lot of rain at the moment, although I understand a lot of the UK is nice and dry :D The tomatoes are going over - the fruit is too heavy for the stems, so some is being wasted as they flop on the ground and rot. The produce I have harvested has either been eaten in a salad or been oven roasted, most of it just dressed with S&P, whizzed in a blender and frozen for pasta sauce or to go in a stew or curry, I like it best this way, the toms are so sweet. We've enjoyed a lot of sweet and quite succelent grapes as table fruit, although they are meant to be for wine so are a bit pippy. I think this is because of all the wet we've had in the winter and spring, the grapes are plumper than last year. We've made some peach wine - think very dry scrumpy :roll: Its not supposed to be like this, so we've done a 2nd fermentation and got all fingers crossed for an improvement :lol: The figs are still going strong, and I have seen the biggest figs in the world on a tree in the nearest village - unfortunately I've also seen the owner, so I haven't been able to do a taste test :lol: The olives are going to be a lot later than last year - I think its the wet and the relatively few days we've had of absolute scorching temperatures which has held them back.

 

Last week I was reduced to amazement. We were at a large market about 2 hrs from here. Lots of private vehicles parked up, selling something out of the back. All very mysterious. Turned out to be cabbage plants. One man had 20 different varieties for sale :shock::lol::lol: And there's me thinking a cabbage is a cabbage!

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Hubby made soup today with our spuds, tomatoes, onions, beans and courgettes - and home made chicken stock (but not from our chickens!). Really tasty - would have been nice with some parmesan on the top but we scoffed most of it before the idea came up! Or cream in it! Didn't have cream though. Still getting some raspberries and there are still loads of blueberries that have been ongoing for quite some time. On the late varieties now.

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Yesterday afternoon we had an unexpected visit from a neighbour asking if he could have our grapes :shock: He was making wine before yet more rain came to spoil the harvest, but he didn't have enough of his own fruit to fill the vat. So we started picking in sunshine, which quickly turned into pelting rain and thunder and lightning which lasted for hours :shock: We picked, I'm guessing, enough fruit to fill about 2 dozen 10 litre pails, thats from about 10 vines, which is a small number for round here, some people have 200 :shock: . Then it was tipped into a machine which separated the fruit from the stalks - very clever 8) Then the fruit fell into the wine making 'vat' and it will be left there for 10 days with a bit of stirring to mix the flesh/skins/pips about - nothing else is added or done to it. The vat holds 400 litres. Its then siphoned off into barrels, and tasted on a special day in March. I'm not sure when its bottled (actually round here it goes into 5 litre reusable containers). When served, its in a tiny glass. "Ooops, word censored!"ody bothers checking the alcohol levels :shock:

 

So, my first vendage :D I was checking the olives yesterday and I think they are of lesser quality than last year, more of them are misshapen, which is either the wet of some sort of olive pest. Apart from the figs, the fruit is over, and so are the toms. I thought I had a lot of wasted toms, but my wine-making neighbour had so much spoilt produce, it almost made you weep.....if you didn't know how many plants he had, conservative guess.....100!!!!

 

Next year, I will try to take some photographs :D

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Butternuts look bleh. Courgettes still OK but after the rain and it feels really chilly out there tonight I'm guessing they will be finished soon.

Tomatoes still OK in the greenhouse and I've been harvesting rainbow chard leaves for salads. Peppers are slowly ripening. We may have an abundance of green ones this year - my black one is now half red!

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Yes, I know what you mean, all the tomato plants are on the compost, with the peppers and all the fallen fruit :( The leaves are falling from the cherries and peaches, the vines are turning a flaming red, and the chestnuts further up the hill are enormously fat on the trees. Its a bit of a weird way to know its autumn!

 

Well, this is probably my last posting as the season is over for us (except I have 4 very stout basil plants grown from seed. They will have their last hurrah in a pesto :D ) as we shall be returning to the UK in a few weeks for the winter. This means we'll miss the citrus - I can see the trees have far more fruit on them than last year. We are going to bring some apples back with us though. There is a traditional variety here called Brava, which looks a bit like a Golden Delicious when ripe, but with a reddish blush. It is sweet and juicy and reminds me of a cross between a pineapple and a bit of liquorice! Despite that description it is a really really nice apple when its ready, although its still not quite ripe, so I guess it counts as a mid-season variety.

 

Overall, its been a wet year here which as you might expect has done wonders for some plants (all top fruit) and less good for a lot of other stuff. After I posted about our olive crop I saw a news item saying there were some predictions that the olive crop would be down 80% :shock: This seems to be mostly because of the weather. Time to panic buy olive oil :lol:

 

Its been really interesting for me doing a compare and contrast with 2013, and also hearing how Portugal has fared with the UK. We are a long way west of the UK as well as a long way south, and I think this year has shown how that can really make a difference. Thanks for sharing everything and keeping me in touch with home - and good luck with all your winter veg 8) I look forward to hearing all about it!

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I have lost 2 of my peppers. OH made a soup with everything from the garden - except for the stock which was an organic chicken once upon a time. It wasn't half bad!

 

Winter onions have been purchased and will be going into modules first of all so that the mice (should they wish to accept that mission) do not collect the sets and place them in neat piles in the corner of the deep bed.

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Strange season for me. I had a great crop of tomatoes (never heard of before) and disastrous beans. A complete turn around from previous few years. Courgettes were steady, instead of a glut, which was ok by me. I haven't tried any brassicas this year, so can't say.

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Seems like one in every 3 onions have gone yukky inside. The outer part looks perfect, apart from a little black dot. I'm wondering if the little black dot was a pest that started an virus in them or some such. Very irritating to pick up a perfectly lovely looking onion only to slice it open and then throw it in the bin (daren't put it in the compost in case). :evil:

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We gave up growing onions, they are just too time consuming, they taken ages to plant then replant when the birds pull them up then weed, weed and we'd again, then harvest, then dry then store. :roll:

 

My brassicas have been mixed, some good cabbages, great brokali which is a sprouting summer tender stem broccoli, I harvested one beautiful cauliflower yesterday, it was huge, I only had three plants that were a bit past it when they went in so I am pleased, it took me years to grow cauliflower successfully. My sprouts are covered in white fly and have gone all black so I have taken off their cover and I am hoping that the rain over the next few days will clean them up a bit, then I will have to spray them I think. I also have a few more cabbages that look ok, both white and red and healthy purple sprouting, which I will have to fight the pigeons for in the spring.

 

We picked a lovely tender swede yesterday too

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I remember an article about diluting garden lime and watering your brassicas with it to keep the pests off - at the same time they like the lime.

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Hubby made another soup from the greenhouse and garden leftovers. Pretty good too. Was looking at the leeks the other day and they are beginning to fatten up really well. Smacking my lips in anticipation of leeky loveliness over the winter!

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We have some huge winter squash and a mass of kale.

 

Sprouts are starting to get there, as are some cabbages :dance:

 

We are still getting some tomatoes, peppers and courgettes, but I reckon they'll be gone in next to no time now.

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Green tomatoes in the greenhouse have all been munched by a big 4 footed friend. The girls are banned from going in - even if it rains. Currently hiding under our water butt where it's made a hole bigger from a previous occupant. Saw it last night - most cute face, quite young and possibly female - too pretty to be a male. Reminded me of one of our old pet rats. What a pity it has to go. I know it's taken the bait so now I have to wait to make sure - and top up if necessary. Still got peppers ripening but I think this weekend we will have to pick, bag and freeze them.

I will wait till ratty is out of the way before tempting it with broad beans.

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4 footed friends have been sorted. No more ratties. And we have a few peppers left that haven't got mould on them from the damp. Greenhouse now empty.

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Anyone growing rice this year? A bit wet down the bottom of the garden.

 

I have started to try and follow Charles Dowding ideas. So far 2 beds have been covered in home-made compost and apart from easing some weeds out to start with, no digging done. Also ordered all my seeds. Slight set back in that while OH used sealant for the greenhouse it is still leaking. And he broke a window. Later that day I had some mud in my boot, took it off, lost my balance and shoved my ankle in a glass cloche and broke that glass too. Patched up and healed now. Not quite sure how to tackle the greenhouse now as we have no idea how or where it is leaking from.

 

Anyway, raring to go but still holding off until the weather improves slightly.

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I have made the mistake in previous years of eagerly starting seedlings off, and then having them limp and leggy because it was too soon to put them in, so I'm still at the planning stage.

 

Interested to know what other people are planning to grow this year? I had a success with fennel for the first time last year, might try that again as I love it and it's expensive to buy. My tomatoes were very poor as the indoor ones didn't seem to set, but I always grow tomatoes, runner beans and courgettes. And I have some rainbow chard in the greenhouse, waiting to be planted - if I'd known how mild it would be, I think it could have gone in back in December!

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