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Daphne

So how is the season so far?

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We do have a lot of water butts that we top up with rainwater that drains off the roof of the workshop/garage into a huge tank.  We nearly ran out in the spring heatwave but only watered in new plants which were left to fend for themselves.  Potatoes were never watered at all apart from when it rained.  Did that last year so it seems to work just fine.  I did water celeriac and sometimes the squash but otherwise watering wasn't required at all!  It will be interesting to see what sort of weather we have in 2021!

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We had 9 weeks without any rain worth mentioning Valkyrie; last year it was only 7. It has been declared an official drought, so we have just had a rebate on our Council Tax for the two agricultural land parcels of €11. We used just over 7m3 tap water for watering as a result (we meter it), so that rebate has paid for it. The potatoes went in very early and were fleeced for the frosts so they were all finished before the drought. We can only store 2m3, so a lot of pumping between two butts and waiting 4 days for the Chlorine to come out was required. We have 'waterboatmen' in one butt and they eat the mosquito larvae fortunately, because the tiger mosquito in stored water is a serious health risk problem here. It gets incredibly hot in Summer so we use leaf mulch on the beds to stop them drying out completely during the day. Ran out of that though and then used moss.

There has been a lot of building subsidence as well, due to the foundations shrinking as they dried, but fortunately ours is only some very minor cracks in plasterwork. Our friends are hoping to get theirs repaired under the insurance, but insurance here is terrible and they rarely pay out. They are predicting we will get drier and the UK wetter: I do hope not!

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Yuk!  I think we had your water!  I agree - hope it's not like that next year.  They did say that the Atlantic had a record number of named storms/hurricanes this year - then there were the unnamed deluges too.  And as I look out of the window it is horizontal rain!  Again.  But the clouds are still bright, and we've had quite a bit of sun - if you were in a sheltered spot it was lovely and warm.  But we were raising the poles on the duck pen as they'd sunk into the mud so it was a tad cold in the wind!  Yes the backswimmers/boatmen are plentiful in our water tank.  Apparently they can fly - just don't touch them as they will chomp you too!  Obviously not vegetarians!

Thank goodness your subsidence is not too bad.  Again you don't want another basinful of that next year.

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I am so glad you two have resurrected this thread, I keep telling myself to post a round up for the year!  Great photos, BTW, I love to be reminded of a British green scene, its so different from my outlook.  

I have had a terrible year, not just me, but everyone around here.  The winter was fine, excellent citrus crops of all sorts.  Our spring was very long and wet, it lasted till the end of June, I know the UK had much better weather than us.  So, hardly anything got pollinated and we had no apples or pears at all, very few cherries and they were terrible quality (which is unheard of), hardly any quince or grapes (unheard of) and next to no loquats or plums (no change there) or peaches.  On the veg front my peas and beans got eaten/dug up by mice/voles (seems to have been quite the year for voles judging by your posts!), I did have good broad beans as I think they must have flowered before the incessant rain and excellent tomatoes, plus amaranth (which has only just gone over).  There were some green leafy crops and I have planted them again (cabbage, spinach, cavalo nero) and they are all growing away nicely as we are experiencing a lovely autumn, although it is very cold today, with snow forecast a bit higher than us.  This is pretty unusual, the main road a couple of miles away, which goes up to 1000m has been closed due to snow, and I suspect its probably got a whole inch on it.

The summer was baking, and I got into my usual routine which is not to have much actively growing July-Sept except toms, chili, aubergine and peppers because of the water issue.  I tried growing coriander from seed several times in the spring, but germination was terrible.  The carrots were a fail because they germinated and grew, but very slowly, only maturing when it got super hot, and then I think I left them in the ground too long because it was such a fight to get them out (rock hard) and they tasted a bit weird.  Same problem with beetroot.  I have finally come to the conclusion that main crop toms are not good and plentiful until Sept, Oct is great, and I might get a few in Nov.  Basically its later than the UK.  They are worth the wait, they taste fabulous, but people expect homegrown for the their summer salads, and I have to go and buy them!

It has been olive season since the end of Oct, much earlier than normal, normally we would only start picking around now, or even later.  We lost about a third of our crop to fierce winds over a weekend, and another 20% ripened and went powdery very quickly.  Our neighbours had the same problem.  However, the remaining olives are about twice their normal size so there have been some blessings.  Our first pressing from our few trees and more belonging to a friend, has yielded 20l of excellent tasting oil, the best flavour we have managed to date.  Since then, we have been picking groves belonging to 2 different people with another friend, and currently we have 13 sacks (30kg each) waiting to go to the mill, we hope for around another 50l-60l.  So, we will be self sufficient in oil for some years to come which is very satisfying I have to say (the timeless feeling of gathering in the harvest for the year ahead) and we are now on the lookout for an olive grove of our own.  You wouldn't be in it for the money (the time and effort involved is so not worth it!) but there is a lot of enjoyment, partly from fresh air and getting worn out, and partly from stripping a tree which may be laden, or may be a challenge which you have to overcome.  I am also learning more about different varities, their growth habits and different qualities. 

As a quirky aside I was given some tomarillos last week, about 30 of them, a cross between a tomato and a grapefruit in flavour (ie very tart, they are typically eaten with sugar, but we are having them raw, you scoop out the middle and leave the peel) and they look like plum tomatoes.  They grow on a very attractive small tree with large leaves, so I am going to try to grow them from seed.

I have a few rogue potato plants self seeded in odd places (like the compost heap) which have been growing for a few months.  I wish they would show signs of the leaves dying so I could harvest them for Xmas Day (they are all earlies/2nd earlies).

 

 

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I think your weather is as different to ours as ours is to England Daphne. Probably even hotter and drier.

We had rogue potatoes in the compost heap, but three frosts have killed them off long before they could be harvested. Our carrots and beetroot turned out OK, but to harvest them the bed had to be watered heavily the day before and because they weren't thinned out they came out in clumps with a fork.

We had a great crop of white and black figs and pears; the best since we have been here, I think due to the chickens ranging beneath them. Problem is the number of hornets makes harvesting hazardous. The leaves have fallen from the poplar trees to reveal a huge nest, which now explains why we had so many.

We lost 2/3rds of our Kiwi crop to sunburn because the leaves dropped with the drought, but we still have as many as last year; not ripe yet though. The reason we had so many is because of the heavily composted bed alongside them. Their roots invaded it, making harvesting potatoes very difficult, so next year we'll grow a surface crop there.

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Bonus spuds for you then Daphne.  I always call them buried treasure!  I hope you get some spuds after the long wait!  Self sufficient in olive oil - that's great! I do think the climate has been a bit awry this year.  Chicknboomum has daffodils out already!  I've noticed our daffs - while not in flowering stage - are shooting up before the snowdrops!  In Canada, outside Toronto, the salmon are swimming upstream already!  Crazy - even they are confused!

My broad beans developed rust, shortly followed by blackfly.  I would have pulled them up but there were loads of 7 spot ladybirds on them!  Not seen any harlequins at all, so our big indigenous beauties need all the help they can get.

 

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Afternoon all! 
 

well I popped to the allotment after an 8 week break and picked my first swede!!  It’s a beauty and tasted lovely with butter and salt...

Since I opened the Cafe in September I just haven’t had time... another plot holder offered me his plot as a swap. He has a huge fruit cage with raspberries, gooseberries and currants plus a several raises beds, glass greenhouse and a grassy area perfect for the dog. He was happy to take on my plot which is a big smaller and just as well stocked with fruit bushes etc. Plus the lady next to him is always there and waters for him and would be happy to do the same for me.😀😀 Sadly the Parish council said we couldn’t swap as it was against the rules (a copy of which I have and there is no mention of swapping). I think it has more to do with a power issue🙄 

 I was tempted to just give it all up, but have invested so much time and money in it and I do enjoy going down and getting my hands in soil. Plus the fruit I grow goes into jams I sell at my Café, so that saves me a fortune! 
 

it needs a serious tidy up. One chicken wire fence is down so the Terrier can escape now. It’s take a few days to get it sorted again but as the Café is closed for tier 4 lockdown for probably the whole of January, I’m going to try and get it ‘winter ready’ albeit a tad late!! 
 

i still have swedes and beetroot in the ground that look good, plus a few very small leeks that I haven’t picked yet. My raspberry canes are a tangled mess, but I’ll cut those back to the ground and use the canes as woven edging for the bed. 

 

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I love the plants that you can just leave to their own devices.  My veggie patch got overgrown and I've been here all the time!  Constant battle of the elements!  What a shame that petty bureaucracy got in the way - seems that common sense seems to be overruled quite often nowadays.  But what a nice treasure to find.  OH says the big ones aren't woody and are good (I'll just take his word for it!), I think once they start regrowth and sprout upwards, that is the moment to remove them.

Not surprised you haven't had time - you were working flat out in the kitchen and it looked much busier than I've ever seen it before.  Your ladies are very nice too.  Are you using some of the veg to add to plates?

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Ooh I’d forgotten I planted a few swedes! I’d better check what they’re up to! I still have a few leeks and parsnips in the ground as well as sprouts. I did have kale but the caterpillars have only just in the last week stopped eating it so it’s pretty bare and for the same reason the sprouting broccoli isn’t looking great. Other beds all need serious tidying.

I’ve had 6 seed and plant catalogues in the post in the last 2 days 😁

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I forgot to order spuds from Tamar Organics!  Luckily there's a nice chap called Mr Fothergill that had some - not organic but they'll do!  The winter bog is here so I'm mainly sorting out stinky ducks and the chickens for once are living it up!  I reckon the slugs will have chomped all the celeriac again.  

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On 12/30/2020 at 1:08 PM, Valkyrie said:Are you using some of the veg to add to plates?

I plan to grow salad crops like cut and come again lettuce, radish and tomatoes next year if I get a chance. A lady at the plot knows I’ll be busy at the Cafe so offered to help with watering 😎 

 

Really need to do concentrate on fruit as that is so expensive and I make so much jam now.  I’m looking forward to next years growing season and need to start ordering seeds very soon..  😂😂

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I have been given a big bag of seed shallots for Christmas! No way I have the room or appropriate soil in my garden so am now trying to rehome the lot! SUch a shame!

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Save a couple for pots Soapy!  That is a shame.

Christian, I've ordered a couple of honeyberry plants.  Don't know what they are like, but it will be interesting!  Also bought some more blueberries.  They will do well in our soil as it is slightly acidic.  I thought the acidity would be too much for the veg, but no - they seem to be fine!  I'm waiting for more raspberries and strawberries.  

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I bought the Gardeners World calendar for myself, my father and a friend and all of us now ordered our seed this weekend as that was one of the jobs! 😂

I also ordered a small apple tree for a friend who had a baby. They forgot to add the card, so instead of just sending the card, they send her another tree... so I now also have a mini apple tree! Bonus!

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I only have ericacious (sp?) compost left now so that won't be suitable for shallots, I don't think? 

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According to mister Google, onions prefer slightly acidic soil, so ericaceous compost will be fine!

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Great to hear some good luck stories CT, what with the world'n'all right now!  My task is to try to find an English language calendar in Portugal (not doing any posting, its a nightmare at the moment).  Obviously we do know the days of the week in Portugeuse, but I still get tripped up as we have Saturday, Sunday, 2nd day, 3rd day etc etc and my brain still won't accept that Monday is Day 2, I think it should be Day 1.

Cafe, Christian? What's all that about?  Are you allowed to plant perennials at the plot?  I was thinking currant bushes for fruit, blackcurrants bear quickly and prolifically if they like the ground.

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30 minutes ago, Patricia W said:

Tell us about the Cafe, Christian? 

I think we found our new Omlet reunion spot!

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Confirm it is yum!  But best to book in advance - if Christian will let us!  Oh we'll just take over the quilt shop further along!  Hahahaha!

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I have a couple of blackcurrant bushes  at the plot Daphne and they produce really well. Been in for 5 years now and I had kilos of berries last year! 
 

Ok, so I left the well known airline I worked for (20+ years) in September and took a pittance in voluntary redundancy! At the end of September I opened a Cafe in my village!! It was going really well until the November lock down, great in December and then we had the Boxing Day lock down so I’m closed again. Probably won’t be allowed to reopen until March I believe, but we’ll see what happens? 
 

it’s hard work, but only a 2 minute walk from home and I love it!! 

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20 minutes ago, Christian said:

Hampshire/Wiltshire borders MH 😀

My in laws are in Devizes.........are you far from there? If not then, when normality is restored, we can pop in for a cuppa on our way!

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