Bountiful. A review of the season (so far…)

Forgive me, I’ve hardly blogged about the plot this summer. Recent weather aside (it’s a wet and windy Saturday afternoon as I write this), it’s a been a glorious summer and to be honest with you, we’ve just been so busy enjoying it down 18a. After a unseasonable cool start to the season full of worry whether we would ever get any kind of crop going, we approach the end of the growing season with a bumper crop of unexpected allotment loveliness. After a rather crappy first 6 months of 2013 for myself personally, the allotment and the abundance of nature there have helped me overcome my blues and banish my little rain clouds. So what’s been going on down 18a? Well let’s see…
Continue reading “Bountiful. A review of the season (so far…)”

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The Blackberry Bonanza! – A glut of Blackberries

Oh my days we’ve had a lot of blackberries this year! One of the best things about our plot is the fabulous thornless Blackberries we inherited when we took the plot over. I don’t know what variety they are, though plot neighbours guess at ‘black satin’ or ‘black lace’ (what the 80s pop group?). But I’ve found little reference to either commercially. Whatever their name they are fruit superstars at 18a! They fruit their little socks off from mid-late July right through to the frosts. And boy are these beauties prolific! With 4 plants and around 13 canes between them they keep us occupied picking, eating, freezing and jamming for weeks. Continue reading “The Blackberry Bonanza! – A glut of Blackberries”

Jam in a Teacup. Windfall Apple, Blackberry and Lemon Thyme Jelly.

It’s turning into a bit of a heartbreaking growing season 2012. The crazy wet and wild summer months we are having here in the UK is causing all kinds of problems. Too wet so that the slug and aphid populations are booming and recently destructive gale force winds. For June we’ve been experiencing some wild winds! Shaking and bending all and sundry at our plot. Our allotment plot can be very exposed at times to both searing heat (we are pretty much south-facing all day long) and the strong prevailing winds whipping across 18a in an annoyingly diagonal fashion!

We have 4 minarette cordon fruit trees closely planted on the plot, a Conference Pear, Summer Sun Cherry, Victoria Plum and Russet Apple. Of these the pear is too young to fruit, the cherry succumbed to a horrendous attack of blackfly, the plum blossom a victim of the late frosts all we were left with was the russet apple with any fruit. It was positively glistening with fruit up and down its Column. Now I knew the time would come I would need to thin these out but the bully that is the wind barged ahead and did it for me! Talk about a June drop! The wind whilst we were away on our holiday took away at least half our apples. Only for the winds to return this week and claim another batch. We are now left with around a third left on the branches. There’s nothing quite as disheartening than seeing your baby apples you’ve been nurturing lying on the ground useless. Being forced to Compost the first of the windfalls as past their best, I thought surely these recent victims shouldn’t have grown in vain? Then it came to me a windfall jelly? Continue reading “Jam in a Teacup. Windfall Apple, Blackberry and Lemon Thyme Jelly.”