In true British fashion this weekend is the August Bank Holiday and its raining. I cant remember the last time we had a glorious sunny one. We had planned a beach barbecue today with friends and neighbours but we have had to cancel. so this morning instead of planning a day of fun and frolics, I find myself writing my weekly blog update and getting the ironing board out .
This last week the early mornings have been feeling decidedly Autumnal, so with that in mind it was time to start getting more stuff out of the garden ready for winter.
I mentioned that I needed to dig my potatoes. I have taken two rows out slowly as we have needed them, but three more now needed some serious attention.
Its a tricky job lifting spuds. The ground was quite hard, so I needed to break it up, but every time I stuck my fork in, I ended up with a potato speared on the end, which is such a waste. How on earth do you get them up without damaging them? I am sure someone must have invented a tool for the job. I shall have to spend some time with my best friend, Google, and find one. I ended up on my knees digging them up with my hands. Not great on the fingernails .
But it was worth the effort. I am very pleased with my Sarpo spuds.
Lots of different colours and sizes. In my usual fashion, I had labelled the rows with varieties, but only the initial letters as they were quite long names. And now I have lost the leaflet that listed them, so I have no clue what these varieties are. There was one called Blue Danube. You cant see any in this picture. That is the only one I wouldn't grow again. They really are blue and they didn't have any flavour at all.
I ended up with nearly a full sack which are now stored away to be eaten over the winter. Hopefully by us and not local wildlife.
The nice empty bed is ready for the addition of some more compost and manure, then I shall plant my onions in it. An empty raised bed is a sad looking thing. Makes it feel that summer is almost over.
Compost is very important in the garden, especially here where the land has never been cultivated like this before. I showed you my two Daleks last blog, then purely by chance, one of my neighbours offered me two more, that they had found abandoned behind their shed.
Sadly only one still had its bottom plate. I shall have to buy a new one for the other, so for now its sitting empty . The whole one needed to go in straight away.
I cleared a space next to the others and had to make a small adjustment with a large saw , to the path edging to get it in.
A bit of heavy pruning to the conifer and it was in, and is already half full.
Another vegetable glut is underway. I have been moaning that my tomatoes wouldn't go red, now you cant stop them. I have so many, I made a huge pot of passata yesterday and froze loads to use over the winter.
I also found another monster courgette hiding under some foliage. It was so large I actually measure it. 12 inches long!!
The rather wrinkled offering next to it is one of my rude chills ( Cant name it anymore! too many dodgy search engine links) . It should be red, but I accidentally knocked it off a plant when I was rummaging around in the greenhouse.
I decided to give it a try. I must say so far the other varieties we have tried, have been disappointingly mild. I love a hot chilli, so was hopeful this time as I popped a rather large chunk in my mouth.. Blimey!! this was one hot little fruit. I cant imagine how they will be when finally ripe, but I shouldn't have to wait long as some are nearly there.
The Habanero are beautiful colours
and this is my first ripe Chiltepin from the chilli trial.
This was also very mild, but it didn't have any seeds in it, and was tiny, about 1 cm long. hopefully some of the others will be hotter.
In other news, My seedypenpal parcel arrived from a lady called Jenny. She sent me lots of interesting seeds including some from Ireland. I was pleased to note that one packet contained peas which she says grow to at least 1.5m. These should cover The Great Wall of Barton much better than the dwarf ones I planted on it this year . Jenny is a very talented artist and included a beautiful card she drew herself.
Go and have a look at her website, you wont be disappointed Thistledown Art & Designs
Out and about this week we had another of our New Forest Adventures with some friends. We are lucky enough to live in a beautiful National Park, and as such it is a huge tourist area. That means we have open top bus tours. This summer they introduced a third route to take in the coastal area, and the stop is right at then end of our lane. It was silly not to go for a ride. After some consultation with the timetable, we were able to plan a journey that would go almost the entire way round all three routes.
We had a wonderful day out , lots of ducking as we went under low trees in the forest, It was a little windy but in the afternoon it got nice and warm and sunny.
Gibson came with us as they allow well behaved dogs. He had a wonderful time. We tried to always get the front seats so he could sit in the aisle and look out. He loved it. Horses and cows grabbed his attention all day long, and to see his ears blowing in the breeze was hilarious.
I tried to get a picture. Its a little wobbly but shows him having a great day out
If you are ever in the New Forest I very much recommend the bus tour. Have a look at the website here. New Forest Tour
Finally I like to try and tell you something you didn't already know ! I always thought the best way to kill a slug was to drown it in beer!! Well yesterday, I cut a lettuce and was merrily washing it in the sink when out fell a tiny slug. I ignored it, as I assumed it would drown.. Well I was wrong. A few minutes later, I noticed it had done a nifty breast stroke to the side of the sink and was starting to climb out!! Fluke I thought, so I knocked it back into the water , It did it again!!
It was in 6 inches of water right on the bottom, so not only could it swim, it could also hold its breath. Well who would have known. I eventually got bored and pulled the plug, so its swimming happily somewhere in the village drain system now.
thats all for now, so have a great holiday weekend if you are in the UK and I hope those of you in the rest of the world enjoy it as well