Still plenty to harvest on the allotment

There was a lot of rain overnight and everything was soaking so no bonfire today.  The comfrey has grown well this year and we managed another cut off it today making that the third this year.  The green manure sown earlier was starting to flower – time for it to be cut down and dug in and with all the potatoes now dug, time to sow more green manure on that bed – this time field beans and grazing rye both supposedly hardy enough for a Bridgend winter.
All the apples were checked for ripeness and the cooker Lanes Prince Albert was ready for picking today.
We still have a few blueberries but the brambles are now over for us. The sweetcorn is slowly ripening , perhaps we shall have a couple for picking next week. And still a good harvest of veg – courgettes, beetroot, carrots, cabbage, French beans and runner beans. The spinach and kale and leeks are also ready but these can be left for the winter.

Jobs for next week
General weeding around – continuing
Tidy the shed
Bonfire if dry

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Autumn is here

Autumn is here with the nights getting chilly but there is still plenty of sun around to ripen the apples and hopefully the sweetcorn.

Charles Ross


We had the the first of the clearing up bonfires today and we shall need more since the dead hedge needs to be removed. Whilst the hedge t it is a sanctuary for many beneficial creatures, some four-legged creatures have taken up residence in it and we do not want to encourage these on the plot.

The strawberries have put out more runners and these were cut off since there are enough young plants. The last of the main crop potatoes were dug up with a good return from Pink Fir Apple – everybody’s favourite – and not bad from Desiree which is really a late main but on our plot the tubers are attacked by slugs if they are left in the ground beyond the middle of September. And there was still more new growth on the soft fruit which was tied in.

We put entries into the Dalkeith show last weekend and did very well with Tom’s leeks and onions.

Prize winning leek from the allotment at the Dalkeith show

Jobs for next week: Weather permitting another bonfire; Tidy the shed; General weeding.

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Mystery at the Allotment


11 Sep. Checking the apples. (2)

The rain was supposed to come in at lunchtime but it started as we arrived, though it was not heavy enough to deter us.

We planted some spring cabbage and pak choi for some extra greens over winter and on into spring.

The sweetcorn is ripening fast but some of the cobs have developed strangely with new shoots growing out of them. None of us have ever seen that before and our American visitors who grow a lot of corn had no idea either. Can anyone tell us what has happened? We would welcome any advice.  See the photographs below.

11 Sep. Strange Sweetcorn.

11 Sep. Strange Sweetcorn 2

All the apples were checked for ripeness. Still picking brambles and the blueberry crop has been excellent from the new bushes.

Jobs for next week
Bonfire if it is dryish
Tidy the shed
Dig up the last of the potatoes

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Scotland is blooming

2017 was the 51st year for Beautiful Scotland with a theme of birds, bees and trees.

The top award – the Rosebowl –  the overall winner across all categories was won by North Berwick in Bloom, for the second year in a row.

There are many other award winners across Scotland – from large cities to wee villages. Follow the links to see them all.  All of the participants in Beautiful Scotland undertake work within their communities to help deliver environmental improvements and help make Scotland beautiful.

Entrants are judged by a team of expert volunteer judges on the entrants year-round achievements. Awards are presented to a range of local authorities, businesses and communities which have achieved the highest scores in their categories, with Discretionary Awards given to those who demonstrate excellence in their commitment to the campaign.

The Caley presents a discretionary  award  to the entrant or local authority that demonstrates the highest quality of horticultural standards in public open spaces.  This year this prestigious award was given Aberdeen City Council.  

Look at their portfolio and you will see some of the effort they put into achieving this award.  Well deserved.

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Another weekend another local flower show

This one is the East Lothian Hort. Soc. show in Haddington’s corn exchange last Saturday. There are several such shows every weekend across Scotland just now.  Some go back a long way. This one started in 1838. The Caley website has a shows section and the Administrator will be happy to post photos  of any shows people send in.

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Harvest Time

26 Aug - Victoria Plums

Another warm and sunny day and still work to do on the plot. Whilst not as much to do as earlier in the season, work now involves clearing the ground, pruning and harvesting.

Following the Open Day on Sunday, when George Anderson took a most appreciative group through how to do summer pruning of fruit, we finished the job.

26 Aug - George Anderson - Pruning Workshop

We once again thinned the apples. This will be the final time they are thinned this year. The trees are all on dwarfing rootstock, so it is not good to exhaust the plant by allowing it to carry too much fruit. That can lead to biennial bearing (heavy crop one year followed by little or no fruit the following year) as the tree needs a year to build up its energy again.

The old raspberry canes were cut out and sadly we decided to take out one of the new raspberry varieties, ‘Glen Ample’, which has only been in for 18 months. It had rust and poor growth so no point in keeping it. Glen Ample is one of the best varieties but these for some reason were not good plants.

The other new variety, ‘Glen Dee’, is a bit of thug, taking over the plot and path, so obviously a very healthy and strong grower. Unwanted new canes were pulled out to leave a nucleus of 5/6 strong growing ones on each plant.

The loganberry and tayberry have finished fruiting so the old canes were removed and the new ones are now tied into the wires.

The buckwheat, grown as a green manure, was cut down and added to the compost bins and the ground lightly forked over.

There is now only one courgette plant left, the others all succumbing to mildew.

There was a good picking of fruit today especially the Victoria plums which were ripe and ready and mouth-wateringly sweet and juicy. The brambles are doing very well this year too. There were also courgettes, cabbages, carrots, beetroot, French beans as well as onions and potatoes.

26 Aug - Caley Jam

The Caley now has it’s own jam.

Jobs for next week

Sow green manure where the peas & beans were
Dig up the next two rows of potatoes

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Getting ready for the Open Day

19 Aug - onions laid out to dry

A warm and sunny day for the final titivation of the plot before the Open Day on Sunday. The grass and edges were cut, weeding and hoeing done. The new growth on the loganberry and Tayberry was tied in and stakes were put in for the kale and spring broccoli.

19 Aug - Large, juicy and sweet brambles

Sweet & juicy brambles

One of the purple sprouting broccoli plants was looking poorly and digging it up showed it had cabbage root fly. The onions were laid out on pallets in a sunnier spot to dry.

The new salad plant, Strawberry Spinach (also known as Beetberry and Strawberry Blite), was planted in the high bed. Despite the name, it is neither a strawberry nor spinach – taste it yourself on Sunday and see what you think of it.

19 Aug - Brilliant colour on the Discovery Apples

Brilliant colour on our Discovery apples

Open Day Sunday 20 August 2pm-4pm. Fruit pruning workshop with George Anderson.

All welcome

Jobs for next week

Finish the summer pruning
Dig up the next rows of potatoes
Cut down the shaws of the last rows of potatoes

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