Monday, 2 November 2015

Interim allotment dividend

So, my new 1/2 allotment is mostly covered in black plastic and it's not exactly a vegetable production power-house as yet. But, since someone left a trailer-sized pile of horse manure at the lotty gate and no-one else wanted to barrow it up the hill, I piled it into 3 mini heaps amongst the sea of plastic. In a fit of enthusiastic optimism, I sowed some winter squash rather late, and planted them on the muck heaps.

This is what I harvested last Saturday. In theory they are "curing" (their skin drying and hardening ready for storage) basking in the sun (!) in the warm (!?) conservatory on a slatted bench. 

winter squash drying on a bench
winter squash, pears and peppers

From what I can remember, these are, clockwise from the front: Blue Banana (somewhat under-ripe, so more green than blue but you can see what it was aiming for), a majestic-looking Hubbard,  2 x Burgess Vine Buttercup, one large, one small,  something intimidatingly large and a bit gnarly that I can't remember the name of, I dub it "Two-Hand-Carry Squash of Awesome" for now, and behind that is another one where I didn't check the plant label when I harvested it, it's a large zeppelin-shaped dark  blue/green with light blue stripes squash that might be a Blue Banana but looks considerably darker and more stripy than the actually definitely a Blue Banana squash (note to self: check labels), behind the mysteries there is a properly ripe pale blue Blue Banana, and finally a Squashkin.

You can also see some lovely Doyenne du Comice and Garden Pearl pears (from trees that grow in air pots on the patio) and the last 3 of this years Gypsy (sweet) Peppers from the conservatory.  They are not quite ripe, but following a spectacular red spider mite breakout, the plants were ditched early this year. Much sprinkling of diatomaceous earth. Much sadness. Much grumbling.

Anyway, actually bringing something back from the black plastic wasteland keeps me motivated to dig on. I'm clearing weeds by hand (well, with a shovel and a fork too, not just hands, that would not be super-effective) at the less than impressive rate of 10 sq ft per hour.

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