October 2021

Autumn is here. The equinox has passed and the nights are getting longer. The queues for petrol are getting longer too and showing no sign of abating, coupled with supermarket shelves emptying and crippling gas price increases I’m beginning to think that a 1970s winter approaches. Three-day week anyone?

On the plus side, I received my free flu jab via a drive-in clinic, I had to stay in the car to receive the jab so didn't even have walk to the surgery, how lazy. Neither did I feel a thing or have any pain in my arm after. Also, luckily for me, I had enough petrol for the journey to and from the clinic but I had to make a long detour to avoid the queues of those needing fuel.

Most of the allotment is winding down. The sweet peas, runner beans and sweet corn are all finished. The potato bed has been readied for for next year’s garlic (planted on 6th October) and broad beans which will be planted late October. I’m hoping for the same bumper crop of beans as this year but a slightly better harvest of garlic. Don’t get me wrong, what this year's garlic lacked in size it certainly made up for in taste. I still have a plentiful supply of it hanging in my garage, the smell is incredible. It's particularly lovely used on homemade garlic bread.

I sowed some spinach and chard in late August and I am now picking the leaves of both for the pot. It is a bit of a fight with the local snail population as they too find them delicious.

My potatoes were very good this year, despite my tomatoes succumbing to blight. I was worried that they too might be affected but they were fine. We are now eating our way through the final batch which are King Edward.

Speaking of tomatoes (as much as I’d rather not speak of them) I did get some to ripen. Towards the end of the summer the blight gave up in the greenhouse with around 7 of the plants (out of an original 14) surviving and going on to produce some lovely red tomatoes. The varieties that survived were Alicante and Beef Steak but sadly not my little salad ones. In amongst the greenhouse tomatoes, I planted some chillies. These are now producing yellow and orange chillies in abundance. You can freeze chillies and I have a large freezer bag full of them. They will last well into next year and will be a useful source of heat should the winter be cold and Britain’s gas supply runs out.

Despite all the veg and cut flowers coming to an end, the weeds keep growing and are taking over. It’s a constant battle to keep them from strangling what’s left. Weeds are extremely resilient. I do wonder why slugs and snails only eat what I want to eat and leave those pesky weeds alone?

I actually wouldn’t mind sharing my veg with them if they at least helped by keeping invasive weeds at bay.

Unfortunately, we do get plagued with slugs and snails. After one wet night the next morning I must’ve picked up well over 50 slugs from my lawn, moving them to another site away from my flowers. At the allotment it seems to be a plague of snails. Again, I spend a lot of time removing them from my spinach, chard, sprouts and leeks. They particularly like going in between the leaf and the stem of the leeks. Sometimes as many as 3 in one crevice. It’s very tricky getting them out. I am not a fan of snails, even if they are cooked in wine and garlic.

On that note I will leave you to enjoy the rest of October and I wish you the best of luck getting petrol or diesel.

Bye for now.

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