12 September – Frantic Activity at 66A

A week of sunshine has given the runners and courgettes a new lease of life on the allotment.  Although they are still cropping, they have slowed down now and I for one will be glad of the first frosts!  There is a limit to how many beans and courgettes two people and a dog can eat, and the neighbours must be getting heartily sick of them too.

Monday will be a red-letter day on our allotment when the Oxford Mail and Witney Gazette send their photographer to take a picture of us with some of our produce.  We recently sent out a press release (us copywriters do things like that!) about our new allotment blog, which stirred up a bit of media interest.  With the ‘grow your own movement’ still escalating, allotments are clearly very newsworthy!

In honour of the occasion, number 66A on the Chipping Norton William Fowler Allotments was weeded and strimmed within an inch of its life.  And all harvesting activities were postponed, so we’d have a plentiful supply for the photograph.

A valuable lesson!

60p worth of onion sets!

60p worth of onion sets!

We recently heard one of our local Chipping Norton shops had some loose onion sets for sale.   Instead of buying them at the time, we didn’t quite get round to it.  We deliberated, trying to work out how many we’d need and did my daughter want some for her allotment.  Needless to say, on Saturday afternoon when I finally went shopping, only a handful were left.  At £4 per kilo, I grabbed the last 52 which cost the princely sum of 60p.  At a nearby garden centre, pre-packed sets are priced at around £1.60 for 50.  I won’t be so tardy next year!

An unexpected hazard

Sunday was less than peaceful on the allotment.  Local charity, Emma’s Trust was holding a ‘fun day’ nearby, so we were regaled with the sound system testing before the DJ got into full swing.  Weeding to music is quite invigorating, and by all accounts, plants appreciate the serenade.  However, our peace was rudely shattered when we found ourselves being peppered with shot!  Some local clay pigeon enthusiasts were holding a shoot in a nearby field and hadn’t realised the shot would travel so far.  While Megan, our border collie went into panic mode, David took off to find the offenders and ask them to change direction.  Fortunately they obliged and peace was again restored and no damage was done!

Thanks to Freecycle

Autumn Gold raspberries

Autumn Gold raspberries

Freecycle membership is a great asset to any allotment holder!  This weekend a local gardener offered some raspberry and loganberry canes and we were the lucky recipients.

Last autumn (much too late in the year) we bought 30 raspberry canes from eBay.  There were 5 different varieties, intended to give us a supply of raspberries throughout the summer and autumn.   In the past we’ve bought some wonderful plants online, but sadly only 8 of the 30 rasps survived.  So, thanks to the generosity of a freecycler, we’ll be able to increase our raspberry crop next year and enjoy a few loganberries to boot!

Sweetcorn – Are they or aren’t they?

Sweetcorn - are they ripe?

Sweetcorn - are they ripe?

Sweetcorn is a new venture for us in 2009.  We were late getting these planted, but we are now being rewarded by the sight of swelling cobs on the plants. We’ve read all the theory about peeling back the ‘skin’ and pushing a finger nail into the corn to see if they’re ripe, but our cobs still look a bit immature.  We’re loath to start exposing the cobs if they still have some growing to do, so I think we’ll leave them a bit longer, unless someone can advise us differently?

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