Its been a funny old year at the allotment this year. When I last posted anything about the allotment, we were is a hot spell with a reasonable amount of rain to encourage the crops. However, after that the weather turned cold and dry (at least where we are) and so crops were not encouraged to either ripen or swell.
We’ve had a reasonable quantity of fruit, the Summer Raspberries have been and gone with quite a few ending up in the freezer, similarly the Redcurrants, Blackcurrants, Strawberries, Gooseberries (Green and Red), have all been and gone and we’ve just started picking the Blackberries and Autumn Raspberries. It makes me realise that we’re getting closer to the end of the season.
Its similar with the vegetables, we’ve picked all our potatoes, calabrese and peas; and we’re well into Courgettes, French Beans and cabbages. I’ve made one batch of courgette chutney (trying a new recipe) but the courgettes and squashes have done badly this year, mainly due to the poor weather and the poor soil quality. The weather I can’t do anything about but the soil quality is my fault. The allotment is clay. Which is great in some respects but it needs a lot of attention to encourage tenderer plants and those which need good root systems (like courgettes).
Every year up until now, I’ve put a decent quantity of mushroom compost down and that has improved the soil quality. This year my source of supply dried up as the mushroom growers decided they couldn’t compete with Polish and Irish mushroom growers for the traditional white mushrooms. I thought it would be OK but the soil has reverted to clay and everything has suffered as a result.
I will buy more compost but I’m also going to use my Bokashi system to put more home waste into the soil. For those of you who don’t know what Bokashi is, this website gives one of the best descriptions and help on Bokashi composting that I’ve been able to find. From my perspective it means that all of our kitchen waste (not just greens) can go back into the soil and I’m going to put all the Bokashi compost into the bed where I plan to grow my courgettes and squashes next year.
Anyway, for the end of this year, I’ve still to harvest the peak of the Autumn Raspberries, the apples and sweetcorn all of which should keep me busy and fill the freezers.