The good thing about the allotment is that there is something different to experience every year, whether it be the growing conditions, the varieties you try and in my case what swarm of creatures I attract to the plots. Last year my husband joked that the butterflies were so thick around plot 1 that he had to waft his hand to get through them. Ha! Ha! this year he has reported that I have attracted flocks of Parakeets to plot 2 (they are after the Sunflower Seed Heads) and that they are pooping everywhere and causing general destruction and mayhem. He has joked that I might get kicked off the the allotments for attracting too many pests! Unfortunately I have not seen the Parakeets eating the seeds (although that would have made a great photo) but I have seen the droppings and chewed Sunflower heads and the mess of seeds and stuff on the ground. This does not bother me in the slightest but in compliance with hubby’s request I have cut the heads off the large sunflowers today to avoid attracting them in such number. To think people pay a fortune for wild bird seed mix and we have it up the allotments for free.
I wonder what creature I will attract next year?
Parakeets aside, September has so far been about seed saving from the plants whilst they are lovely and dry. I just take a few envelopes down to the allotment with me and go round emptying the various seeds from the dry pods into them. This year I have collected seed from:
Love in a Mist
French Marigolds – Striped Marvel
I don’t bother saving the nasturtium seeds I just leave the pods on the dirt and they grow again next year. This year I have had to rip them up by the handful as they seed so easily. Won’t need to buy any of those for a while! I also saved some seed from the Rose Campion in the garden. I must admit that this is the first year that I have saved so many different types of seed, in the past I have mostly kept to Pumpkin and sunflower seeds. This year though I came to the realisation that I have missed out on saving a few pounds and the joy of seed swopping with friends and family. I asked my mum for some of her Granny’s Bonnet seed that she collected last month to replenish the number of plants in my garden which seem to have gone down in number. I think other plants take over, so I shall clear a space for them and start again.
I had the joy of harvesting my first red cabbage head last week, Kalibos is the variety, I think I might try to pickle it. I also dug up a few Parsnips and was shocked at how big they were. I started from the end of the row where the chitted ones were planted out. They are huge in comparison to the ones I grew last year from direct sowing. I won’t touch this year year’s direct sowed ones yet, but it will interesting to see the size difference: chitted v direct sowed. In this case size might not be such a good thing as although the Parsnips were good in my Lamb Stew they were not that great roasted. Perhaps big equals woody and tasteless? Other than that, I have been harvesting French beans, and Chard and of course the never ending courgettes and Runner Beans. Runner Bean Wigwam 1 has finshed now (the white flowered plants that I thought were Moonlight were actually White Lady when I checked my records). The ‘St George’ plants with the red and white flower have not been so prolific, but that has suited me fine. I was slightly lax with the watering of this second wigwam so maybe that is why they didn’t produce as many? The beans that I have picked from them have been nice tasty beans so I am not complaining.
My pumpkins are doing very well and the Butternut squash are just starting to look like they might make a useful crop. My Sweet Dumpling squash are very small because of the lack of watering. I feel a bit guilty about this as I haven’t given them the attention they deserve, but still if I start making up for it now they could still swell up before the first frosts.
The Nasturtiums and Calendula flowers are still going strong and there are still some late sweet peas. I have planted out some ornamental Cabbages which are starting to leaf up and have just planted next year’s wallflower display today. I noticed that the Poached Egg plants have self seeded and the little seedlings have just started to come up. Saw plenty of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies today. Sat right next to one feeding from a dandelion flower.