Time to put the Allotment to Sleep

Well, it looks as though the Indian Summer is over and autumn is well on its way. The date and venue for the VPA Annual General Meeting will be announced in the November issue of the Upton News and Blewbury Bulletin. A notice will also be in the Blewbury Post Office. It doesn’t look as though Covid is going away any time soon – so please keep yourselves well and safe.  We won’t be holding our Christmas Social, given that so many people are still observing social distancing.

Meanwhile, this is the time to start putting the allotments to sleep. It’s been a bit harder this year because I’ve given up trying to compost. The problem is there’s not enough variety and mixture of vegetation to help with the composting and it therefore takes a long long time to decompose. The problem is it also becomes a nesting site for rats (not my favourite rodent). We all know that rats are commonplace on allotment sites but I do try to keep them away from my plots.

Despite the strange weather pattern we had this season, the allotment has provided some pretty good produce. Unfortunately, the tomatoes were hit with blight but I had managed to pick some green ones beforehand and made a few jars of tomato chutney. Surprisingly the potatoes were not affected. I have dug up four rows of potatoes this weekend (last weekend of September) and was delighted at the size and quality – if I store them properly I should have enough to see me through the winter. I have three more rows to dig – the ground is so hard because of lack of rain it’s taking longer than usual.

I have a bit of sad news. Pumpkin, my little white hen was taken ill last month. It was all very sudden – she was very quiet on the Sunday and I put it down to it being because it was one of the very hot days. On the Monday morning she didn’t run up to me like she always did and I could see that she was having a problem breathing. I took her to the vet and was given the news that Pumpkin had a respiratory infection and there was nothing they could do for her. She is now in chicken heaven. Fortunately, the other three girls didn’t catch it and are all fighting fit. I think they missed her initially but have now settled down as a threesome.

On a happier note, I picked 6lbs of plums off my tree yesterday and will be making some jam when I finish writing this newsletter. They’re not Victoria plums and I need to find the label to see what variety they are – the tree is only three years old and this is the best crop I’ve had.

I’m hoping the weather holds so I can put the plots to bed before it gets really wet – the soil is clay so you can probably imagine what it’s like!

DID YOU KNOW?  Blackurrants contain more than four times as much vitamin C as oranges and Dried Figs contain about 60 percent sugar, making them an excellent energy snack.

Happy Gardening – Keep Safe