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Bryn’s allotment newsletter Welcome to the first news letter from plot 3.If like us all your seeds and plants have grown and you are now wondering what to do, then I hope this newsletter will help.

September on the allotment September is the end of summer although we're often lucky to have an Indian summer with blue skies and sunshine, nothing is certain with the weather. The bulk of the harvest comes home now and as crops come out and the plot begins to empty it’s time to plant for next spring and decide on planting locations for next year The main crop potatoes are ready now. Blight has struck our potatoes so to preserve the crop I will remove the haulm and dispose of it in the green recycling bag then leave the potatoes in the ground for a fortnight to stop the spores getting onto the tubers. The potatoes will be harvested fairly early in the day, and I will then leave them in the sunlight for the rest of the day to thoroughly dry off and harden the skins before storing. Clean and sort carefully and place good potatoes into Hessian or paper sacks in a cool dark but frost free place. Damaged tubers will be used first, the sacks will be checked periodically for pest damage and rot. When you harvest your potatoes take care to remove all the tubers. Any left will sprout next year and becomes a weed but will also be a reservoir for disease and potato blight spores. It's often worth forking over a few days after harvesting potatoes because more seem to miraculously appear.

Onions The leaves on the onions are starting to turn brown; I have bent all the tops over to allow the onions to set. These will then be lifted on a dry day next week and put to dry off the ground I will then string them ready to hang in the greenhouse for storage. The garden centre now have red and white onion sets in , I have some and they will be planted this month and this should give us onions 3 to 4 weeks earlier next year. Also winter spring onions will be planted this month. This is why we need to plan the planting rotation for next season

The Mangetout peas I planted bank holiday Monday are now showing above ground we will also be planting broad beans this month if you buy them make sure you by the winter variety. The runner beans are still in full bloom producing young fresh beans hopefully until the first frosts, pick hard to keep the plants producing. We’ve had a good crop of radish this year and the rat tail radish have grown like a triffid. We let a few of the radish go to seed and these can be added to salads they have a flavour not unlike peas with a slightly peppery taste.

The compost heap The compost heap is filling up quickly now, a good supply of compost will be needed next season to keep the soil in good condition. Our bin is about 3’x3’x3’ A bigger volume of material gives the bacteria more to work on, so it heats up more easily and stays hot longer. The heap should be damp but not wet protect it from the rain. Speed up the process of braking down the Nitrogen and carbon by turning the contents introducing Oxygen back into the centre. What to add to the compost heap We need to add carbon and nitrogen at a rate of 1:2 these are described as browns and greens Carbonaceous (brown) material is dry, dead matter, such as old stalks, egg boxes, twigs, sawdust; Nitrogenous (green) material is sappy and damp, such as green cabbage leaves, grass cuttings, vegetable peelings, rotting fruit. Make sure that the material is well chopped, cabbage stalks should be crushed You want small pieces that mix together easily, so the browns and greens are well distributed and not all in one lump. This will also help when it comes to turn the compost later. I will also add some fresh horse manure to act as an activator and a hand full of lime

Rat tail radish

Marrow & Courgette Chutney Recipe Ingredients: 1 kg Marrow 500 g Courgette 1 Large Onion 1 Large Cooking Apple 250 g Raisins 1 tbsp of mustard seed 125 g Golden Granulated sugar 1 Pint of Malt Vinegar 1 tbsp of salt

Method: Peel & chop marrow in to small cubes, don’t forget to remove seeds. Peel & roughly chop courgette and apples, don’t forget to take out apple core. Finely chop onion. Put all your chopped stuff in to a big pan with raisins, salt, mustard seed, sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil slowly then simmer gently, don’t cover pan with lid. When mixture is cooked and thick pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Leave mixture in cool, dark place for 2 – 3 weeks before consuming. Goes lovely with cheese or cold meats.

Next issue. Storing all those vegetables, what to do on the plot in October and slow whiskey

If you have found this news letter useful let me know or if you do not wish to be included Email me and I will remove you from the mail list

Allotment Newsletter September 2011  

The Crucorney Allotment society Newsletter

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