I go to the plot most days. I find it relaxing, convivial, productive, frustrating – what else would an old retired man be doing. Unless I have a specific project I normally spend no more than two hours there each visit. I’m also quiet good at having specific tasks to do and sticking to them. There is always the temptation of starting a job, seeing something else that needs doing, moving to that, and end up not completing anything. I’m even sad enough to write a list of the jobs for the day – and sticking to it. I find this particularly important at this time of year with harvesting. If I don’t have a list of what’s to be gathered I’m bound to forget something. This is probably because harvesting is the last task of the day, then I tend to hurry and my mind wanders onto what has to be done at home. Oh, the pressure of it all. I know, get a life.
At present on the plot I’m finding it’s increasingly centred towards preparing for winter. This week I tidied up the strawberry beds . I have used phormisol weed control membrane (available in the shop, very reasonably priced) for my strawberry beds. I found that using straw to protect the fruit was messy, and also seeded themselves, thus creating more weeds. So I laid down the phormisol, and then cut holes for the plants to go. All very easy, if time consuming. But the plants tend to get straggly, go roaming, and produce lots of runners. So this week I trimmed each plant and gave them a feed, which will hopefully see them through the winter.
The variety I have grown for the last two years is Marshmallow which really is a winner in terms of flavour and size. Last year was bumper crop but this year they started well but faded badly. Also some of the plants gave up the ghost and died. I’ve rooted runners and replanted and I’ll see what happens next year. I just hope they’re not a one year wonder.
I also planted this year a variety Florence from Thompson & Morgan which is billed as a late season variety but fruited before Marshmallow. Oh well, I’ll see what happens next year.
I also this week tidied up the melon and cucumber plants. I’m growing three of each in the greenhouse. The leaves were becoming yellow and frizzled and weren’t looking healthy at all. It’s difficult to see but I think they were attacked by red spider mite. So I pruned the leaves back rather ruthlessly. We’ve already eaten two melons and there are another six ripening, but I think that’s it for the year. There’s also a few more cucumbers coming, so I hope my ruthlessness doesn’t harm them.
The tomato plants in the polytunnel also received a clean up. In a previous blog I described how I was letting the plants grow to see how many trusses will be productive. Well, the plant with most trusses is now up to eleven. The fruit on the tenth truss is just swelling and the eleventh is still in flower. I’ll keep them going to see what happens.
But the main joy at present is the dahlia bed. They really are a treat. Oh, what a picture, what a photograph – I couldn’t stand tha
t song – Flash, Bang, Wallop by Tommy Steele I think – too much false bonhomie- ughh.
Back to being a miserable old git.