September 2019

30th September: After weeks of waiting for rain, it all came at once! Tuesday saw flooded roads and high winds, which continued on and off right through to yesterday. It was certainly good for the ground though, which has been woefuly short of water for a long old stretch

I am currently on the Isle of Wight on a fishing holiday with my brother, and the few days before I left were really busy, as I wanted to deal with any fruit or vegetables likely to spoil in my absence. Consequently there was a flurry of preserving in the kitchen, and some of these have been included in...

Harvest Monday. We start off with Sweet Peppers, which are really good this year. The plants are mainly from the remains of a three year old packet of Mixed Pepper seed from Kings Seeds.The The past two years almost all the plants have produced cream coloured fruit, so I am especially pleased with this colourful selection, so much so I have brought them on holiday with me so we can enjoy them in a salad or two

Courgettes. growing outside have given up the ghost now, but under cover there is that old faithful Parthenon, which grows fruit at a steady rate. These two were a little larger than I would have usually picked them, but having not visited the plot for two days, there they were as though by magic

A large loaf cake used one up, and I managed to find a grateful recipient for the other. The cake is Pear & Pecan, and the recipe will soon appear. It is very moist and is lasting well in an airtight box

There were more Discovery Apples ready to harvest, and although most were good enough to store in a box in the garage for a while, so needed using straight away. I really don't need more dried apple rings so I thought I'd have a go at crisps instead. They are very good and are now in airtight plastic bags, the sort designed for freezing soup in, so I'll have to see how they are when I get back. Usually I store whatever I dehydrate in jars, but these bags should be just as good

Interestingly, the slices of Discovery apples came off the trays easily whilst the Lord Derby slices stuck.. I had one green apple in the bowl so thought I'd see how that worked... not so good, which I must remember

There were half a dozen Diva Cucumbers ready to pick, which were made into Dill Pickles. There ere two self sown Dill plants large enough to cut, thank goodness

The outdoor Tomatoes, which are all blight Resistant Varieties (Crimson Crush, Ferline & Mountain Magic), ae now succumbing to the disease, and several affected fruits had to be discarded.  I picked all the ones which showed any sign of ripening, to take home and keep in the fridge for this week, plus of course any red ones. There were quite a lot, so a batch of Tomato & Basil sauce was the best use for them I could think of. Basil has been its usual generous self, and I picked  a large bunch to take home for the sauce

On the Plots:

After my revelation last week about the possibilities of Forest Gardenng, I thought it was time I actually got a plan together and start to tidy up across both plots. The persistent rain meant the the soil was damp enough for seed sowing again, and of course for planting too.

 The Cutting Bed on #145 is now sown with early flowering annuals, and I have planted seedlings of the overwintering Japanese Onion Senshyu Yellow, given to me by a plot friend. These are in a space vacatated by Potoatoes,on #146, and look very fragile. Onions seedlings always do though, so I am optimistic about their chances. I shall be protecting them from the attentions of Onion Fly etc with fine mesh when I get back. Hopefully this will mean I can look forward to some decent bulbs early next Summer

I found a tray of Radicchio seedlings I had forgotten about, and planted these alongside the onions. Most looked like decent plants but there were a couple of weedy looking ones: let's hope they all grow

Across #146 there is a fair bit of clearing of spent crops to be done, but the plants in the Brassica bed are thriving, despite a few Small White Butterflies finding their way in, resulting in some leaf daamage. Lots of the Cavelo Nero Kale has been harvested so the plant look a little spindly, but they should carry on producing leaves for a while yet. All in all, pretty pleased with this bed

 And for Penny, who asked how my Parsnips were faring, here they are (on #145). I have had a bit of  a furtle around the crowns, and they look as though they might be a decent size down there, but you never really know what is going on under the ground until harvest time arrives.

All I can say is that their leaves are still growing, which presumably means roots are still growing too. A I said, we shall see......

 

 

My tidying up stretched to the wildlife pond on ~#145 too, and I removed lots of excess plant growth so there is plenty of clear water again. Since the time ducks visited, I have tried to obstruct them with twiggy sticks and pieced of wood, but these don't stop small birds from drinking or bathing there.

I am pleased with how the Erigeron (E karvinskiansus) has spread this year. Some has seeded into a nearby trough, as well as amongst the paving slabs, and it adds to the cover for froglets, and indeed mature frogs or grass snakes visiting the pond

Cosmos also self sowed, and there are lots that have just popped up alongside paths or at the end of veg beds. They have been quite late in getting going, but are now bursting into bloom to give  a good show in a range of pinks and whites

Goodness knows where one plant has come from, with tiny extra petals around the centre. I hope there are more of these next year as it is especially pretty

And at this time i the year the Dahlias put on a colourful display  too, so here are a few to share with you

 

In the Polytunnels:

The overwintering Brassicas are growing fast now, but there are signs that voles are starting to harvest leaf stems, whic is not good. I am hoping the the bait boxes i have put down inside the tunnel control this before it too much damage occurs

 

I have grown far fewer chillies this year, but certainly enough for my own use. This one is Golden Greek, which is a mild variety. apparently very good pickled, but I haven't done this myself.. and I did initially think there had been a mix up either with labelling, or with the seeds supplied. I imagined Golden Greek would be a yellow fruited plant, but in fact, having looked this up, it is called Golden due to the colour of the unripe fruit, and ripe fruit is in fact bright red. So now I know!

Either way, there are plenty of fruits on the plant to use, and it is still flowering too. It is not a massive plant so I am wondering it is would overwinter at home?  I shall have enough space in the greenhouse I think

 

Aubergines have been successful this year after the last couple of years of poor (or no) harvests. These are bought-in grafted plants on Moneymarker, and have provided enough fruits to be worth the extra cost, plus the enjoyment of harvesting a crop I find a challenge

After slowing down a little, they are now covered in deep purple flowers once more. Keeping them in the netted section of the tunnels has worked well, as they had plenty of light and air and  the benfit of any dew to maintain good humidity, but now that temperatures at night are starting  to fall, I shall take them home to keep in the cosier environment of the greenhouse. Hopefully those flowers can then develop into fruit. 

I have now sown Spring Onion seeds (Winter White Lisbon) in modules, plus some Rocket and Winter Density Lettuce in trays. Bythe time they are ready to transplant, there should be space soewhere in the beds for them

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I spotted a very small Melon hanging from the wire shelving, so I hope it will ripen before the weather turns cold

 

And as I am on a week's fishing holiday I thought I'd better show you I really do actually catch fish, even if this Bass was far too small to keep. He was a bit of a thorny customer though and managed to poke a hole in my brother's thumb during his photo-call. Five more followed during the next three hours, before the tide was then too far up the beach for us to stay.

A very pleasant morning indeed

I hope you all enjoy the coming week too. Thank you to those of you who take the time to comment, it is good to know there are people out there really reading this! And of course if you have any questions, please do just ask

PS The requested recipe for Aubergine Pickle has not been forotten. I shall try to do it tomorrow between fishing trips,

My contact email is

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com/

23rd September: What to do with the top end of #145 now that the Cherry tree is crown lifted?.... after mulling things over, a bit of planning on paper, much dreaming in the wee small hours, I realised that the top half of #145 has several trees more than ten years old, some slightly younger, a few shrubs, raspberry canes, herbs, both perennial and self seeding, plus the two beds now allocated to flower. Hmmm, sounds awfully like the bones of forest gardening doesn't it? More about this idea later

Lets' start with Harvest Monday. Hope some of you enjoyed looking at Dave's pages and the growers who link with Harvest Monday last week.

Here, it has been Apple Week for sure this week, with the main harvest being gathered before too many more fell off and were bruised

 

As I said last week, it has certainly been worth the effort of dramatically thinning the number of fruit carried in early Summer. These here are some of those being stored now for eating later although the Discovery will not keep for too long, somehow not being desinged for long term storage. The Greensleeves should keep unitl the end of the year, and LOrd Derby cooking apples have  afew weeks in them at least

 

And the James Geaves are so good to eat this is all that is left! 

Lots of the Greensleeves, whilst sound, have these dark marks on their skins, which don't look all that appetising. They are only skin deep though, and are easily dealt with by peeling them. I am not quite sure what has caused this. It doesn't seem to  be pest related, so perhaps it is a reslt of a mineral deficiency. I shall try to find out as then perhap I can prevent it next year. I have noticed that some of the Golden Delicous in the garden, which won't be ripe for several week yet, also have these mark

 

Most of the smaller apples, and those with blemished skins, have been peeled and chopped for unsweetened Apple Sauce. This is such a  versatile way of storing  alot of apple in a relatively small space (these are 500ml jars), and it can be jazzed up with dried fruit, spices etc to go in apple pie or apple tart, especially with the addition of some sliced apple to vary the texture, as well as just eaten as it is, with good thick Greek yoghourt

There is still a box of small ones though, which are gardually being used to make apple juice to drink fresh. Different apples give different coloured and flavoured juices. The juicer I have deals with roughly cut apples, core, peel and all, leaving a finely chopped, wrung out residue, which can go straight into the compost bin

  • Discovery apples give a sweet, deep pink drink from this extra tasty dessert variety

  • Lord Derby juice is much sharper, as you would expect from a cooking variety

I've not yet made any pear juice (will it be gritty?) as although the pears are ripe enough to pick they are still quite hard. My neighbour gave me a couple more this morning, but all the Pears are going to sit in the fruit bowl for a week or two yet

Another success of this Summer are Aubergines, which have a new lease of life now, with more fruits developing and lots of beautiful dark purple flowers. Temperatures at night are much lower now though, so I am a little worried the plants might think it is time to stop growing. I might take them home to the slightly cosier greenhouse in the hope they can be cosseted along for a little longer so those flowers can set fruit and develop them to a decent size

 

There were enough to make a decent batch of Indian-style Spicy Aubergne Pickle. I salted them for several hours, to firm them up so they didn't completely disintegrate into the pickle but retained some texture, which I prefer. They do need to be rinsed well though or the end result is far too salty!

And now it can sit for a few weeks to mature and mellow, in the dark and cool of the garage

 

These two Cherry Bomb Chillies were in the pickle too. This has not been the best year for chillies on my plot, although other people have amazing harvests.These two are not even the same size!! However, as I have lots of dried chillies left from last year, it will not be a hardship exactly.  In a week or two I'll do a round up to share what I do have

 

I do have to mention Basil though, which has been just superb. Every week I have huge handfuls of fragrant loveliness, to enhance tomato dishes, eat in salads or whip up a pesto. Just wonderful

On the Plots:

Now let's look again at the idea of a Forest Garden.

First requirement: Trees. In an area 10m by 12m there are a cherry and a plum, which are far from dwarf, a young greengage which might well get quite large,  two dwarf apples and an ornamental cherry with plum coloured leaves Tick

Second requirement: Shrub layer, ideally to give edible crops. Autumn fruiting raspberry canes planted this Spring, Rosa rugosa for those luscious hips... could do with a few more of these, but they do sucker... blackberries on wires along the boundary, lavender and rosemary on the outer boundary where they get sunshine, plus sage BUT might get an Aronia, which could replace a large sedge which adds nothing useful really

Third requirement: Perennials which are edible, soil enhancing or insect attracting. Rhubarb, comfrey, chives, swathes of muscari in the Spring, Will add WIld Garlic from thr patch at the other end of #145

Fourth requirement: Climbing plants, again edible or otherwise useful. Clematis, trachelospermum and evergreen honeysuckle. This last has birds nesting in it every year, and all provide plenty of nectar. Could do with more Half a Tick Probably try to introduce a perennial sweetpea from self sown seedlings

Fifth requirement: self seeding plants which feed pollinating insects. Parsley, chives, calendula, love-in-the-mist, foxgloves, poppies, Verbena bonariensis, physelia, hedge garlic, honesty, feverfew, antirrhinums, toadflax, dill, fennel. Tick  In addition, one bed is already now being turned over to wild flowers and one to flowers for cutting. These last may not necessarily meet the forest specifications, but that is fine... it about doing what suits, not slavishly following "rules" 

Sixth requirement: space in which root vegetables and climbing vegetables can be grown, not necessarly as a mono-culture. OK, well here is where things are not ideal. There is however a space on the southern edge for carrots, and climbing beans will be incorporated. There is also  a bed which I can use for Autumn planted onions , then  leaving some to flower . Quarter of a tick

So looking at al that, I do wonder why I have ben trying to grow vergetables in spaces where they are not best fitted, instead of embracing what is thriving already and building on that

I am not however intending to abandon the bed rotation in other parts of the plots. I shall still have  a large brassica bed for example, because in that way it s easier for me to protect the plants against flying pests of all sizes. We shall have to see how it goes. One step at a time

Oh and the annuals sown in the cutitng -bed are mainly self seeding ones that will flower much earlier than those sown in the Spring, which will extend their flowering season. 

 

`

In the Polytunnels

Cucumbers are still arriving, so plenty more pickles to come, flavoured with some of that self sown dill. The leaves are looking a bit worn now though so trimmed lots off, as I did with the courgette plant too.  At a rate of two or three courgettes a week, it is just about right for me, with the occasional one to share

I've sown Blue Moon & Pink Moon radishes again, after last Winter's success, and hope they do as well again this year. A short row of Perpetual Spinach is in now too, which should give enough plants for setting out around late October, in the space where the Courgette is currently

All the Brassicas are growing quite quickly and I have firmed the soil well around them now, which is not to the liking of the moles (good!)

Overall, everything seems to be doing OK in the sheltered environment, although with the nigh time temperatures much lower now, it won't be long before i have to take the net dividing strip down and separate the two tunnel again by closing the rear doors

Earlier this week I visited a flower farm a few miles away, at Little Stoke near Wallingford, called Gorgeous and Green. I really enjoyed seeing the range that was grown, as well as the cultivation methods. Some. like the precious roses, were part protected by a polytunnel with its sides raised, while others were grown in the open ground. What I came away with though was how much space was left between sections, and how well supported the plants were, either by each other, or by a horizontal net pulled taught. Both thing to think about in the coming growing season

  • Zinnias

  • Delphiniums

 

But the stars of the show for me were the roses, most of which smelt good enough to eat, and some that had such perfectly furled petals they wer almost unreal

And that is where I will stop this week, with that thought that no matter how long you have been growing, there are always new ideas to explore and learn about. One of the things I love about it!

My contact email is

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com/

16th September - Still dry as a bone round here, but now I know where all the rain is: up in Yorkshire! After spending a few days staying with friends in Wetherby, I realised their ground is not dust dry like it is here, and it even rains real rain, not just a sprinkle that evaporates before it even has a chance to soak in. The effort it took to dig up the rest of the maincrop potatoes this afternoon  beggaars belief. Somehow it seems even drier than last Summer

Having been away, had a family wedding and a birthday celebration, I really haven't had time to do as much as I should have this week, but it is head down for the next couple of weeks to try to get things in better shape as we move into Autumn. 

Before we start the usual look at the week's harvests, I need to explain the header picture. Right back in the Spring I gave my daughter's family a Tromboncino plant (needless to say mine then chose not to grow at all) and it obviously was well cared for because just look... a squash almost as tall as an 11 year old dressed in a velvet shark suit on her birthday! What a sight the two of them make together!!!

OK. My harvests are not really as interesting as that squash, but for what they are worth, here is my contribution to Harvest Monday. In case  any of you don't realise, there is a small group of growers from around the globe who come together each week to share photos of our harvests, be they good, poor or indifferent, hosted by Dave's site Our Happy Acres. The link is always there at the end of  my blog, should you want to take a look.

 

A first for this year are Pears: Williams Bon Chretien, which ripens well on the tree. This is the whole extent of the crop this year, as the blossom at the top of the tree was frosted in the Spring but one little low down branch escaped. Very good they are too. The top of the Concorde tree in the garden snapped last year under the weight of fruit, so currently there are are no pears to pick, but the trees at the plot do have a few fruits to look forward to

 

 

These are the maincrop Potatoes that were such difficult digging. They are a bit of a mishmash, with some Pink Gypsies that got ledt behind form the first digging, some rather nice Setantas, and lots os small and knobbly dark skinned tubers, which are from the blue and red unnamed varieties the gardn children were given at the Potato Day back in January. In a better year, these may have been a good crop, but less than ideal water levels, they didn't do too well. BUT just look at the Setanta tubers, big baking potato sized ones, growing with the same amount of water as the others. They are on the list again for next year for sure!

Other crops have certainly slowed down. The outdoor Tomatoes are ripening slowly, with enough this week for some pasta sauce and additons to salad, Aubergines are almost at a full stop, Cucumbers on a go-slow, and Courgettes just about keeping up with a couple a week. Definitely moving in Autumn

'Dahlias are doing all alright though! I was especially pleased to see this yellow and red one in flower at last. I was beginning to think that it may have been a casualty last Winter, as due to not lablleing them securely I didn't know which was which when I planted them. One or two had dried out and so weren't planted, but I was glad this one had survived.

On the Plots:

Lots of the beds are looking a bit sad now, a bit weedy and very dry. Voles have stripped the leaves from most of the savoy cabbages and calabrese on '#145, which is disappointing, but so far the brassicas on #146 have escaped their attention. Plot neighbours are also finding these litttle rodents a real pest this year, as their numbers seem to have built up again. Climbing beans are finished, and the only crops that seem to be alright are carrots, hopefully parsnips (I haven't dug any yet to see, but there are plenty of leaves) and lettuces

The strawberry plants in the growbags and troughs on the table are struggling now in the wind and sunshine. Their older leaves do naturally die off at this time in the year, so I cut off all the ones which had turned red, to reduce the amount of water the plants are losing through transpiration. They do look much better and at least If I can't get to water them every day are now more likely to survive

  • Lots of the leaves had already turned red

  • So I cut these and any stray runners right off

The cherry tree we planted ten years ago is far from  as dwarf as it was described on the label,  and is now far too large for the space, heavily shading three of the vegetable beds and of course sucking up gallons of water too. With some much appreciated help from a plot neighbour, the job of crown lifiing is underway, and you can already see the different some work with the loppers has made. Removing that lpwer ring of bri=anches will improve things further, and then I can top prune it in the same way I do each September. Hopefully the work will be finished by the end of the week

In the Polytunnels:

A mole has taken up residence in the bed where the new brassica plants are, so I shall be moving one of the mole scarers in, hoping that it will get enough light to stay charged, and make its noisy underground vibrations. I tread the ground down every day but it is not ideal for developing roots. 

 

 

And that really is all I can offer this week. I couldn't resist taking this picture of a Peacock butterfly on this gorgeous yellow buddleia. I have tried several times to grow one of these plants from cuttings, but without success. There were several of them in full flower in a garden near Wetherby.which reminded me how much I like them: maybe I shall try to find one to buy, as it would be lovely in the garden at home.

And if you'd like to check out Harvest Monday posts from other bloggers, the link is below.

 shall be back next week, a little further forward in preparations for the end of the year I hope

My contact email is

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com/

9th September  - a glut? No, not quite!! Plenty to bring home, and so far there is a use for everything! The Gherkins and Cucumbers have suddenly produced fruit, and I have made four jars of Pickled Gherkins and two of Dilly Cucumber Pickle (Recipe in Pickled 2017 October)

Harvest Monday does have plenty of interest:

Let's start with Tomatoes  The plants in the polytunnel have totally succumbed to Late Blight, so they have all now been removed. The San Marzanos hung on the longest, and there were 8 really nice ones to pick.

The others have all been harvested from the plants outside, and will make a decent amount of sauce for bottling.  I was beginning to think I wouldn't have enough tomatoes to make even one bach this year, so I am quite relieved that both fridge drawers are full of bright red tomatoes!

Then there are Diva Cucumbers, which seem to be incredibly slow this year. I have picked 8 this week, giving enough for Dilly Piackles as well as eating fresh

I had planned to pick the Gherkins when they were really small, but there seemed to be hardly any ready at the sae time. Picking them larger and slicing them gives much more volume to work with,and two plnts seems about right after all

Courgettes are still very slow to produce fruit, and I am glad to have that single Parthenon in the polytunnel, as if it were left to the plants outside there would be a distinct lack! I made a Courgette and Banana cake this week, with much less sugar that usual, and it turned our to be quite good.

Sweet Peppers are now beginning to ripen, and I picked one nice red one this week: Marconi Long. I shall have to take away some of the Coriander around them to make sure they get sufficient light and air now

Aubergines have been going along well until a cold spell, when they stopped flowering. It is not lack of food. There are still lots of immature fruits though, so all is not lost. I shall use the ones I picked this week for making Indian-style pickle

Lettuce is still available, and these crispy curly ones lend themselves to harvesting leaves as they are needed, although this one was quite small so I cut the whole plant

Other harvests include Coriander leaves and green seeds, Dill, both leaves and flowers, Rosemary and Carrots

And I have also cut several bunches of Dahlias and small flowers Sunflowers too. The sunflower plants blew down in the recent high winds, but are continuing to flower at ground level, which also makes them easy to pick

Early Apples are ripening now, so I am picking over the Discovery tree quite often, to try to ensure ripe fruit doesn't just fall off onto the ground. Thinning the young fruit down earlier in the Summer does seem to have paid off as there are lots of good-sized apples now

On the plots I am still gathering windfall Lord Derby apples. Most of these that fall have some internaal maggot damage, but they can still be chopped and used for all sorts. Blackberry & Apple compote has been one this week.

On the Plots

Apart from watering and harvesting,, I have done very little outside this week. The ground is still too dry for seed sowing, and although i am itching to get going with the cuttung flower bed, I don't think anyhting much would surviev right now.

I have been trying to work out where each crop will be planted next season, so that soil preparation can get underway. There is plenty of compost and manure, but I need to make sure I add it where it is will be most beneficial

 

In the Polytunnels:

I may not have done all that much out on the plots this week, but I have really cracked on under cover. All the old Tomato haulms are out now, and the soil in the borders where these grew, and where the Onons were, has had the compost from the potato barrel incorporated, together with some Blood, Fish and Bone

Now, one complete bed has been replanted: Spring Cabbage, Khol Rabi, Tenderstem Broccoli and Dwarf Green Curly Kale are all neatly in the ground. A few chicken manure pellets in each planting hole should help them on their way to growing new leaves

 

 

At home in the garden, I have revisited the bramble situation and cut out half a bin full of wayward growth. I am determined not to let it get so bad again,

My son and his wife kindly pulled out masses of waterplants from the garden pond, meaning the fish have plenty of open water to swim about in now. It is really nice to be able to see them again. There is enough weed left to provide Winter cover for the fish, amphibians and invertebrates that live there.  I shall have to deal with the little pond at the plot

And there I shall stop. I hope your harvests are going well.. thank you for reading and for so many kind comments. I really appreciate you taking the time

My contact email is

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com/

2nd September _ Our local Horticutural Show came around all too soon this year, and as always it was abit of a rush to get things ready. Unlike other years though, I only entered a few Classes. It did sem a little bit weird doing it without Abi, but all my granddaughters entered all the Children's Classes, as well as one or two of the Open Classes, and my Daughter-in-Law entered some of the Craft Classes, so I had plenty of company. 

I was delighted that those Blue Belle potatoes grown on behalf of Abi came good. It was a terrfifc crop from five tubers, but as always, finding five that matched, not only in shape and size but markings too was a huge challenge. There is always a really good group of four, or a set of three, but five.... a different story!

They were grown in a tree tub, in a mix of multipurpose comost and local recycled green waste, with an open-ended bottle upside down in the centre to aid even watering. Thye had a coupe of feeds of blood, Fish & Bone through the season, and the haulms were still green, albeit straggly, when I came to harvest them. They certainly fared better than the tubers in the ground, mainly I suspect because they were better looked after!

These were some of the best sized carrots I have ever harvested, and they were grown in the ground too, not in boxes or barrels. As lots of you will remember, I sowed both F1 Primo and open-pollinated Nantes 5 alongside each other, to see which gave the better value, as the hybrid seed was twice the price for half the seed. These are Primo, and they have done well, even getting proper "stumped" roots

This was what was dug from 2m of row, together with a box of twisty "soup carrots", which have already mostly been eaten. Once I have dug the Nantes, a proper comparison can be made, but right now it looks like they will hve to go some to beat these. The flavour was very good indeed too: a friend who I shared some with commented they smelt as good as a bouquet of flowers, and they certainly are richly carrotty!

The Onions are Showmaster, and although they have not done as well as the Globos last year, lots of growers are saying onions have not been as large, so perhaps it is not a fair comparison. One was big enough to win the Heaviest Onion at 786g: last year's entry was more than twice that weight though 

Growing them in the protection of the polytunnel not only prevented damage from insect pests but gave some shelter from the baking heat of the sun too, and more even soil moisture

The biggest surprise of all were the green peppers. Last year, almost every entry in the "Any Other Vegetable Class" was a chilli of some kind or another, the committee agreed to  add another Class this season for Capsicums. As a family, we felt we should support this, and my daughter and her children entered five different varieties, but when I came to harvest the previously very reliable Cherry Bombs, they were not fit to put on the bench, I quickly cut a few of the Long Marconi peppers, sorted out three that were similar in size and shape and in they went... Best Vegetable in Show!!

 

Here are some of the Children's entries: Floating Flowers

 and the Muffins

The two youngest cousins shared the Junior Cup, and the closely contested Senior Cup was won by our ten year old, who was also awarded a First for her Pickled Chillies in the Open Preserves Classes. Her older sister excelled in the Open Art Classes, with a first and a second for her terrific drawings. So good to see them enjoying the day, and then on the way home planning what they might do next year. I can see my long standing success with the Fothergill Cup for the Best Pot Plant Grown From Seed is going to have some serious competition from here on! 

 

 

 

 

Usually I enter almost all of the Flower Categories, but this year In only put in some dahlias:  three matched blooms

and five mixed blooms (one seems to have slipped down in the vase as the afternoon wore on!)

which, coupled with the single bloom over 17cm being awarded a First, was enough for the Dahlia Cup. Really pleased as I have never won this before, and Dahlias were one of Abi's favourites. he would have been delighted!

I grow vegetables to eat and flowers to enjoy, rather than specially for showing, bu it is certainly a good feeling seeing the best of harvests for the time in the year displayed on the benches... a great way to celebrate some of the successes of the season alongside other growers.