Saturday 23 October 2021

Life on the Weald - September 2021

 Life on the Weald - September 2021

(and in the garden)

At the beginning of the month we had a plentiful supply of tomatoes and home

1 September - Purple Princess

1 September - Cherribelle tomatoes

2 September - tomato harvest
Summerlast, Patano Romano & Cherribelle

2 September - Patano Romano

2 September - Cherribelle

2 September - Corazon and Patano

At the allotment the chillies were also thriving, although the Demon Red, given to me by my son, Damien, were only just beginning to flower.

2 September - Basket of Fire

2 September - Demon Red chillies

2 September - Apache

2 September - Apache, Basket of Fire and Anaheim

We had a good crop of borlotto beans and the pumpkins were doing well and we had a proliferation of tromboncinos.

2 September - Borlotto beans

2 September - pumpkin (quintal giallo)

2 September - pumpkin

2 September - Tromboncino

2 September - Tromboncino

2 September - Tromboncino

We were also able to pick some plums

2 September - Gathering of plums

Despite a large haul of tomatoes the previous day, we had a further large harvest of tomatoes on 3 September

3 September - yet more tomatoes

A new supply of wood chippings/prunings to the site provided an opportunity to continue renovating the footpath.

3 September - repairing the footpath

Our first aubergine was doing well and we used some of the wood chips to provide a mulch.
3 September - Aubergine

We picked more chillies and our first gherkin!

3 September - Anaheim, Basket of Fire & Apache chillies and a gherkin

There was also a plentiful supply of cucumbers.

Sadly, labels got lost or mixed up when the mini-greenhouse blew down earlier in the year but I think these are Kung Pau which my son, Damien, gave me.

Kung Pau chillies

Kung Pau chillies

What to do with so many tomatoes? We love sun-dried tomatoes but sadly lack the sunshine so I decided to oven-dry the cherry tomatoes - some of which we have frozen and some kept in olive oil.  They're great to add to pasta and sauces or just eat them like sweets!

Cherry tomatoes ready for the fan oven on its lowest setting...

...the same tomatoes after drying

At home, more of the Super Mama tomatoes were beginning to ripen.

3 September - Tomatoes, Super Mama

The week beginning 6 September was without rain and saw temperatures rising to 29C, cooling off towards the end of the week but still in the twenties.

The pumpkins and tromboncinos were growing larger every day.  I had bought the seeds for the pumpkins in a Spanish 2€ shop but the seeds are Italian - they were called Zucca quintale seme giallo which I think translates as Pumpkin seeds, a hundredweight yellow. They're very large but I wonder if they will weigh a hundreweight ?- that's 100 kg or around 220 lbs!

6 Sept - pumpkins (quintal giallo)

The seed packet reads 
Grossissima di forma rotondeggiante leggermente costulata schiacciata ai poli.
Scorza di in bel colore giallo-arancio, polpa gialla, zuccherina, molta conservabile
which I understand translates as:

Very large, slightly ribbed rounded shape, flattened at the poles.
Peel of a beautiful yellow-orange color, yellow pulp, sugary, good for storing.

The tromboncinos sound less exotic and come from a packet of seeds from a local garden centre. They do, however, impress the neighbours.

6 Sept - Tromboncino

6 Sept - Tromboncino

At last our Patty Pan squashes were beginning to set.

6 Sept - Patty Pan squash

We have 3 Crown Prince squashes. I think they are inappropriately named as they seem to be everyone's favourite, so perhaps should be called "the King of squashes" (or perhaps more accurately, biologically "Queen")

6 September - Crown Prince Squash

The late sown purple French beans were ready for picking and the green ones sown at the same time were in flower and just setting.

6 September - Purple Teepee French beans

6 September - green French beans (Ferrari)

The week had been a scorcher and although it cooled slightly towards the weekend, temperatures remained in the twenties. Great weather for ripening the plums which were ready for picking.

6 September - Plums

On Wednesday 8 September we harvested yet more tomatoes

8 September - more tomatoes!

8 September lunch

After a tomato lunch it was time to do decide what to do with the plums - Pflaumenkuchen was the answer!

8 September - Pflaumenkuchen in the making

Pflaumenkuchen - the result 😃

On 9 September  we harvested some Padron peppers.

9 September - pimientos de padron

We also had a glut of courgettes/marrows so, on 10 September, out came the spiraliser and we made courgette fritters with potato and parmesan, frying some for immediate consumption and baking others for the freezer.

Courgette fritters

Oven baked courgette fritters

On 12 September we harvested more courgettes, a tromboncino and some patty pan squashes.

12 September - squashes

The borlotto beans looked ready to pick but as we had a surplus of fresh vegetables decided to leave them to ripen and dry.

12 September - borlotto beans
(firetongue - lingua di fuocco)

I checked the pumpkins to ensure they were OK and was pleased that they showed no signs of pest damage or disease. In the past some have been attacked when immature by slugs or nibbled by rodents.

12 September - checking the pumpkins

There was a plentiful supply of purple French beans to be harvested.

12 September - French beans (purple teepee)

There were more tromboncinos to pick.  When young and green they can be treated like a courgette but when golden and hardening off they are similar to a butternut squash.  This one was destined for a coconut curry.

12 September - tromboncino

The gherkins were getting rather large so I picked some for pickling.

12 September - Gherkins

In mid-September we abandoned the allotment and took off for a mini-break, leaving Luke to do the watering

18 September - Luke does the watering

On our return, we decided to clear away all the undergrowth around the apple tree and to our surprise discovered two pumpkins.   These ones (Rocket F1)  had been  planted, in a raised bed, later than the others, close to the apple tree. They appeared to have failed but, unbeknown to us, one stem had trailed through the jungle of weeds around the apple tree and had produced two pumpkins which we had not noticed before.

21 September - Pumpkin (Rocket)

Pumpkin (Rocket)

They were very green and I just hope that, now exposed to the light, they might ripen.

We also had regular pickings of Padron peppers...

Padron peppers

...and cucumbers. We had bought the padron and cucumber seeds in the 2€ shop in Spain at the same time as the giant yellow pumpkin seeds.

Cucumbers - pepinos

The Purple Teepee French beans had proven to be a good buy as they were very heavy croppers and they taste delicious, always tender, never a tough or stringy one.  The only disappointment is that they turn green when cooked!

Purple teepee French beans

On 23 September we began lifting the Charlotte potatoes which had produced large tubers which were disease-free.

23 Sept - Charlotte potatoes

Work on the allotment was then interrupted, firstly by the Labour Party Conference whichtook place over several days in Brighton and then we went up to London for the London Marathon and to visit old friends and family.  I took some kale and collard greens for my daughter, Zoë and a tromboncino for her to share with my grandson, Felix.

30 September - off to London with my tromboncino

It had been a very productive month.

John Austin

Hove, September 2021