Friday 5 January 2024

Life on The Weald - November 2023

Life on The Weald - November 2023

- and distractions

1 November
November started with a rainy morning and a maximum temperature of 14C with the wind getting up in the afternoon and after Storm Agnes and Babet, in previous months, we were advised that Ciarán was due to strike that evening.

2 November 
The wind was very strong in the night and a lot of the beach ended up on the promenade

4 November
The strong winds persisted although there was little damage from Ciarán in the south east compared to the rest of the country.

4 November - Hove beach

5 November
The damage on the allotment was minimal.  Most of the covering on our derelict greenhouse had been blown away and the panels for our replacement shed had blown over but everything else was intact.

5 November - greenhouse

5 November - the shed

We found a good home for the Halloween pumpkins - the compost tumbler. They look happy there.

5 November - farewell Halloween

After a stormy night, it was a bright clear day and I lifted some of the Jerusalem artichokes

5 November - Artichokes

5 November - Artichokes

The broccoli was growing taller than the cage so i raised the netting to accommodate it.

6 November
Sylvia began to re-cover the greenhouse (which is just used as a storage area) and deal with invading brambles whilst I raised the netting over the kalettes which, like the broccoli, had outgrown the cage.

raising the netting over the kalettes

In raising the netting, I disturbed the whitefly which flew around in clouds.  I decided to spray all the brassicas with an emulsion of natural oil and water with a little added soap.

I had a plentiful supply of fresh farmyard manure that our grandson, Jerome, had delivered from our allotment shop and I spread some of this on the raised beds where the onions will go in the spring. 

I am supposed to be shedding responsibilities in retirement but have recently taken on the role of communications officer on the Allotment Association Committee and am responsible for its website and social media. 

fresh manure

the onion beds

The newly sown broad beans were just beginning to germinate, so for a protection against slugs and snails I sprinkled a mixture of crushed eggshells and coffee grounds on the bed.

Broad beans beginning to sprout

I then cleared another raised bed of weeds, by hand weeding, (no digging) and laid cardboard ready for a layer of manure.

8 November
At home on a cold, dreary November day, I was wondering what to do with tromboncinos.  We have tried them roasted, in risotto, in soups, with pasta - and then I remembered I had a recipe for a Courgette Lemon Drizzle Cake so I decided to try it using tromboncino instead and I'm pleased to say it worked well.

Tromboncino Lemon Drizzle Cake

11 November
Jerome delivered another 3 barrow loads of manure, Sylvi continued to tackle invading brambles and I dismantled the bean and cucumber frames.

more manure

the old climbing bean frame

At home we decided to try one of the Crown Prince squashes

Crown Prince squash

The broad beans that we had sown in modules had sprouted and would soon be ready for plantiong out.
Broad beans

12 November
Taking advantage of the sunny weather I hand weeded another of the raised beds laid cardboard and covered with manure.

hand weeded raised bed

raised bed with layer of cardboard and manure

We harvested some red cabbage and beetroots...

red cabbage and beetroots

..... and I picked the remaining tromboncinos.

My efforts to tame the tromboncino!

13-18 November
13th and 14th were bright sunny days and ideal for gardening but unfortunately I was otherwise engaged!  The following days were not so good but I was still busy with non-allotment issues and at the weekend my eldest grandson, Felix, and his partner came down for the weekend as Felix was running the Brighton 10k on the Sunday.  It was a tough run with some rain and howling gale force winds.

Felix flying home

A first 10k for Felix

24 - 25 November
It had previously escaped my notice, but one of the trailing Crown Prince  squashes had attached itself to a low branch on the apple tree and had climbed up about two metres!  Now that the tree had lost its leaves, I discovered that the squash had fruited and there was a large one lodged in the branches!

Crown Prince  in the apple tree

Crown Prince  in the apple tree

With some difficulty I rescued the squash from apple tree...

Squash safely landed!

... and having got it home, it weighed in at a magnificent 4.5kg

4.5kg Squash

I sowed some more broad beans directly into a raised bed - you can never have too many and they freeze well. 

26 November
I continued weeding around currant bushes and where the red cabbages had grown.  I had intended to plant out the broad beans grown in pots at home but at midday the rain came down and I left the beans for another day.  Heavy rain continued for the nexty couple of days.

29 November
At last there was a brtight clear sunny morning which enabled me to plant out the pot-grown broad beans

30 November
The last day of the month was also dry but the temperature dropped to zero overnight and by mid-morning it was only 3C in the morning and cloudy and I decided to stay at home in the warm!

John Austin

Hove, November 2023

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