Normal Welsh Summer Resumes

The weather is back to normal now; cool, overcast, drizzle and rain with the odd few minutes of sunshine. The grass has recovered and is growing again so the lawn mower’s holiday is over. And the sheep are very happy with luscious new shoots to chew on.

They’re simple creatures, sheep. They spend their days looking for the tastiest bits of grass whilst thinking about ways to escape and eat my crops and trees. If you don’t believe me, just ask any farmer.

Onion Drying

Drying Onions

Drying Onions on a Rack in Polytunnel

I’ve moved one of the onion drying racks into the polytunnel. There’s just too much rain for them to dry off outside and I’m worried that they’re going to rot. There’s no strong sunshine in the forecast so they should be fine. I did manage to cook the onion harvest whilst drying them in a greenhouse one year, a lesson I won’t forget!

Aubergine Chutney Brinjal

Aubergine Chutney Brinjal

Jars of Aubergine Brinjal Chutney – note I put pickle on the label by mistake! But we know what it is.

Val’s converted some of our surplus aubergines into a brinjal style chutney. She’s experimenting with recipes now for red tomato chutneys. I reckon that we could live for quite some time on the jams and chutneys in the cupboard if the bomb drops.

New Border

New Decorative Border Terrace

New Decorative Border on the Terrace

Below the chicken’s run and above the path border we’ve a terraced area that I was thinking of using for some fruit bushes. However, cultivating it is quite difficult as one wrong step and you’re over the side. It’s not a big drop, maybe 60 cm, but enough.

We’ve decided to make it a decorative border with some buddleia, hydrangeas and hebe which all do well here. I’ll mulch under them with bark chippings once they’re established. In the meantime I’m laying cardboard down and covering with grass clippings which will stop the weeds and improve the soil until we’re ready to plant out.

I haven’t bothered weeding it before mulching, the weeds will rot down under the mulch and add to the soil fertility.

Greenhouse Problems

I’ve had to stop all the tomatoes now, they’re hitting the roof. They’ve done so well with the wonderful early summer and heatwave that they’re about 6 weeks ahead of normal for here.

They’re all loaded with fruits, which is great but… As the weight increases the support strings are snapping. I’ve had 3 more strings go which caused the plants to fall and knocked fruits off. Some of the other strings have snapped at ground level too but that’s not made any real problem as the plants are hanging on the strings.

I think the lesson here is not to use natural jute twine but to use nylon string which is stronger and doesn’t rot in the soil.

Shading Off

Greenhouse Shading Removed

Greenhouse with Shading Washed Off

Since the heatwave has gone and we’re back to the normal Welsh wet summer with just glimpses of sun the greenhouse shading is not needed. In fact, it’s counter-productive. So I quickly ran over the greenhouse with my jet washer’s car cleaning brush. It’s harder getting the shading off than putting it on!

When it dried it became apparent I’d not got it all off so I’ll have to go over it again. There’s not enough left to worry about, it will wait until I give the greenhouse its winter clean down.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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