Graham and Carol moved to Ingatestone in autumn 1998. They always thought the new garden was a bit on the small side; at the previous property it was big enough for a large vegetable patch at the bottom. After two years trying to grow vegetables on a restricted north-east facing plot, Grahams wife, the lovely Carol, suggested getting an allotment. In a nutshell, that’s how this labour of love (and despair!) first started....
September didn’t go quite as planned – I lifted the main crop potatoes, which were a reasonable yield, harvested the last of the onions and lost patience with the squash. I’ve picked up one of the sweet potatoes and as usual it wasn’t a great return considering the time and trouble they take during the year, but the cabbages are still coming and the swede & celeriac are waiting in the wings. The tomatoes are still hanging on under cover and the peppers and chillies have been ripening.
So far so good, but the ripening damsons beckoned and whilst picking them, I fell heavily from the step ladders on to a leek bed – the leeks were not impressed and nor was the hospital consultant, who diagnosed multiple broken ribs, a broken scapula and a partially collapsed lung. Not an ideal way to end my working participation on the plot this year! I guess it could have been worse, but that’s no consolation for the confiscation of the ladders by the lovely Carol, who was both sympathetic and slightly critical of the incident.
I’m grateful to my allotment colleagues (well Beryl actually – although many others also offered), who watered for me during that dry sunny bit of the month that I was unable to enjoy, while I am now reduced to picking duties and moaning about the out of control weeds, but it’s all very much back end as the nice autumn disappeared with a rush and the nights begin to close in before the door to winter opens at the end of the month when the clocks go back – sooo not my favourite day of the year, but onward and upward to November.
Meanwhile, my plants of the month are the long purple aubergines, which have benefitted from being in the polytunnel and have produced a bumper crop for the first time ever, no idea what I did differently to deserve such success. No change there then!
For those who can, these are some of the things to do in October:
- Sow: Broad beans, winter lettuce & spinach beet.
- Plant: Spring cabbage, winter lettuce, Autumn onion sets & garlic.
- Harvest: Pumpkins, apples, carrots, beetroot, parsnip, swede, cabbage & peppers.