Last days of summer

It’s hard to believe we’re into September already. I like to think summer isn’t truly over until the end of September at least, although nature seems to think differently this year. Most of the plants have provided their bounty and are in the ‘going over’ stages already. Probably because our spring was so summer like, that everything started off so much earlier. The yellowing, falling leaves on my climbing beans are true sign of the end of summer, although I haven’t really been picking these as much as the runners (saving them for the juicy, fat borlotti type beans within), so it’s no surprise they are giving up. Like most crops, the more you pick, the longer they keep going. The sweet peas (behind) gave up long ago.

The one thing I do look forward to in September is the sweetcorn. This is the first cob I harvested on Thursday evening, which went straight home to boiling water, smeared in butter and eaten. You can’t beat eating sweetcorn like this, melted butter running down your chin. Delicious. I’ve never understood the point of buying the stuff in a tin or frozen. It’s this or nothing for me.

This is a variety called Sweet Nugget. The plants only grew to half the height of the variety I’ve grown up until now, so I was dubious as to it’s success, but the cobs are looking good. Last year, despite having 6 or 7 foot tall plants, which looked healthy enough, the cobs were hopeless. The corn hadn’t developed properly and they were useless. I guess all the plants resources went into the growth of the plants and not into developing the husks, unlike this variety. So in my experience, tall sweetcorn plants do not necessarily mean good sweetcorn cobs.

By the way, if you want to know how to tell when sweetcorn is ready, peel back the leaves to expose some of the golden corn, and pierce one with your nail. If you get a good milky sap, it’s ready.

Still got lots of lettuce and beetroot to get through. This is the circular bed which became my salad bed this year. A few calendulas had self seeded right in the centre of the circle, so I planted lines of lettuce and beetroot coming out from the centre to the edges of the circle. I know, it’s the graphic designer in me. Where one line has been harvested I’ve sown a line of winter hardy spring onions, and I’d like to get some late spinach going in there too.

Leeks are coming on well. So too are the parsnips, swedes and turnips. Casserole dish is at the ready! And the sprouts are looking good this year too, must take a photo of those.

One of the resident allotment cats kept me company. Needless to say I didn’t have my dog Bess with me. She was preying on grasshoppers, creeping up slowly, tail flicking sharply from side to side, and then – pounce – where d’it go?

‘No mice in there, you’re all clear. Just checking!’ Thanks puss.



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