The Autumn Equinox is but a few days away, but I don’t need a calender to tell me autumn is coming. The cooler weather has slowed down the courgette and marrow production, the outdoor tomatoes are starting to look the worse for wear and the cosmos is needing constant pruning to maintain its good looks.
On the allotment, the last of the potatoes have been dug up. You may recall I’ve tried three new varieties this year, Kestrel, Melody and British Queen. Well the vote is in and I can reveal.. Kestrel is the winner! Not only did it yield the most, but whether it’s boiled, baked, roasted or chipped it doesn’t disintegrate and has a wonderful flavour. Furthermore, it was the only variety not to suffer any potato scab. For us, this is the premium all rounder, and that’s not easy to say for someone who’s a big fan of the Maris Piper, so we shall definitely be growing Kestrel again next year.
The first of the beds are now cleared, and I have to say, the potatoes have done wonders for the soil. And to keep this bed bursting with nutrients over the winter months, I’ve prepped the soil and sown a batch of green manure seeds purchased from Suttons. I’ve tried this technique before when I was growing crops in the garden and the results were spectacular.
But more excitingly, we’ve started to harvest the pumpkins and squashes. Already Agent Soph is feverishly flicking through her kitchen bible as I type. This tome, which is kept under lock and key and away from prying eyes, is Soph’s dark addiction. Her research, notes, recipes and baking equations are all in there, but I have not the courage to peek, in fear of incurring her cooking wrath. In the dead of night she is often found in the kitchen, working her culinary sorcery, conjuring up flavours not even Heston Blumenthal would attempt. I dare not interrupt her during these dark hours and from the safety of my bed I cower, only to shrink further under the duvet when I hear her screams of joy, ‘It’s a success! A success!’ But anyway, back on the plot, the sunflowers continue to beam, the borlotti beans are itching to be picked and the brassicas have arrived as the new boys in town. So with soil under my nails, a sack full of crops and the sun shining on my back all weekend, perhaps the summer is not quite done with us yet.