Harvest

4 Aug

Nothing stays the same on the allotment for long, even my attitude to harvesting is radically different from a couple of weeks ago. At first I felt the need to have a near ceremonial attachment to any piece of edible stuff picked and taken home yet now, a few weeks on, I am hastily picking what I can and chucking it in an old carrier bag to carry home.

Today’s crop included potatoes, beetroot, cucumber and a huge courgette. I have recently learnt how to make courgette cake and I suspect it might become a regular this summer. It feels strange writing about success instead of the never ending drudgery of weeding.

harvest

Today’s pickings!

The summer holidays have really been getting in the way of all the work I need to do, the digging, the weeding, the sorting. But I don’t feel too guilty or resentful, there is relief almost as I shrug my shoulders and think, the kids are around all day everyday, how much can I really do?

Today I managed a few hours, the first proper visit for a week. I was dazzled by the lawn I had planted and amazed to see a small pumpkin forming.

baby pumpkin

A baby pumpkin!

Also this harvesting takes time. The potatoes need to be pulled up, the patch they are growing on then requires weeding and levelling before the sun bakes it into non compliance. I tackled a bit of that this morning, making way for the next lot of stuff to go in – a second load of plants and seedlings from my uncle Arthur. May they bring me as much luck as the last lot.

potato patch b4

Potato patch before

pot patch after

After

As the forecast was dry I sprayed the remaining stubborn weeds that dwell nowhere near anything currently growing with a bit of weed killer. I have done this once before and always with a heavy heart. But when even membrane won’t hold the onslaught back I feel I need a quick cut to manageability.

The whole plot with membrane

The whole plot, hopefully some of those weedy borders may lessen after my toxic squirt fest

And finally a friend told me this week that tomato plants need a bit of trimming every now and then. Any branches that have no buds or flowers on them have to go in a cull that will help sustain what tomatoes there already are ripen and continue growing. So I snipped and trimmed. Timidly at first as it seems almost wrong to butcher what I have nurtured so carefully for months but after a while I got into the monotony of searching out duff branches and soon became ruthless, even though I have always shied away from the idea of survival of the fittest and all that. The tomato plants were a jungle and they needed taming, someone had to do it. It still didn’t quite feel right and induced reminiscent memories of a tales of the unexpected episode in which a bloke invented a machine which allowed plants to be heard screaming when their owners cut them down. Maybe at times I am just a bit too soft to be a gardener.

tomatoe plants after trimming

My tamed tomato plants.

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One Response to “Harvest”

  1. Gill Ridgewell August 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Another lovely post! The plot is looking so good. Great photo of the harvest bag! The beetroot you gave me was delicious btw! Xx

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