Winding down

The growing season is well and truly winding down. At our allotment, all of the onions have been pulled up, the fruit bushes are bare and the beans are slowing. I am thankful for the [temporary] respite from weeding but the bigger part of me is a little sad to see the plot starting to empty.

View of allotment

The cornflowers are fading and many have gone to seed already. Bees are frantically working their way from flower to flower, collecting the last of the pollen and nectar. This wildflower patch has been a big success so we’re going to do it again next year – perhaps in several smaller patches.

Bee on pink cornflower

Pink cornflower

And while we’re on the subject of bugs, check out this ladybird making its way towards lunch! The cornflowers have quite a few blackfly on them so it’s not surprising there are lots of ladybirds too. I sat and watched it gobble one up, didn’t take long.

Ladybird with blackfly

Hungry ladybird

Red poppy petals

Poppy in the wildflower area

We are still picking mountains of beans!

Me picking beans

French beans

Handful of green beans

French beans

Runner beans are by far our largest crop of the year. So far we’ve picked 16kg. It’s amazing how many beans you can put through the human body! Friends and family have had a few but we’ve eaten most of them ourselves. I’ve also blanched a few for the freezer. Scott and I went away for a few days last week and we missed eating beans. Hah!

Picking runner beans

Runner beans

One of our allotment chums called us over to his plot one evening and gave us a massive bunch of Dahlias. All different colours and so big I had to take the vase off the coffee table because I couldn’t see the TV.

Colourful Dahlia flowers

Celeriac was a vegetable I could take or leave. We kept being offered seedlings and after saying no thanks a few times we eventually accepted them to help us fill our plot. Also, I remembered reading a piece of advice in the River Cottage Veg book saying it’s a good idea to grow something you dislike. It turns out to be an excellent piece of advice because the ones we’ve grown are very different to the overpowering woody celeriac in supermarkets. I had some roasted a few nights ago and was light and nutty. I’m a convert! They sure look ugly but that didn’t stop me smiling at them like a proud parent when I pulled them out of the ground.

Muddy celeriac

Celeriac

Homegrown sweetcorn has been a highlight of the growing year. They didn’t get off to the best start so we only ended up with 3 full sized plants but they produced 5 fantastic cobs.

Sweetcorn on plant

When the silks turned brown we peeled back the husks and found plump yellow corn inside. It was really bloody good!

Corn on the cob

How are your gardens looking? Are they starting to wind down too?

19 Comments

  1. It’s always a sad part of the growing calendar. But exciting as you can get clearing and preparing for next year!

    You should try sowing some green manure so all the nutrients on the top layer of soil don’t get washed away. Just fork it in next year and it works great!

    Also, winter lettuce, pak choy, winter spinach can all go in for some autumnal greens!

    • That’s true. It won’t be long before I’m ordering seeds again! Thanks for the green manure tip, I’ll look into it. For now, we’ve covered the empty patches of soil over to try and stop any more weeds growing. Winter spinach is a good shout 🙂

    • Thanks so much Claudia. It doesn’t seem like long ago we took on this little plot of overgrown land. Time flies…

  2. Om nom nom! I’ve missed growing beans this year and I too am a recent celeriac convert having been cooked some by my mother-in-law who was horrified that I’d never eaten it before.

    Corn on the cob freshly picked, lashings of salted butter, excuse me whilst I go and have a little lie down!

    What lovely allotment chums you have, That reminds me I owe myself a bunch of flowers!

    Thanks for joining in again Gemma x

    • Celeriac doesn’t seem like a very popular vegetable for some reason. Maybe it’ll come back in fashion – just like hydrangeas have! They have right? Or am just kidding myself?

  3. Wow 16kgs of beans! Wow fresh corn on the cob! Somewhere I have a wonderful celeriac salad recipe I used to make – need to go and dig out it out of one of my recipe folders. Wonderful photos too!

    • Thanks Kriss 🙂 If you find the recipe and don’t mind sharing it, I’d love a copy. All I really do is roast or mash so it would be nice to do something a bit different.

  4. It’s a funny time of year isn’t it – as there’s still more to come from the allotment but not an awful lot that can be sown. That’s a lot of beans – we’ve had a few too, but tomatoes seem to be the best cropper – but that could be because I had so many!! I might try celeriac, I don’t mind it from the shops, but sounds as if it’s much better grown yourself. #hdygg

    • I think that’s it. The last few months have been about sowing seeds at the right time and getting organised. I enjoy that aspect just as much as eating the results. Our tomatoes haven’t done very well this year – mostly green and I’ve spotted a couple with blight. Celeriac is easy to grow, just give it plenty of water.

  5. Wow! All those beans, and the sweetcorn. Fabulous! I would love to grow some vegetables next year, but we have so many animals in our garden I’m honestly not sure what would make it to my table 🙂 #hdygg

  6. I’ve had a rubbish growing season this year apart from the strawberries. My tomatoes flowered but none of them turned into tomatoes! I love the hungry little ladybird busy doing its vital work.

    • Our tomatoes haven’t done very well this year either. There is a lot of fruit but it’s all still green and now there are signs of blight. Oh well, we’ve had a few tomatoes at least.

  7. It’s nice to read about someone else’s allotment! 😉 Our beans weren’t great this year, but I’m still harvesting lots of courgettes, and bunches of cut flowers (Dahlias, Cosmos, and the Sweetpeas that I grew with the beans this year). It’s nice to have some flowers in the house, in particular now as it’s getting colder outside.

    Will have to try growing Celeriac next year – I also normally don’t like it that much, but I’m curious now!

  8. That’s such a great achievement in your first season, you’re obviously enjoying it 🙂 We had a huge runner bean harvest last year, I doubt it was anywhere near 16kg though!

    Parsnip & celeriac bake is lovely, there’s a recipe on the BBC Good Food website – it needs to be parsnip season though!

  9. We havn’t grown anything this year. We live very urban but the last few years I have turned our little yard into a lovely little garden. We’ve had a massive cat poo issue though this year and with a newborn in tow I decided not to battle with it. We are buying a house this year with a massive garden and I can’t wait to get growing again.

    The bee shot is so awesome. I love it!

  10. I know what you mean about winding down and mine seemed to do it very quickly this year. One moment it was all beans, weeding and watering and then suddenly a quietness hung over the veg patch. But there is still so much to do and of course, plans to be made for next year …

  11. i can’t wait to live somewhere where i can grow my own fruit and veg, it always looks so much nicer. In South Africa we shopped at the markets and it took a while to get used to the organic taste, but once we did, it was so much nicer

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