September 11

A new addition to my plots

All this time in lockdown and you would think that I had had enough time to write a blog post or two wouldn’t you?  Where has that time gone? Days seem to have slipped by all running into one as there has been little to punctuate the time in any meaningful way.  It isn’t true that NOTHING has happened. One of the things that has is my taking on another plot on the allotments next to my current two.

The Wildlife Trust used to use the plot as a demonstration garden to show people how they could have a wildlife garden in a normal sort of garden space. They have sadly had to give up the plot and so I have agreed to manage it – not change it from a wildlife plot.

It has all sorts of things on it: a large flower border, apple trees, hazel, a pond, sitting areas, a great bug hotel and beds that are a little empty at the moment but can soon be filled.

I have said that I will run the plot along permaculture principles which most allotmenteers would be very familiar with. Principle number 1 is observe and interact so I thought I would go and have a look around and see what is flowering/seeding/berrying at the moment as we have lots of beekeepers on the plots.

What is flowering in September?

I think this is Sedum Spectabile and the bees love it.

Oenothera or Evening Primrose for Hawkmoth, parasitic moths and bees.

Geranium – maybe Ann Folkard.








Valeriana Officianalis or valerian loved by hoverflies.

Verbena bonariensis loved by hoverflies, butterflies, bees of all sorts and sometime dragonflies.



Linaria purpurea or purple toadflax loved by bees.











There are also some lone flowers on an Osteospermum, Potentilla and Rudbeckia but they are not in their prime.

I wonder if these flowers are enough for this time of year or whether we should have more flowers.  Perhaps some asters, single flowered dahlias and colchicums.


September 3

A changing harvest

The start of September usually signals a change in harvests for us. The courgettes are slowing down and the sweetcorn is ready.  We picked our first cobs this week and they were very sweet and tender. Now it will be a race between us and the badgers to see who gets the most!

The chillis are now in full swing. I have two types: cayenne (long and pointy) and one from a seed packet called Chilli Shakes. When I looked at the packet more clearly it is yet another mixed packet that I bought and so I don’t know what type this is.  I really MUST stop buying mixed packets!

I am also picking chard regularly now. I add the leaves to almost everything. Tonight it is chilli made with black beans to which I will also add shredded chard leaves.

L to R: Leaf beet, Lucullus and Rainbow chard

It has taken me a very long time to work out what to do with the stems. I read somewhere that we grow chard for the leaves and the french grow it for the stems.  After reading a blog post from the Frugalwoods about their mammoth chard growing and storing days, I too decided to chop the stems very finely and add them to stir fries. It works a treat and now no waste!  I believe the french use the stems in a gratin – I do love a gratin but am not convinced about a chard stem gratin.

The allotment seed catalogue from Kings has arrived and I have already spent a pleasant hour perusing the delights.  The more blogs I read about growing, the wider the range of seed companys I need to use. For instance, I want to grow Aji Limon chillis this year so will have to get them from the South Devon Chilli Farm. I will get the Stupicke tomatoes from Sarah Raven and the Coriander Cruiser from Simply Seeds. (I have just bought the coriander because it is on sale at 29p!) And I haven’t even made a list of all the things I do want to grow yet.

I did something I have never done before. I pulled up some tomato plants that were still productive.  Zlatava was a tomato that I tried for the first time this year and found it to be watery and tasteless and prolific. It didn’t matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of the wateriness so I pulled the plants up. It felt wrong but who wants food that they don’t like to eat?

What are you thinking about growing next year?

My thanks to Dave at Happy Acres for linking us all up with his Harvest Monday posts.