Courgette


September saw a few of our crops finishing up for the year. We dug up all the rest of the potatoes, and picked our last courgettes & tomatoes. The carrots were ready to get in but I’m going to finish digging them up and storing them this week. Beetroot and parsnips are about finished growing now as well, I’ll also be getting these in before the end of Oct.

Rather than the graph I did last month, I think it will be clearer to just highlight the main harvests as we get them in, I’ll then give a summary of everything towards the end of the year.

Crop

Sowed area m2

Harvested Total (kg)

Harvest (kg) per m2

Potatoes

60

121

2

Courgette

7.5

14.85

3.16

Tomatoes

20

23.7

1.18

Cucumbers

10

29.3

2.93

Sweetcorn 5 3.5 0.7
Pumpkin 10 47 4.7
I was pretty happy with our potatoes this year, although we learnt a good lesson about watering. I would say 75% of our harvest weight came from the bottom 1/3 of each row, which was as far as our hose went when watering. Next year I will plant a similar area but will work on a better irrigation system so that we can maximise the whole row. Cucumber were a great success, it seems all of the Cucurbitaceae (don’t ask how to pronounce it), which includes, courgettes, pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers, all did very well in our soil. Next year I will focus on this family, planting more of everything including the melons, which did surprisingly well considering I didn’t treat them very well. We had a good harvest of Tomatoes, certainly my best effort yet. I think in the end we had about 30 plants outside, which gave us 90% of our harvest, and another 20 odd in a poly tunnel, which didn’t do very well at all. From May-end Aug the weather was hot and sunny with very little rain, I think the polytunel became too hot and we weren’t here enough for watering and airing. Next year I am going to try for 200 plants, with most outside, I’ll use the polytunel for peppers and aubergines.
Advertisements

Autumn is here, and winter isn’t far behind.

Autumn View.

Autumn View.

The last couple of weeks we’ve been researching how to store our potatoes, carrots, beetroot and parsnips over winter. In Poland this is a little more tricky than it sounds as the winter temperature can average -10, and some gloomy weather people over here are predicting lows of -30 this winter. Our storage solutions have to stop things rotting as well as freezing.

It seems potatoes can be stored in all sorts of elaborate ways, most revolving around digging holes and burying a heap of potatoes and then covering with straw.  We settled for just digging them up, bagging them into 5kg sacks and then covering in the cellar. It should stay above freezing down there.

Carrots are a bit more tricky. Most people said to layer them in some sort of container, separating the layers with sand. Apparently you have to make sure the carrots don’t touch. I tried this with my first batch of carrots and found it quite tedious arranging them in an old basket. The next batch I’m just going to layer on top of Styrofoam with sand. We’ll have to see what works best.

We also had our first hard frost a couple of weeks ago, which killed off all the courgette and pumpkin plants. We took in all the pumpkins which turned out to be a nice little batch. They are now organised in a very autumnal fashion around the house. Hopefully we will also get to eat them!

Some other things we’ve been up to:

Panoramic of the allotment mid June.

We’ve been having trouble with our new, old car, so haven’t been able to get to the land much over the last couple of weeks. This coupled with very dry and hot weather meant that I was a little worried I might find the allotment looking a little withered and sorry for itself. We haven’t had any rain for 4 weeks now and the temperature has been around 30C for a while with no foercast of rain despite a few villagers predicted some soon. We’ve missed the band of storms which have spread through the south of Poland, which I’m glad about, I drove through one on the way to Warsaw and experianced hail stones big enough to make me think my windscreen was going to brake. The wind in these parts had also caused a lot of the crops to collapse, hopefully they will recover. We need rain, but I’d rather not a storm like this if possible.

Anyway the plants are doing ok and we had our first decent harvest of small cucumbers (Ogorki) and yellow courgettes. The ogorgki plants are producing loads, I think we should have plenty for eating fresh during the summer and for pickling.

In the last couple of weeks we’ve been doing lots of planting. The average last frost date for us is 28th May, with this out of the way we had to get on with it and get everything in the ground. We had a mixture of stuff we started off indoors to plant out, and seed to sow straight to the ground. I’ll be putting on a little inventory of what we have later, alongside a rough costing of the allotment work and harvests.

On our last allotment everything was done in a bit of a rush during our spare time before or after work. As such I didn’t take any special care with planting techniques. Now we have a bit more time I’ve been doing my research and have been trying to follow the instructions I’ve found. Most things seem to be common sense, but I found some good tips on planting cabbages, Brussels, and Leeks.  Planting out leeks that have been started off indoors has always mystified me, and I still don’t really know what I’m doing, it seems a bit odd making a big hole and just dropping the young leeks into it, but I’ve seen this done at my old allotment and read about it, so I’ve given it a go. They are still alive after a week, so maybe they will be ok. A short video below of what I did, any tips welcome for next time.