Allotment haul 7 September 2009

The weather is definitely Indian summery – torrid wouldn’t be strong a word for it – although it will break very soon. As we have seedling swede and freshly-sown mooli, I am having to head up to the plot every second day to water.
I’ve also spent an entire Sunday doing the most disgusting thing in the world: squashing caterpillars. It is really gross – but if you want to be organic (or as organic as you can be) in your gardening habits, the only way to deal with cabbage whites is to pull on your gloves hunt down every crawler and squeeze them swiftly and firmly so that they expire instantly.

And because I am a wimp, I always let things get too bad before I intervene. I try to find all the eggs and squash them instead of the poor bugs, but one always misses a few (or a lot, when it’s that time of year when so much needs to be picked and weeded and mowed and pruned) and those few seem to multiply until you are left with lacy brassicas.

We cut some sunflowers, leaving plenty for the birds to harvest, and pulled the first celeriac (just tennis ball sized) and the first parsnip, to test their growth. Both were very good roasted in tinfoil with Chioggia beetroot, fresh rosemary and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar. Which more or less made up for the brassica destruction and the caterpillar destruction that followed. It’s a ruthless business, this allotment lark.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Blogger Joanna said...

Oh I am with you on the caterpillar front. We had a few days rain and when we went back to the garden there were hundreds of caterpillars. It is a caterpillar massacre up there.

Did your celeriac germinate well? Not one of ours germinated but we are not sure if it is due to the quality of the seeds or not (Latvian seeds can be a bit hit and miss).

September 8, 2009 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Z said...

The most effective thing I ever did was to pay my children to catch cabbage whites, but it felt so wrong, killing butterflies, that I couldn't bring myself to do it again.

September 9, 2009 at 1:31 AM  
OpenID said...

my brassicas have faired quite well this year as I got them netted immediately but I know some people who netted there's have even had problems...I love to see butterflies...but I don't like feeding their young!!

September 9, 2009 at 1:51 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

I netted my brassicas and didn't have one caterpillar. I still didn't get any cabbages though as the slugs got them instead!

September 9, 2009 at 3:50 AM  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

You might want to file this under stupid.

But why grow sunflowers?

Is it just the bright look to cheer you up, or is there something 'nice' and edible in them (other than oil)? I'd hate to think I was missing out :)

September 10, 2009 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Joanna, our celeriac was 100% this year!

Z - I wonder if I could teach the dogs to catch them?

Allotments4you - I know what you mean. We did net but then found out that our nets weren't tall enough and had to take them off too early. Our brassica cage has protected half the plants but the others have been massacred.

Jo - I feel your pain!

Mark - the sunflowers are for birds that overwinter on the plot and provide a healthy eco-system. Tony does eat the seeds though!

September 16, 2009 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

This has been a really hit and miss year for germination. Lettuce of all kinds has been a disaster. Best crop - onions. Worst - raspberries, all gone with disease. The celeriac is looking good, but I didn't raise it from seed, it came as plants from Delfland Organics.

September 16, 2009 at 12:26 PM  

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