Allotment gluts and swaps

Fair exchange is no robbery – so when a neighbour said she had more plums than she could use, I agreed to take as many as I could manage. They are Victorias and made a lovely plum and apple jam with the windfall apples from the park. I took up a jar of said jam on Sunday, but she had already finished for the day so I left it outside her greenhouse.

There’s a lot of this kind of thing that happens on allotments: our butternut squash plant is one of half a dozen that were just left outside the allotment gates with a notice saying ‘help yourself’. We’ve swapped or given away hundreds of plants over the years, and why not? We can’t grow them all ourselves and in a good year we may have a dozen times more seedlings than we have room for.

Of course sometimes you receive something you just couldn’t ever pay for – our greenhouse was given to us! We simply had to dismantle it and walk it down the path from the plot it was on, to ours. We were able to give the donor’s daughter and son-in-law half a load of manure in thanks, but there’s really no comparison. I was hoping to be able to give them some lovely produce this year too, but that’s looking less likely. Despite having three aubergine plants, I can’t get any two of them to produce a flower at the same time, so although they flower, I don’t think there’s any pollination going on. I’ve had this problem with aubergines before, some years ago, and I’d forgotten how frustrating it is, so I think that next year I’ll give aubergines a break and grow something else!

Our golden raspberries are doing well – we had the first really ripe fruit on Sunday and it was good: tangy and sweet, just what we were hoping for. They are supposed to be autumn fruiting but everything is a few weeks early this year. I think raspberries, like currants, do tend to produce a little earlier in their first year of planting because they respond to the stress of a changed environment by fruiting prolifically, so I’m hoping that they will come good for us this year in August and then settle down and produce fruit in September.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, August 22, 2011


Blogger Lucky Seven said...

A row of marigolds nearby help with the pollination issues you are having - worked brilliantly for me this year and they are cheerful to boot !

August 22, 2011 at 5:53 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

We tried aubergine again for the second year and yet again we have lots of leaf and not much in the way of flowers. We took out quite a few of the leaves and we have had three aubergines now, but not much from quite a few plants. We may give them one more try as we had a late start to our season yet again due to lack of greenhouse so hopefully they may do better then.

August 22, 2011 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Lucky Seven - possibly, although our aubergines are in the greenhouse as they don't like the sharp Sussex winds, and that's probably not helping.

Joanna - I'm so glad it's not just me!

August 26, 2011 at 8:03 AM  

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