Tuesday 25th August 2015

How fortunate that on one of the wettest Tuesdays we have had in the market garden (we are usually blessed with sunshine) there was plenty to be done under cover.

But it didn’t rain for most of the morning and we managed to clear out the greenhouse – all those plant labels, bits of netting, past-it plants, pots and trays and general detritus that make their way in during Spring and just stay somehow.

And we strung up the onions that had dried in the greenhouse over the past two weeks – the Sturon and Jetset grown from sets to make mostly tennis to softball size specimens – with a few snooker balls. We piled up a good wheelbarrow full of bunches to be hung in the house – somewhere cool, airy and dry, hopefully able to last until next Spring at least, unless we eat them all before then.

While it stayed dry we also cut down the next lot of potato tops – we’re on to maincrop now. Record, Robinta, Carolus (supposed to be blight resistant but last year very slugged!) and Purple Majesty (the one spud that stays deeply coloured when cooked – purple mash is weird!). They were the ones looking most tired with blotched leaves that might or might not have been early blight? We will dig up the tubers in two weeks time when the skins will be well set.

The onions that were lifted and laid out last week – the seed-sown big ones – just made it into the clean greenhouse before it started raining properly. We had to install an extra shelf to accommodate them all – more numerous and bigger than the sets. There’s Robinson’s Mammoth (white and red – and big), Ailsa Craig and Bedfordshire Champion. They all taste of onion – varieties are not so gastronomically exciting as potatoes – but we are keen to see which store best, so we have kept them separate. There are just four more rows of onions left in the ground and it got too wet to do anything with them this week. They’ll be fine.

It’s looking as though our community of 16 – with all our visitors – might be self-reliant with onions and spuds this year – so long as they all store well. And we are doing our best to make that as sure as possible.

As it kept raining during the afternoon, we eked out our time weeding and watering in the polytunnel where the parsley is a forest, where we have produced one okra (don’t like them any way), where the aubergines are fruiting very slowly, and the loofahs look like they are drying off at last.

Then that final cup of tea and home-made brownie, in the greenhouse, surrounded by onions. Stringing up onions, by the way, is my third favourite job in the garden …

It’s beginning to feel a bit autumnal.

Tuesdays in the Triangle Field (Community Supported Market Garden) are busy, sociable, friendly, relaxed, productive. Volunteers are made welcome, fed, watered and rewarded with produce. Let us know if you would like to join us either regularly, occasionally or just for a one-off pleasure.

Tel. 01743 761418 email: crabapplecom@hotmail.com

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