Tuesday 8th September 2015

You have to admire them – those docks. So many seeds and so viable. How fast they put down a tap root beyond a hoe’s reach. And how they flourish hidden by the potatoes – undercover agents – until we’ve cut down the potato haulms and now we’re faced with a profusion of specimen dock plants. Fortunately the soil is in just that perfect condition for getting them out without recourse to mining technology – just moist enough so the tenacious roots can’t quite cling on, just dry enough to shake off easily. From between the last four rows of spuds we fork out three heaped barrow loads for the perennial weed heap which will yield some decent compost in a few years.

Meanwhile, the potatoes that were blighted and we cut down two weeks ago are being lifted: Carolus (blight resistant? Certainly not the leaves) – a heavy, clean, impressive looking crop; Robinta – very heavy cropping and clean reds; Record – white, a bit scabby, but generally good, and the Purple Majesty – a novelty potato, not a heavy crop, big tubers, some badly affected by what is probably tuber blight – but the promise of plenty of tasty purple mash.

In between the major tasks that mostly filled the day, we managed to cut down the comfrey to wilt, strung up a few more of the drying onions and harvested yellow cherry tomatoes from the outdoor bushes. The heritage tomatoes were only planted as a companion for the new gooseberries but have been prolific and we soon fill two big bowls for the kitchen where we have also provided today’s cook with carrots, beetroot, scallions and celeriac. Hidden under the tomatoes we turn up a whopping Marketmore outdoor cucumber – very tasty – which must have been lurking a while. We usually cut them at half this size.

We didn’t get round to a few jobs on the list – including sowing a tray of Winter lettuce for the polytunnel into a newly sourced peat-free seed compost of which we have high hopes. More on that next week, with luck.

Today I am reminded how wildlife in the garden can be fascinating. Apart from the army of young toads and the fat fearless fledgeling robin there was something I’ve not seen before. One of the half-dozen sunflowers that got poked into the gooseberry bed and grew tall is wilting. A party of wasps is busy at the base of the stalk and they appear to have ring-barked it. The other five plants are untouched. I’m familiar with wasps taking wood from posts and other wooden structures, but not from live plants … What’s all that about? Intriguing.

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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