Allotment discoveries

What with weekends away, Golden Wedding Anniversaries (my in-laws, not ours obvs) to be celebrated and darker evenings yesterday's visit to the plot was the first in a month, and the first since I discovered our cauliflowerAnd in truth, the purpose of our visit was to pick the butternut squashes and to pick the last of the tomatoes. I know, November and still picking tomatoes. I think that has to be a first.

I thought there might be some borlotti beans to pick as well, and I wanted to cut a couple of the sunflower heads to use for seed next year. I expected to check on the cauliflower, but didn't expect to see this.

Our cauliflower has grown. And rather large too.
And there's a smaller one on the way too

The cauliflower had grown substantially. And not only that there was a smaller one on the plant next to it too. How exciting, and all this without any effort from us. At this point, I knew that cauliflowers would be on our growing list for next year. 

I realise though that you can't get an idea of how large that first cauliflower is, well it weighs 1.25kg and is almost as large as my head, look:

OUR CAULIFLOWER, ALMOST AS BIG AS MY HEAD (NOT THAT MY HEAD IS BIG!)

OUR CAULIFLOWER, ALMOST AS BIG AS MY HEAD (NOT THAT MY HEAD IS BIG!)

It was chilly out there yesterday though and we were only dressed for a 'picking visit' but there were other discoveries too. The turnips which I planted in seed trays and then on into pots while I waited for space to become available were also doing well. They too had grown and well, they were looking like turnips. 

Turnips are growing and looking err like turnips.

We'll be picking those soon. The ones that I'd sown directly in the row next to them, mainly to see how that'd work, have come through but are much smaller. But that's ok as there's only so many turnips you can eat at a time.

My other biggest crop

The other discovery - and this one's not so pleasant - is just how much the weeds have grown. I guess it's only to be expected but the red cabbages and cavolo nero, which are both doing well, are growing in a carpet of weeds. Ah well, at least the brassicas are growing, but no prizes for guessing what our job will be on our next visit to the plot.

red cabbage and weeds anyone?
cavolo nero and weeds are also one of my allotment specialities

And given the rate that they're growing that may have to be next weekend.  But at least it'll be easy for MOH to see where the cabbages are, that's the advantage I'd clearly thought about subconsciously beforehand!

weeds, cabbages and more weeds.

In the photo above - yes the one with all those weeds - you can just about see the celeriac on the left hand side with a row of four or five white plant markers.  They plant markers are another clue for MOH that what's growing there isn't a weed. They won't be labelled as celeriac which will confuse him, but at least he won't be pulling them out. I couldn't see how well they were doing, but my plan is to leave those there for a bit longer.

We will be picking more chard though. Despite it being shoved into the corner edge of our plot it's done well.  It's done better since the beans and the sunflowers closeby have given it some space. Must remember to give it some proper space next year to make up for its patience this year.

chard, continues to grow well even though it was shoved into a corner of the plot

The lavender is doing well too. I've several plants, amongst even more weeds on one edge of the plot. In the year we've had the allotment they've really come on. When they were planted they were from cuttings I'd taken, but now they're well on the way to becoming a pretty and fragrant edging to one section of the plot. I'm also hoping that they will also act as a reminder to the foxes to stay away. 

I've told you before I'm an optimist, haven't I?

This lavender bush grew from a cutting

The tagetes - or marigolds - I grew from seed are still in flower too. As are the nasturtiums I planted among the courgettes and squashes. It seems odd to see them flowering in November, but as they bring a welcome pop of colour, I'm not complaining. Most of the sunflowers have died off now, but there are still a few smaller flowers sporting their yellow petals. I don't think they'll be around for much longer though.

tagetes, grown from seed, are also thriving, much more so than any I've had in the garden

Back home...

Despite being sidetracked by the giant cauliflower, turnips that look like turnips and all those weeds I did actually remember to pick the tomatoes. We picked as many as we could of all colours and came home with another 1.25 kg, that feels like a bumper picking for November. I'll roast most of the yellow and red ones later to make some pasta sauce for the freezer.

Picking over a kilo of tomatoes in November seems unheard of

The butternut squashes are ready to store, although in reality I'll be surprised if they see the new year. They are only small, but as there's only two of us they're perfectly sized.

Butternut squashes from the allotment

The borlotti beans are now drying in the conservatory. Up until yesterday I had a grand total of one bean - and I mean one bean, not one pod - from my efforts. These were from my second, and rather late sowing, which was an attempt to boost my harvest. Boosting the harvest worked, but I definitely need to do better with these favourite little beans next year.

Borlotti beans - not bad results from an emergency second sowing

And we picked the apple!

our solitary apple harvest

We're grateful for it, even though it was a solitary fruit. It means the tree we moved has survived and responded to the shock and its new position well, but next year we're hoping to get back to a better crop. Keep your fingers crossed!

Before I go, I'm going back to that cauliflower. Mostly because I'm still amazed at its size, but also to share another shot so you can see its size. I've had to cut it up into florets to store it in the veg drawer of the fridge. But I can tell you, I'm looking forward to eating it as cauliflower cheese!

A CAULIFLOWER BOUQUET?

A CAULIFLOWER BOUQUET?

That turned into quite a productive quick visit to the plot. It was chilly though, must remember to wrap up for the weeding session...