Friday, October 16, 2015

Harvest 2015

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness - John Keats

This was my first year having a Finnish allotment and it was a steep learning curve. I inherited a plot full of deep rooted thistle-type plants that I spent ages digging up, only for them to come back as the tap root went down forever. I planted a lot of things too late or my first attempts died when I transplanted them outside so my replacements were too late to do much in the short Finnish summer. 

Next year I think I will not bother with starting things early in the house. It's messy and complicated. Early June I will plant everything outside in pots or at the plot itself. The sun lasts so long then they catch up quickly. Potatoes need to go in under fleece, for some reason one whole row didn't come up even though it was only planted a week after the first row. Carrots shouldn't go under fleece as the weeds grew so quick in the warm environment that they overtook and smothered my carrots. I'll keep them in my boxes at home, I think. My lettuce in the boxes was brilliant, but I need more varieties as only one came up. It saved me a fortune in salad bags, I also bought the ones in little pots that would regrow after first use which were handy. 

My onions did well, though the rope didn't dry properly so they are now just in a pile on a table. The parsnips I inherited grew big, but the roots were small and hard. I saved the seed so will try again next year. I still need to go and do a final dig over soon as we already have frosts, but we've been busy with guests this holiday week, so hopefully this weekend. 

This was my entire crop of potatoes, small and pitiful. Two meals worth. Not sure what went wrong. 

The pumpkins didn't get big enough before the frosts and the corn didn't ripen properly. Like I said, a steep learning curve. 

Our big harvest this year was the apple trees. After barely producing last year, we had a bumper crop, but they are so small and we fight the birds and bugs for decent apples. I'm going to try pruning the trees this spring to see if we can get better quality and less wind-falls early on. The kids loved clambering in the trees after the apples, but aren't interested in really eating them. 

I've struggled to keep on top of the apples. I have the tree full of winter apples to finish picking. I think I'm going to borrow a neighbour's dehydrator or whatever it's called to dry the last lot. 

I've frozen a lot of apple sauce, stewed apples and apple butter, but the kids go through them so quick, they won't last long. That last bag of strawberry jam has already been pulled out. I have a drawer full of strawberries that I'll have to cook up soon for more. At least I haven't spent a fortune on apples this year unlike last, but it does take a lot of time.


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