FYI

Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Late October Harvest, homebrew, balance sheet and a poem!

 Once again Im playing catchup with the blog, for which you have my apologies, as the weather cools, the nights draw in and I find myself wanting to curl up and stay in where its warm, it becomes something of a chore to drag yourself out into the cold to harvest, take piccies and then write it all up for the blog, however, as Im now on holiday for 2 weeks we should get a chance to clear the plot, take the remaining harvests and get ready for next years growing season!

We had our fourth frost of the season last night, a severe frost thats killed off a lot of the more delicate plants, and neccesitated us doing a harvest of any remaining crops today, but the good point about frosty weather is that it usually means we get a bright and clear day, with no wind, even if it is cold! As you can see, the courgettes have died off in the frost, the beans are dying, and a lot of the weeds are also dying back!

 Plot 2 looks fairly empty, yet there's still 2 1/2 beds of spuds, a bed of fartichokes and plenty of broccolli still to take!

 Despite the frost this rose has decided to bloom today, a beautiful sign of life trying to overcome the problems of the season!

 The sprout bed is doing really well, should have plenty to see us through the next few months!

 And the cabbage beds are still producing, this is the largest of the red cabbages, going to take this for making pickled red cabbage later in the week!

 This one came home with us today!

 The borlotti beans have done well, and are almost dry, so they will be harvested this week and stored for winter use!

 The last of the toms from the allotment greenhouses! About 20lb of ripe and about the same of unripe green toms, not bad for the end of October!

We also harvested turnips, swede, broccolli, caulie, chillies, peppers, raspberries and a few other bits n bobs today! Not too bad at all for the time of year, yet we've still got a fair bit still growing or almost ready for harvesting, as is shown in the updated balance sheet lower in the post!

 Another thing thats been going really well this year is our first forays back into the world of homebrewed wine! As you can see here, we've still got 5 demijohns of wine on the go, 1 of Elderflower, 1 of Elderberry, 2 of summer fruits and 1 made from the pressed juice from the grapes on the plot!

 We've also got a big batch of Mead on the go, with 5 gallons fermenting away in this barrel, and we are planning on making another 2 small batches of flavoured mead, 1 of Druids Celtic Mead and 1 of Metheglin, rosehip flavoured mead, which we are hoping to get started in the next few days!

The first batch of elderflower was bottled and labelled about 3 weeks ago now, and the batch of broad bean wine was bottled and labelled last week! As you can see, they've both cleareed really well, and the labels I made in OpenOffice and stuck on with a glue stick really finish them off well!

 We tried the first bottle of Elderflower last night, round at Pat and Colins (whilst extracting some honey), have to say we all thought it very good, crisp, clear, nicely dry and very pallateable, something non of us would have begrudged paying up to £10 a bottle for! Very happy with the results!

 Just a quick close up of the labels for the 2 types of wine we've so far bottled! I've got some work to do for the labels for the other 4 types of wine,  hopefully I will be able to make them as nice as these have turned out!

We've yet to try the Bored Bean wine, it needs a few weeks to mature before we try it, but I am tempted to take some to the Allotment Bonfire Night BBQ and see how it goes down!

So, onto the balance sheet!

Balance Sheet Update - 7th October 2010

Total Veg Plot Costs 2010

Rent + Subs for 2 full plots £100
Seeds £20
Seed Spuds £20
Onion Sets £6
Growbags £15
Chicken Manure Pellets £8
Plastic 'wannabe' Polytunnel £61
Bamboo Canes £8
Flower Plants £28
Scaffolding Boards £100
Watering Cans £8
Soft Fruits £16
Clematis £10
Arbour materials £ 40
Cold Frames (2) £30 (1/2 price at Argos)
Redcurrant £7.50
Birdhouse £7
Birdfeeders (for arbour) £10

Total Costs £ 504

Next years costs have already started, £59.50 for seeds (Wyevales sale), £7 for onion sets (3 varieties, 200+ sets in total), £12 for dual plum tree, so a total spend for 2011 of £88.50 so far, with only rent and subs + seed spuds to come (should be a total of £120 ish to add), so unless we decide to undertake any large projects on the plot, next year should be a relatively inexpensive one!

Total Veg Plot Harvests 2010


Rhubarb £ 35
Fartichokes £ 4
Volunteer Spuds £ 15
First Early Spuds £ 15
Second Early spuds £ 30
Early Main Spuds £ 20
Late Main Spuds £
Lettuce £ 14
Radish £ 15
Garlic £ 85
Strawberries £ 65
Summer Raspberries £ 35
Autumn Raspberries £ 25
Blackberries £ 35
Peas £ 40
Broad Beans £ 70
Courgettes £ 150
French Beans £ 110
Red Onions £ 20
White Onions £ 50
Cabbages £ 30
Peppers £ 45
Chillies £ 50
Tomatoes £ 230
Turnip £ 30
Swede £ 10
Runner Beans £ 100
Broccolli £ 65
Apples £ 20
Plums £ 5
Sweetcorn £ 150
Chard / Spinach £ 2
Aubergines £ 5
Cucumbers £ 11
Blueberries £ 5
Caulieflower £ 20
Grapes £ 35
Sprouts £ 5
Jerusalem Artichokes £
Summer Squashes £ 20
Pumpkins £ 20
Beetroot £ 5
Leeks £ 5

Total Veg Plot Harvests £ 1705

So, a total nett profit of £ 1191 so far this year, with a large amount of harvests still to come! We've still got 2 1/2 beds of spuds to bring home, lots more swede and turnips, 27 sprout plants, a bed of leeks, a large bed of fartichokes, borlotti beans are almost ready to harvest, more cabbages, more broccolli, more rasps, lots of chard and spinach and a few more bits n pieces besides! The rest of the crops should bring the total harvests up to at least £1850, and possibly quite a bit more!!


Hope your harvests are safetly in, your plots are cleared and you've had as good a growing year as we have!

Oh, I got an email the other day, from the Government Petition website! I set up a Petition (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/LowImpactLiving/) a year ago past, asking whether we could have a new class of land for planning purposes, to allow those of us who wish to live an ecologically sound self sufficient lifestyle to do so, although more than 300 folks signed the petition, it wasnt enough to guarantee a response, but once arrived this week out of the blue! You can read the response to the petition at the link below!

http://www.hmg.gov.uk/epetition-responses/petition-view.aspx?epref=LowImpactLiving

 Nice to get a reply, but a shame that they cant allow those of us who want to live 'the Good Life' to do so!

Finally, I just wanted to share a poem I wrote the other day, I was listening to the Druidpodcast and got some inspiration, so penned this poem in about half an hour, I took my feelings about the fact that although you can buy agricultural land quite easily, it is almost impossible to do so and get permission to live on the land, and with the threats of peak oil, energy descent and climate change I decided to use them as the basis for a clarion call to arms for those of us who wish to live 'with' the land! What do you think?

Making a Stand?

Walking the path that calls to my soul,
Recalled again to play my Role,
Living a life rooted in the Old Ways,
Learning once more for all of my days!

Finding my way along the crooked path,
Sorting wisdom from chiff and chaff,
Living a life rooted in the Land,
Yet yearning for more, to make a stand!

The Land calls me forth to live a greener life,
Sustainable and self sufficient, with all its strife,
Earthen Sheltered I wish a home for me,
Yet without money its not to be!

Short-sighted rules of those who planned,
Keep us chained to a life that’s killing the Land!
Profitable decisions rule the day,
Yet in the long run its All who will pay!

Greenhouse Emissions out of control,
Melting Icecaps at the Pole!
The black gold is running out,
Civilisation is now at it's last shout!

Legacy of past riches squandered away,
For the price of a life lived at play!
Culture of Greed is how most now live,
For tomorrow not one thought most now give!

Yet there is still another way....
Living in harmony, day by day!
Reclaiming our connection with the Land,
Is it now time to make our Stand?

Land is owned by so very few,
But with it, most know not what to do!
Called forth, a new Vision we need to see!
One that’s fair and allows all to Be!

Communities once more come to the fore,
Building together, living within the Lore!
Regaining the connections that once were Ours,
Reclaiming again those once lost Powers!

Land enough to grow and farm,
Living a life with minimal harm!
Reclaiming the skills of times long gone past,
Building a future that’s bound to last!

Managing the Land through permaculture,
Safeguarding the Land for all our Future!
Sustainable building from local resources,
Allowing Nature to run her courses!

Technology yet still has its place,
But it needs a human face!
Not the God of corporate greed,
But as a tool, us to feed!

Learn well the lessons of the past,
Build things that are made to last and last!
Choose to work on a human scale,
Pass on the word with Your Tale!

If we choose to make a Stand,
We still can save the Land!
Its up to you to choose you're Fate!
Act Now, before its too late!

Suzanne Read
Samhain 2010

Well, more updates to follow over the next 2 weeks, thanks for reading!

4 comments:

The Idiot Gardener said...

That wine looks good; I'd get stuck in. I hate it when my wine is ready because I spend the first few days very pissed, and then feel like crap for a few more!

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