It is now time to get on with more rigorous work again on the allotment but, until the first heavy frosts arrive, I try to temper my eagerness to clear much of the beds whilst there are still plants growing.
A couple of rows of mange tout peas are doing very nicely, grown from seed planted in late August, having failed to sprout at all from a sowing in the spring. The pattypan squash too has several new fruit which I hope will have time to mature before the rest of the plant dies off.
This year I shall protect the rainbow chard from hungry birds before their food supplies begin to run short and the brightly coloured stalks can add a bit of warmth whilst all around is looking dull and bare.
Next to the chard are several parsley plants, which I would say have been my best and favourite new crop this year, mainly for the taste but also for the health benefits as parsley is rich in minerals, including calcium and iron. I have found it to be especially tasty cooked in a white sauce and served with home-cooked ham in cider.
If I had a wish for the allotment for next summer it would be to see the small, friendly bugs and flies that I have marvelled at in the past including shield bugs (these were around in great numbers one year), damselflies and dragonflies, comma and red-admiral butterflies as well as rarities like a hawk moth caterpillar and bombylius major. Even the frogs have deserted my small pond but the robins are certainly living up to their reputation of being the friendliest of birds with one chatty, young redbreast following me particularly closely as I begin to dig up the beds before winter arrives.