Sunny September’s Harvest

Here’s our quick pictorial look at some of September’s harvest season action at The Secret Acre.

As is so often the case now under climate change, awful August gave way to warmer days again in September, as soon as the school had gone back (September was second warmest on record for the UK), before autumn could return again properly in October.

In the garden, flowers, fruit and veg all continued in abundance as we moved into this harvest festival and apple pressing season.

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Going for the One

You might remember that last year, Emma tied on points with another competitor for first place overall as ‘Best in Show’ at our local Fruit and Veg Show

We are nothing if not competitive here at The Secret Acre, so as the start of Village Produce Show season loomed again at the end of August, Emma was plotting to go one better this year.

And that she did, claiming the ‘Best in Show’ trophy as outright winner this year, picking up the section winner cups for Best Baker and Best Brewer en-route.

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Making the Most of Awful August

It seems to us that more and more August is becoming the start of autumn in the UK under climate change. Certainly our green roof seems to think so!

In the last few years, summer heat seems to have started too early in spring, with an awful August (in time for the school holidays!) before the sun often returns again in September before a final slide into full autumn.

Nonetheless, July’s veg patch bounty continued to accelerate in August, aided by our usual school holiday influx of visitors, put to work on the growing harvest.

Here’s a few of our pics from our August at The Secret Acre.

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Bountiful July in the Garden

After a slow spring start, and flaming June, July saw the traditional arrival of glut on the Secret Acre veg patch.

Here are some picture from July as cabbages, onions, garlic, field beans, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, fennel, courgettes, tomatoes, purple French beans, apples from our very early Beauty of Bath variety, and more, all arrived in a bountiful rush.

Meanwhile, our newly created asparagus bed seems to be settling in, while gliders from the nearby airfield silently ploughed their way through the summer skies over the gardener’s head.

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Our Field Bean Experiment

Regular readers will know that we over winter our broad beans, onions and garlic on the veg patch. We’ve also had increasing success using green manure field beans over winter too.

One thing we’ve noticed over the hardships of winter, is how the green manure field beans always seem to suffer much less, and recover more quickly, than their broad bean relations.

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Flaming June on the Veg Patch

Here’s a quick pictorial look at some of the June’s garden action at The Secret Acre.

After a slow start, due to the weird Spring weather, June finally delivered some warm sunshine allowing the garden to burst into life.

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The Parsnip of Promise

Much excitement on The Secret Acre winter veg patch.

“Look at the size of this parsnip” Emma calls over pointing at the giant disc sitting surrounded by topsoil.

“That would be a great one to dig up for Christmas.”

So we did….. Continue reading

Harvest 2020 – Part 4: Squeezing the final Pips

Last month saw some of our final summer harvest pickings as the decent into autumn gathered pace.

It’s been a long lockdown summer in the garden.

From the early broad beans, onions and garlic, through the traditional gluts, and welcome summer helpers.

Here’s another pictorial roundup of the final action. Continue reading

Cash Crop?

Like most smallholders we still work part-time, the holy grail of living off the land proving elusive in the current unsustainable era of cheap industrial food which hides the true costs of production. Continue reading

Best in Show

Regular readers will know that autumn’s harvest season also brings forth the village show.

We have form, stating with some urban practise, and then some baby steps, before gaining experience for a successful all-out assault on a whole section last year.

To be frank, I didn’t think it could get any better, and along with the uncertainty around the virus this year, I doubted we would enter. Continue reading