Autumn delights

It’s been a glorious autumn day, with a slight nip in the air but lovely sunshine and leaves beginning to fall from the trees. As I cycled to the allotment this afternoon, leaves blew in my face and conkers fell from trees. It felt a little scary but also quite exciting. I dread the end of summer but when autumn really comes, it brings its own joys.

One of these joys is planning next year’s crop. At the allotment, I got down on my hands and knees and hauled strings of couch grass from the soil. We’ve had a bit of rain and it was relatively easy to pull the roots out. While I was down there I met this happy worm, wriggling through the crumbly soil, a sign indeed that the soil was in good shape.

I sowed a whole bag of red onion sets and a couple of rows of broad beans. Last year these overwintering crops were hauled up and/or eaten by beasts unknown and produced a rather dismal harvest. Ever the optimists, we’re trying again, this time putting down a sheet of netting to try and keep out whatever the culprits were.

Other crops are doing well: potatoes, runner beans, rainbow chard, apples and the first leeks. Last week I brought home this rainbow of joys, which I cooked up in a stir fry of rainbow chard, runner beans, some of the few successful red onions and some yellow turnips. It tasted as good as it looked.

Back at the house the apples are in full production:

Some of these are being eaten raw or cooked, more cakes have been made and there is a constant refrain of ‘look at these apples, aren’t they amazing!’ and a response from across the kitchen ‘Yes dear, why don’t you go and blog about them?’. ‘But they already know. I tell my readers every year’. ‘Tell them again’. So just in case you haven’t got it yet – apple trees are amazing. You plant a tree, leave it alone and in just a few years, you get apples and then the next year you get more apples and then more and every time they taste even better than before. Autumn is great because you get autumn leaves and conkers but you also get apples.

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