After a small 2 month partially involuntary break I'm back on the plot and I couldn't be happier. Firstly an apology and an explanation for my disappearing act, shortly after my last post wayyy back on June 26, I unfortunately contracted the dreaded COVID-19 after coming in to contact with someone at work who then tested positive, this subsequently wiped me out for the best part of a week(I'm very grateful and fortunate as it could have been alot worse). As I was recovering and coming to the end of my isolation period, and even though I confined myself to my room, my wife ended up catching it as well. This meant that my isolation period was reset and we had another 10 days of being stuck inside during some of the nicest weather of the year and right when my spuds and peas were ready to harvest. After almost 4 weeks of no allotment my motivation to even go to the allotment was at an all time low, and as a result my first trip back to the site wasn't until mid-august by which time mother nature was doing her best to try and reclaim my little plot. Every bed was riddled with weeds, my peas were wilted and beyond harvesting, the spuds that were ready early july had all wilted and when I pulled them up, roughly 90% of the first earlies were split, soft or green and my maincrop all had a nasty dose of scab, as well as all my lettuce bolting(going to seed). Most of my brassicas have either been devoured, presumably by caterpillars or slugs/snails, or have failed at germinating. My brussel sprouts may yet produce something although I'm not overly optimistic, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. All of this topped with some personal mental health struggles meant finding the motivation to even go to the allotment regularly was a challenge, luckily I have an amazing wife whoi knows how much the allotment means to me and has politely pushed me into going up to the plot. Anyways enough of the negatives, on to the positives and those of you who read my last post will know I entered my local council(who run the allotment site) photo competition, and after a few delays in announcing the winners. I found out I WON! I entered 3 out of the 4 categories, one of which I had no chance of winning, one i came roughly 5th in and the one I won, Best New Plot and whilst I didn't receive any certificate or monetary prize, unlike other category winners, I couldn't be more proud of myself. Other positives to keep me going include my first successful carrot, which was rather large and tasted delicious, however it was the only one to germinate in my first sowing of carrots, and the second sowing whilst they have germinated they really don't look particularly promising but we shall see, I think they should be ready to harvest in a couple of weeks. My parsnips on the other hand seem to have gone wild, at least the foliage has, hopefully this is the same below the surface, I also harvested all my onions and placed them in the polytunnel to dry out, as well harvested my first ever runner beans, which I'm told are delicious although I haven't had a chance to try them myself just yet, as i've been handing most stuff over to family and friends. My pumpkins only produced to fruits, but they've ripened nicely and are now sat in the garage waiting patiently for halloween carving and seed collection, so not a total loss and as the growing season starts to draw to an end i'm slowly starting to get on top of the weeds and prepare what was the spud bed for some green manure, another thing i've never tried before. The brassica bed will be overwintered with the purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese and cauliflower(whats left of them) and the sprouts and the runner beans and sweetcorn will harvested and cleared in a few weeks, put in the compost and then i'll prep that bed with cardboard and my homemade compost which I've just turned and added a load of rotting manure to. so should be nice and ready in a month or so. Over the colder months I plan to clear alot of the top quarter of the plot which I just kind of left to its own devices and is severly overgrown at the moment although it is producing a very tasty crop of blackberries, I also need to make a decision with my polytunnel and also where to put my apple trees for next year. Honestly one the best parts of having an allotment for me is just planning everything and working out what is going where, and when it needs to be in place. Ideally i'd like a greenhouse either at the site or at home so that I can start my seedlings off earlier next year but thats on the wishlist for the time being unless something pops up on FB marketplace thats to good to pass on. I also think I want to do the whole small raised pallet collar beds up the side so my parsnips, carrots, leeks and strawberries all have somewhere to grow rather than trying to squeeze them in various spare bed spaces like I did this time round, but at least i'm learning. I didn't choose the name AMATUER Allotmenteer for nothing. Same as the last post all the pics i've taken are at the bottom in a little gallery and I think i'll leave it there for now, as always please leave a comment and follow me on the various socials linked at the very bottom of the page.