Needing to pick up some of our camping gear from my parents, a day trip to a somewhat parched Northamptonshire was in order. This also gave us a chance to check on the pumpkins I gave to my Mum to plant out in the 'family allotment'.
In reality this is an approximate 3.5 acre field adjoining my Grandad's house that has been used for many things over the last 30 years from strawberries to potatoes, but now Grandad is well into his 90s there is probably only around a quarter of it used now. And whilst he is still pretty active with his growing he doesn't need much room for just his stuff so it now functions as a space for my Mum and Dad to grow their veg, as well as Mum's sister and brother. And right at the end of the field is a 30+ year old orchard with a mix of about a dozen trees. And these apple, pear, plum and damson trees are prolific. Given there is far too much for Grandad, there's nothing he likes more than sending us off with as much as we can carry!
As you can see it's doing quite well! There are approximately six different squashes in here: Tom Fox, Crown Prince, Gemstore, Goldie, Defender and some sort of butternut squash. There may be another pumpkin in there as well, but no-one's quite sure and it's kinda difficult to tell now they've grown in every direction. The Tom Fox is the 'traditional' orange pumpkin which my Mum is looking after to grow a pumpkin for each of her 3 grandchildren. These have recently been 'written' on with each of their names to grow into the skins, which are hiding under the leaves, and they are roughly all the same size of just a bit larger than a basketball. And at this rate it's doubtful where either of the two younger grandchildren are going to be able to lift them up.
The Gemstore and Crown Prince are there as a backup for our plants and the courgettes are there for who ever can eat them - which given the size of some of them and the number going straight on the compost heap, isn't that many people.
Although it's still a bit early in the year we still came away with a dozen or so apples and a load of plums - having sadly forgotten the names of both of them. However the rest of the trees are loaded with fruit so we're looking forward to a return visit at some point in the future and will hopefully be purchasing an apple press to take along too so we can make use of the ones that have fallen on the ground too.
The trees aren't that tall but are just right for climbing in though:
And one of the trees also supplies the family with mistletoe:
A quick browse through the raspberry patch and the greenhouse and our haul was complete:
Although to be honest, we have no need for the marrows and left them behind!