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St Swithin's day

Posted By: paul 24/08/2009 14:07:00

Yesterday was St Swithin's day, and according to the saying...

Yesterday was St Swithin's day, and according to the saying,
St Swithin's day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St Swithin's day, if thou be fair;
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair

Here in Dorset there was no rain so I guess 'twill be fine for forty days. Swithin was a Bishop of Winchester, and when he died he asked to be buried in the churchyard, but out of respect his remains where later brought into the church. It then rained so hard for forty daysthose in authority moved him back to the graveyard. The rain stopped and a legend was born.


St Swithin's Day was also used by Orchard owners who would 'never cut or eat apples until St Swithin had Christened them'. They must have had some early apples, cos mine are nowhere near ready yet. During Medieval times there where various festivities on St Swithin's day marking theHay harvest and Reed cutting.

It also seems to be a good day to start the major harvesting on my allotments. Some of the crops I had over wintered were ready a bit earlier , but this years plantings are ready to pick now. In fact last night I picked so much stuff I could hardly carry the basket home. I dropped off some Turnips, Potatoes, Carrots, Courgette's and Beetroot to one of my local pubs, as the landlord doesn't have anywhere to grow his own veg, and in return he gave me a bottle of beer and a pint. Not a bad swap if you ask me. With three pubs within 100 meters of each other there could be some potential with this veg swapping idea ;-).

On the Allotments there is still much to be done. Allotment 1 has now only got three rows of Carrots, three of Turnips, one of Beetroot and a hundred or so Potatoes.

The 'Three sisters' are doing okay, although three sistersthe Bean Sister is now well and truly dwarfed by the Sweet corn. The Crown Prince Squashes are doing well and have started to spread over the allotment smothering the weeds as they go. I have already counted 30 baby squashes, and as they still have a long way to go. I could be eating squash for the next year! I wonder what the beer exchange rate is for a squash?

The Potatoes are dying back and are ready to harvest. Which reminds me, I was asked last week when you should harvest Potatoes? If you want 'new' potatoes you harvest when the flowers have died, but if you want to enjoy larger potatoes wait Potatoesuntil the plant has died back to the ground. Also for those of you who follow moon planting, there are times when it is more beneficial to harvest. If you follow the waxing/waning cycle it is better to harvest during the new moon if you are going to store the crop. If you are following the Biodynamic cycle then the best time to harvest is when the moon is descending. For me I will start harvesting this weekend as it is a root day nearest the new moon, providing the weather allows me to get out that is.

On allotment 2 the Courgette's are now harvesting rapidly and providing a daily crop, and everything else is just ticking along nicely. On the raised bed at home the second sowing of rocket is cropping well and the second crop of Kohl Rabi is being picked. Also at home the Chickens have now successfully hatched three more chicks, so we are up to 11 chickens in all.

That just about covers it this week. Next week, on Wednesday,there will be a solar eclipse in the Pacific which is supposedly one of the longest ones ever!

Happy Gardening!


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