sunday sunflower

A good autumn walk on Hampstead Heath, sunny and still. At noon I noted how low the sun was in the sky, no longer over head, now struggling to get much above the tops of the heaths taller beech trees.
IMG_9785
Late afternoon at the plot. Under the golden glow of the sunflowers. They are bursting into magisterial bloom (planting them late in the season seems good idea now rather than an oversight). It’s lovely to enjoy their pyrotechnic display against an October sky.
IMG_9825
I can’t say I did much other than chat and photograph. But loved it, loved being there. It’s funny how an hour there can breath a healthy complexion into your pale week.
IMG_9730
We picked the borlottii beans and some black beans that again were planted late in the season, they looked like they might be better eaten whole rather than wait to see if the weather would be kind and let the beans proper develop and ripen (we tried one raw and it was delicious).

IMG_9858

Howard Sooley
05 October 2014

leaves

from the pavements of Kentish Town


Howard Sooley
03 October 2014

summer fading to autumn

The days are definitely getting shorter and the mornings colder. The mellowing sun lower in the sky.
IMG_9566
IMG_9619
There is a cold damp morning mist clinging to Hamstead Heath, wrapped around the trees. The first falling golden leaves of autumn lay on the pavement outside my studio (which I pick up and photograph).
The allotment is looking healthy enough for this time of year, one of our late sown sunflowers lighting up the plot like an angle poise lamp.
IMG_9687
IMG_9790
There’s plenty of winter salad, taking advantage of the last warmth of the sun, they will soon need thinning and transplanting.
Despite the slowing of growth, there’s still life here. Party dress Dahlias on neighbouring plots, clear orange of calendula and nasturtium glow like bright embers in the ash.
IMG_9667
I love this time of year, a calm moment of equilibrium, before the pendulum swings back toward the darkness of winter.


Howard Sooley
25 September 2014

bean soup

Cooked a bean soup on the plot. We hoping to roast the sweet corn (which we did anyway) but it hadn’t been a good corn year for us , as was last year and the one before… we don’t seem to be good at corn.
IMG_0536
The day was still and warm and the allotments curiously unpopulated. Conkers plummeted from the trees, ricocheting like pistol fire from the branches as they fell.
IMG_0621

IMG_0594

IMG_0623
The bees, aware of the spent embers of hollyhock, hurriedly made the most of the last splashes of late summer colour. We sowed (late) some winter leaf hoping the autumn would be kind to us.
The bean soup was delicious.

Howard Sooley
07 September 2014

11 potatoes

I was at the plot just before 7am this morning, met by a fine misty drizzle. The pigeons were busy taking breakfast amongst the half chewed remnants of our mizuna. My approach sent them bursting up into the high branches. I wish they’d stay there.

IMG_3516

IMG_3523

On sunday we had cleared a space for the potatoes, by moving the remaining chard to the opposite side of the plot. It is a remarkably full plot, but we now have a clear run of 11’ x  2’, which progressed with the digging of a trench (Allan now in need of an osteopath…)

We seem to be drawn towards growing potatoes, it’s not like we really have the space. Last year with the lack of sun the they marauded over half the plot, and  then repaid us frugally with a few unimpressive tubers. But we persevere every year, somehow reassured by their presence. They make it feel like a ‘real’ allotment, give dimension. We grow very few root crops, but somehow they seem necessary.

IMG_3513

IMG_3484

Today was a root day so in went the 11 potatoes..

in order from left to right they were..

Rosabelle

Rosabelle

Belle de Fontenay

Sharpes Express

Sharpes Express

Belle de Fontenay

Arran pilot

Arran pilot

Foremost

Foremost

Foremost

18_03_2014

Howard Sooley

a few days later..

Sowed four rows of spring salads and rocket yesterday, two rows of spanish peas today.

IMG_3357

All in blissful warm sunshine. The winter mustards all bolting into yellow flower. The deep mahogany chicories slowly reverting back to summer green.

IMG_3367

IMG_3375

The pond now choked with frogs spawn, with little or no space between the lumps of wobbly translucent jelly.

IMG_3420

14_03_2014

Howard Sooley