Friday, May 29, 2009


Quick pic

I had one or two pics left unpublished so just a quick message to add them.
This is my "top" patch, you also see the shed, which is a tip inside!! See where we hacked out the grass that was along the alleyways? Looks much better now, if a bit naked.
The artichoke is so big now, but I love it, it has given about a dozen fruit this year, I am dead proud of it. I manured it in winter and removed a lot of old leaves and this is how it has rewarded me.
Behind it you can see a lovely mallow plant, thet grew by itself, would you believe it! It is covered in pretty pink flowers and attracts lots of bees, bumblebees and other insects, just what the doctor ordered. Leaning against the shed wall are the herbs, from left to right: thyme (in flower at the moment), some mint and parsley, a lemonbalm (the big bushy thing), a rosebush that is surrounded by tarragon, a lemon verbena and some newly planted sage (which are hidden by the artichoke). The stakes in the ground are for some climbing beans: you can just see them showing at the bottom left of the photo. They are a variety called Cobra and this is the first year I have tried them. The beans were purple!!
It looks so pastoral, you would never guess that just on the other side of the wood is a whole neighbourhood of flats, shops and schools.
And here are my onions, of which I am very proud this year. No bolting yet and they look terrific, healthy foliage and thick stems, which I hope means lots of big onions for my cooking.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009


No storm damage

Well, a quick trip to the allotment this morning (mainly to empty my compost bin which was getting very smelly in the kitchen) revealed that the storms of the past few days had not caused any damage, but had certainly given the ground a good soaking!It seems to be a good time for rain, the potatoes are coming up champion. They will need a good coating of Bordeaux mixture though, as humidity is high.

My neighbour Raymond has something amusing on his lot: potatoes are growing out of his compost!! I took a pic of them because I must admit they seem a picture of good health!
I also quickly planted 3 courgette plants that were getting a bit big for the kitchen, hopefully they will take off as the courgettes are very slow this year, last year I started harvesting in June but I can't see that happening now.
The strawberry plants have loads of ripe fruit too, so a quick trip will be needed on the way back from work I think, to get them before the magpies do!!
On the pic below you can see the Tomato and aubergine patch (the toms aren't quite all in yet, there is still a section to be dug and planted). They look a bit pathetic because the aubergines and peppers got badly storm damaged, but to my surprise they are growing new growth, and I bought in a few new plants so I hope that I will get some aubergines after all. This is my first year growing them.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Stormy weather

It was a big week in the garden. My allotment neighbours helped me do various tasks so now my paths are clear and tidy and the allotment is looking really fab (photos to follow soon).

I have managed to plant the aubergines and the first tomatoes, but many of my first plants have been destroyed after a series of desctructive thunderstorms, so I have had to replant some. I am currently waiting to replant some young courgette plants, to replace the first ones that got washed away!
I also sowed some new peas, as the first sowing is now nearly ready for harvesting, those sweet tender pods are starting to form. they are Kelvedon Wonders which seem to have lots of flowers and buds although they are quite low to teh ground, a bit of a pain to pick.
I made a last ditch effort to get some carrots going, following a meighbour's advice of mixing a large quantity of sand with the soil, mixing carrot and radish seed for easy thinning and watering well (considering the rain we have had, no worries there!).
The 3 sisters bed has been planted, with sweetcorn, drying beans and pumpkins. Let's hope that the recent storms have not done too much damage to the young plants... I planted sweetcorn plants and also sowed a few seeds directly at the same time, hopefully something at least will take. On the pic below, taken a week after planting, it doesn't look like much, but the beans are just starting to peep up

The potatoes are doing fabulously well, lots of foliage and I have been treating them with Bordeaux mixture, so hopefully this muggy wet weather will not cause blight.
On the pic below, the earlies are nearest the onions. They are a variety called "Anoe", I am only just trying them so I don't know what they will be like. They were planted on 2 March so I expect they should be ready to dig up soon. Maybe I should try one this weekend and see what's under it??
After that there are charlottes then Fontana variety, for lates.

Broad beans will be ready very soon, there are many pods, and very little blackfly, I only discarded one plant top that had aphids. I planted these late this year, I didn't get time to overwinter them, but they seem to be ready to give an excellent crop despite that. I love to eat them young, with the skins on, in salads.
Onions and garlic may be the crop of the year. The stems are thick, foliage is healthy (some rust on the garlic, I bordeauxed them too), and they have been well weeded. No bolting yet, which I am delighted about. On the pic below, the garlic is in the foreground and the others behind it, a mixture of echalotes (round ones and Jermor, the elongated ones with a terrific flavour for salads), red onions and yellows, including Stuttgart and a French variety called jeune paille des vertus. You can see that it is relatively weed free for once.

The fruit is growing well, lots of flowers on the raspberries and tiny gooseberries are all over the bushes. We have been eating strawberries for a week now, a punnet every 2 or 3 days and they are sweet and full of flavour.

The artichokes this year are also marvellous, we have already eaten 2 meals of them (deliciously fresh) and the bush is still laden with tiny globes. It is a massive bush this year, about a square metre and a metre high too.

Apart from the carrots, I have also my leeks growing in tubs at home, and small plants of broccoli and Brussel sprouts. I sowed basil for the kitchen windowsill and started seedlings of red cabbage, just a few for the winter time.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Storm disaster

Oh dear I visited the lottie after three days of absolutely torrential rain. To my dismay, my courgette plants have been almost all pulverised and some of the eggplant/aubergine and chili peppers have been damaged. I hope they will perk up again once the milder weather comes back. But I was relieved in the end not to have put the tomatoes and sweetcorn out, they could have all been destroyed!
I guess I can always buy in a few aubergines but I was so disappointed, I had grown them from seed and they were looking great.
So this morning I sowed some more courgettes, I guess they pop up quickly so no great problem.
The lot is completely submerged around the edges but my neighbours said they would help and sure enough someone has trimmed all around my fruit section for me, it looks really nice. I will attack the other path with the pickaxe as soon as i can but I really need to finish the planting first. I should ask for a strimmer for Christmas except I don't know how to use one yet!!!
I also ate my first artichokes, even a huge one that was as big as a melon! they were delicious. And the first strawberries are ripening too. At least that is some compensation.

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Monday, May 11, 2009


woefully neglectful

of both blog and garden... well I did get some things done over my MayDay weekend but not as much as I should have. The tomatoes are STILL in my living room, along with the sweetcorn. Oh well, there is always another day but it's getting a bit late.
I managed to get the squash out though, a lovely bed of courgettes, and sow my yellow beans and some climbing French beans, first go at those. I also planted all the eggplant/aubergines and hot peppers. All the spuds are in and growing nicely, all peeking through and duly earthed up, and the onions and garlic are going great guns. Of course they are always the surprise element: however nice the green tops look you never know what they will turn out to be under the soil!! Still, they have been grown in a well-manured spot this year and we have had a good few downpours so I hope I will get a good crop.
The broad beans and peas are flowering which means a crop soon enough, which will be great, I need a little boost. strawberries are also starting to spring up, I hope I will see red splashes soon, as they are my favourite crop from the lot.
However despite a good few efforts at cleaning up, weeds are invading all the edges again, and the paths. My neighbours offered to spread the word that I need a bit of help clearing them off, but I have heard that before and no one actually comes with a shovel, so I am not really counting on it. Once those bloody tomatoes go in, I shall attack it all with a pickaxe...
And yes we are sorely lacking in pics, but a few days of pouring rain has dampened my enthusiasm. I will try and get some taken later this week.

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