Monday, June 27, 2011


Scorching hot!

yesterday was 37 deg C here! Phew! Luckily, Biggest one (bigger than me now!) had to go to a rugby tournament and needed dropping off at 6.45 am... lucky me. Anyway I took advantage to go spend a few hours on the plot. And readers, I worked like a navvy it must be said. By the time I got baxck mid morning it was getting really hot out there, so timing was just right.
Job 1 - pull out all the bloody groundsel that was edging the onion bed. Left it in situ as mulch along the edge of the bed
Job 2 - harvest the garlic. 32 bulbs, a pretty good result. Not too big but it's lovely pink garlic, excellent flavour. Also pulled up the early echalotes - there is at least a kilo of those! Beautiful pink and red long ones. The onion harvest should be a really good one. The bulbs are very big, the necks are starting now to droop and yellow and fall over so I am guessing that harvest can take place in about a fortnight or so. No bolting! I am soooo pleased.
Job 3 - Stick in a bit of manure and replace the garlic with some leftover tomato plants that were hanging around. Might as well let them grow, even if it's getting a bit late, I will get late fruit off them at worst.
Job 4 - tie up the tomatoes again (some are getting very unruly) and start to trim their foliage. Loads of flowers and a few small fruit developing - the beefsteak that I bought at a boot sale is getting quite a few fruit and I think it will be a good one. I noticed that the Evergreen green toms have odd flowers - really big ones with a lot of petals!!! Strange. But the plants are really vigourous and seem to love this hot weather. Many are now well over a metre tall. The aubergines are still quite small. but I persevere with them. The peppers are in flower, superb. There are about 6 pepper plants surviving in all, but that is enough.
Job 5 - Rip out the peas that have finished now. Didn't manage to get any seed to save from them, which is a pity. The Alderman were good, I will grow them again but I think in a wetter spring they will be much better. Dug in some manure and buried a whole box full of scraps under the bed and sowed French beans: Safari,YinYang, Yellow wax dwarf and Konigsneckern and Cobra talls. These should give me beans later in the season, when the first lots have given up.
Job 6 - Pick the gooseberries. DAMN IT! They hurt like f**k! Big spines, in fingers and ripping down arms. Got at least 2kg of fruit but it bloody hurt!

I pottered - weeding, watering, training the pumpkin vines which are completely rampant! The Turks' Turban has gone mad, and the Atlantic Giant has small fruit on it. Tidied the strawberries, pulled out the broad beans that are finished, tied up the cucumber vines that are starting to flower (as are the melons which are really vigourous!). Courgettes struglled for a while as the temperatures fluctuated a lot but they are growing, just taking their time this year (I was quite late with them, usually plants are in by may and this year I direct sowed in June :-S). The carrots and parsnips I sowed recently are starting to germinate. The lavender is in flower and all is well with the world.

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Monday, June 20, 2011


Quick harvest

As the rain which has stayed so long away has now decided to come back with a vengeance, there was little that could be done this weekend, except watch the allotment get greener!
I pottered for half an hour, picked a few green beans (the first! - but noticed that the stems have been wind damaged!!! Luckily there are more sowings to come), the last pens, broad beans, a few raspberries, and the first lot of gooseberries! at least a kilo! Small this year but sweet. I will have to get some sugar and get the jam cooking!
While I was picking them, I heard a rustling in the mulch, and suddenly, right near me, a tiny snout came up, then two bright eyes! The vole! Well, I don't doubt that it's not the same one... but I had noticed a few tunnels here and there. As I am one of the few that mulch, obviously my plot if a great attraction! She was under the raspberries, so probably picking up the windfalls. I noticed a few opea pods that were close to the ground, had been nibbled too. Oh well, She's so tiny and cute, I can't begrudge her a few veggies. She looked at me for a while then scurried back under the straw.
The tomatoes and peppers are going great guns, and the pumpkins are just going absolutely mad (I just don't actually know what some of them are! I am guessing butternuts but am unsure)! Courgette plants are growing quite well, some male flowers but no females yet, but the largest plant is starting to grow a dense interior section, with flower buds, which usually means that fruit will soon be on its way. I tied up one of the cucumbers, it is now about 30-40 cm high, and I think will soon be flowering. The melon plants are quite vigourous now, they are in flower. Wonder if we will get fruit though??
The garlic is dying back, soon be harvest time, when there is a sunny period. The onions this year are magnificent, and no bolting at all! Terrific!
New tasks for this week, if it stops raining long enough: pull up the dead pea plants and sow more green beans for the end of the season. Weed and feed the strawberry beds and tidy that general area. Hoe away the weed seedlings that are growing like mad... Last post before the official start of summer....What a strange spring it has been.

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Friday, June 17, 2011


Soggy week

Well the much needed rain we were all hoping for has arrived. It has been raining off anf on for most of the week. And good rain it is too, not torrential just mild steady showers on and off. Good for soaking into the ground but not running all over the place.
Hope I don't find to many weeds on teh lottie this weekend! I can't help thinking though that this will give an excellent start to the root veg I sowed last week, and encourage good growth on the courgettes and squash and tomatoes. Guess it will do the maincrop spuds good too, although probably a bit late for the earlies whose vegetation has already died off.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Whit weekend

It was Pentecost weekend, so a whole day more to work on the lottie. We are finally getting some rain, and that is seen by the huge amount of weeds that have suddenly sprouted! Luckily the plants are also responding well to the watering.

I dug out an incredible amount of weed, 2 whole barrows full. Mostly bindweed I add, although also a lot of fat hen, funnily enough, all in with the squash and beans.

I planted out the Brussels Sprouts which were really calling out to be planted, and pricked out some beetroot. I dug over the carrot bed, around the existing carrots (if you can call them that, put on some fertiliser and sowed Autumn King carrots, late beetroot (monoruba) and some parsnips, as the first row has so much weed I can't tell if they have germinated or not. Also sowed some summer lettuce, thinking maybe growing under fleece will help me get some lettuce!

Weeded, remulched the tomato/pepper/aubergine bed, and tied the toms up, First green tomatoes can be seen and some of the others are flowering. I also have a few feral tomatoes growing wild, I have grouped them near the flower bed and in with the garlic which will come out soon.
Picked the last of the peas, bar a few odd ones. Those Alderman were really good, I must do them again next year. Much better than the smaller varieties.
The first and second potatoes have completely died off! This is a strange phenomenon but which happens every year so I now assume is normal. I have started bringing out the Belle de Fontenay, they are still smallish but they taste lovely.

The squash are rampant, starting to run all over the place, but I am finding the courgettes slow. The first one I planted out has its first flowers but no fruit yet. The others (There are 5 plants this year) are just on their first true leaves. The cucumbers are starting to grow upwards on their wigwam, and I put some wooden frame around the melons so they can grow upwards a little. They are flowering but no fruit yet. The French beans are in flower so I guess that we will have beans quite soon.

My legs are pretty sore today so I must have worked well, The plot certainly looked tidier. I just managed to chuck the weeds on the waste pile and hotfoot it, as a fine rain began to fall, lightly but quite relentlessly. Oh well, it will be good for the new carrots!!

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Brief reprieve of rain

On the weekend we finally had some showers but I would say that it is not nearly enough to help with the drought situation. Still, enough so I don't have to go running with the watering can!
I tidied up the garden a little over the long weekend. but not nearly enough to satisfy me. There is a lot of bindweed, and I really need to sow late beetroot and autumn carrots. Still, I planted out the kale, and some more broccoli (hope springs eternal), and sowed late French beans (Safari and some yellow wax).
I dug up a few kilos of early spuds too. Actually they are not all early. I did plant a few random Ratte type - they are really too small right now but I need the space for other things! We ate them regardless. The Belle de Fontenay are small but delicious. I will do them again next year, with hopefully a bit more rain.
The big surprise is the onions. They are doing extremely well, some bulbs are looking mighty handsome. I can't believe how well they have grown with nearly no water except a few bits of hand watering.

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