Monday, 9 July 2012

It's all gone a little crazy

Ok, so my blogging attempts are about as frequent as my diary keeping when I was a teenager.

I've been popping down to the lottie whenever rain/time has permitted, mainly to water the tomatoes and aubergines in the greenhouse if it's raining, or to weed and plant stuff if it's not( I won't say if it's dry, as the plot is water logged and any digging is accompanied by squelches as the fork is moved around in the soil).

 Some of the vegetables are growing much more rapidly than I expected. Psb for example, I planted this in early May, it's now flowering - 6 months before it's supposed to. Not that I'm complaining cos I love the stuff and would have spent 6 months looking longingly at it waiting for the flower buds to appear.

Similarly, but only 3 months early, is the swede that I planted at the same time as the psb. Now, many people at the lottie have said that swede won't grow there, but I took a tip from someone who successfully grew them last year and started them on in pots. I have been watching them closely, as I do with the veg that I particularly love. The foliage was particularly luxuriant, and about a month ago I noticed the first signs of the purple shoulders emerging through the soil. Yesterday I gave in and dug one up. It was about the size of a ...swede...I can't think of anything of the same size, a ball that elderly folk bowl with outside in greens, is about it. We had it mashed with butter and a little black pepper. YUM, YUM, YUM.

You can see it in the above photo, along with some carrots, a little gem & onions. There are also a handful of baby beet, which I am going to turn into a tarte tatin a la HFW in  hisVeg Everyday cook book.

There is also the start of what might be (hopefully) a bumper crop of broad beans. We've already had a few from them but now they seem to be starting in earnest. Here's what I picked yesterday. I've been dying to try out the broad bean bruschetta from the same book.

Finally, a view of more or less the whole plot to compare last year with:
July 2012

Damn, just realised I don't have any photos of last July stored on the laptop I'm writing this on. Needless to say it didn't look like this!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

It's stopped raining...for now

It's been a while since I've written anything, not because I haven't been to the lottie but mainly because I haven't remembered to take my camera.

April, needless to say, has been the wettest so far and the persistent nature of the rain meant that allotment trips were mainly confined to watering the seedlings in the greenhouse and checking that everything was alright, no vandals etc. I awoke on 2nd May with the sun shining, no rain and it was my day off. With the greenhouse rapidly becoming a jungle I decided that this was the day for planting out. I started at 10.30am and didn't finish till 4.30pm. Phew!

 I know you're supposed to harden off seedlings before planting outside but they'll be producing crops if I delayed planting any longer. So the day started with about 60 pots of assorted seedlings and ended with 2 more rows of peas and mangetout and 7 rows of a variety of different brassicas.

Swede- Best of All
Pea - Kelvdon Wonder & Mangetout Oregon Sugar Pod
Cauliflower - All the Year Round
Sprouts and PSB
Peas & Mangetout

Red Cabbage

The ground was very boggy especially where I had dug it earlier in the year and hadn't compacted it and I lost my boot a couple of times and ended up with soggy socks as the boot was left behind such was the suction of the quagmire and the hole left by my boot soon filled with water. The plot has alot of clay under the top soil - there used to be clay pits in this part of town during the 19th century and before - so the ground is very wet indeed. Maybe I should be growing rice.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Feeling Fruity

I had a few days leave this week so I spent it on the lottie planting fruit bushes. I had dug up some raspberries from my garden - they didn't do very well there. My brother gave me one which he suspects may be a golden variety and a fellow allotmenteer, who was giving up her plot, gave me permission to dig up hers. All in all about 30 plants altogether - it's a good job we both love raspberries. I had been mulling over how to construct a cheap fruit cage. Searching on line showed them to be very expensive to buy and what with timber being quite pricey I had a walk around the site to see what others were doing to protect their fruit. I saw one plot had a simple cane, tennis ball and netting affair - genius. Tennis balls £1 for 4 in Poundland, I had already bought 8ft canes last year and 4m x 20m netting for about £36 from ebay (it is my birthday in March and I asked for money to buy allotment stuff). I'm pretty impressed, even if I do say so myself.
I joined the netting in the middle with twine and likewise secured it in the corners to stop the surplus netting tripping me up.
I also planted a couple of  very small blueberry bushes, that I also bought from Poundland.
In the foreground you can see the ph meter - just checking the the mixture of manure and ericacious compost was acid enough. Under the netting to the right are currant bushes; black, white and red. Also a few strawberries donated by my mum. I hoping to have a few more stawberries soon as a free gift from subscribing to Grow Your Own magazine - another birthday present, thanks Dad.