Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday 31st July - I Want One of These!

Yesterday was hard, hard work. The remaining garlic, onions and shallots all needed digging up and drying. I cleaned them up and laid them out in the greenhouse to air.

That left the bed to be dug over, not so easy when the soil is as hard as concrete. After three solid hours of backbreaking forking I had converted two thirds of the concrete into small, hard boulders.

Our neighbouring plotholder chose this moment to explain that I was doing it all wrong. He produced a spade and proceeded to demonstrate the correct method of digging soil. After one shovel-full, he pronounced that the ground was as hard as rock and that I would break my back trying to dig it like that. Considering I could hardly stand and my legs had turned to jelly, this wasn't much of a surprise.

Neighbour then produced a miracle tool from his shed and won my everlasting devotion.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sunday 30th July - Marigold Seeds

I really loved the pot marigolds that we grew this year, they were much nicer than the short, bright orange things that I've seen around other plots. Some of them have formed seedheads which I brought home to dry ready for next year.

This photo looks shockingly autumnal.

Saturday 29th July - Dried Cabbage

As Hereford seems to have been bypassed by all these thunderstorms, I was once more watering the plot this morning. As is often the way, I got chatting to one of the OAPs while we were filling up our watering cans at the trough. He said, "It comes to something when you are watering your cabbages at this time of year." I nodded sagely as only one of our cabbages germinated this year and we haven't been watering it. I have now added the lone cabbage to the 'things that need watering' list.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Friday 28th July - Blauhilde Beans

Note to self:

Grow a lot of Blauhilde Beans next year
1) They are delicious.
2) They don't seem to attract veg eating bugs.
3) We haven't managed to kill any.

Wednesday 26th July - Garlic

Mel's Mum said that we would not be able to keep any of our garlic due to the rust. I'm not so sure and inspired by My Tiny Plot, who seems to know her rusty onions, I have dried a bag full in the garden. They look and taste delicious.

Thank you My Tiny Plot!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday 25th July - Stoned Cat

Tiggy the cat at 18 years of age should know better than to roll around in the nepeta.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tuesday 25th July -The Enemy

Is there no end to the small wee beasties that eat more veg than Spouse?

Cabbage white butterflies lay their eggs on plants of the mustard family (crucifers). Eggs are usually laid on the underside of the leaf, where the caterpillars also hang out. Caterpillars are a velvety green with faint white lines along the sides. They chew big holes in the leaves. If you see this kind of damage, turn the leaf over and look carefully: you can probably apprehend the culprit and kill it!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Monday 24th July - French Onion Seller

I cycled up to the plot where Steve & Mel were filling up their car boot with produce. Steve suggested I take some garlic & shallots as he & Mel had been taking lots of them to eat fresh. I did so, rather wishing I had donned a stripy t-shirt & beret for the trip back.

Take a look at this lovely archive film of Newcastle in the 1960s: We Know Our Onions - French Onion Sellers in Tyneside ©NRFTA) and listen to the Geordie influenced French accents.

Sunday 23rd July - Brief Rain Shower

I arrived at the plot just as the rain started and sat in the greenhouse to watch. Some of the cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen and I couldn't resist gorging on a few.

Did you know that The largest tomato plant grown, was of the cultivar Sungold and reached 19.8 m (65 ft) length, grown by Nutriculture Ltd (UK) of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK, in 2000?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday 22nd July - Sweetcorn

I am double smug today; firstly my lunch is pictured here on the barbecue which was accompanied by an ice cold beer. Secondly, there were a few spaces on the ear and according to Native American folklore,
When an ear of corn bears a few scattering kernels with spaces producing no corn, it is said that is a good sign that the planter will live to a ripe old age. So old will they be that like the corn, their teeth will be few and far between.

This means that my teeth will match my hairdo.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday 21st July - Grave News from Subplot

Sister's veg plot was not completed in time for the family bash on the weekend.

Older relatives were concerned by the resemblance to an altogether different type of plot...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday 17th July - Name that Bean

Mel definitely planted some borlotti beans somewhere on the plot but I reckon that the long purple beans are in fact Blauhilde which featured in our plan back in February. Does Dig For Victory grow these???

Note to Mel: Can you remember where you planted the borlotti beans?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday 16th July - Marrowthon

Just look at the size of our giant marrow - even Spouse is impressed. Not sure what to do with the purple borlotti (we think) beans in the background - does anyone have any tips? When do we harvest / cook etc etc!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday 13th July - Spouse's Birthday

And Steve & Mel gave him this rather fab card from Violent Veg! Steve & Spouse are both Cancerians and according to the astrologers should be good at gardening. Proof if ever it was needed that astrology is bo****ks.

Talking of leeks, ours are now pencil size and planted.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday 11th July - Mower

At only £29.99 from Argos, this push/pull lawnmower should be perfect for our very small grass strip. The original patent dated 1830 stated,
"country gentlemen may find in using my machine themselves an amusing, useful and healthy exercise."

Spouse, pictured here putting the mower together, is not convinced.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday 10th July - Chilli

"What's that green thing?" asked Spouse while I was downloading my allotment pictures. It is our first Hungarian Wax pepper grown from seed in the greenhouse. We have 3 big plants doing well in a growbag and 2 smaller ones in pots. Apparently, they are very good pickled. Wish I could say the same about Spouse.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday 6th July - Potatoes

Spouse was silenced last night when I returned with this lot from the allotment. He cooked it all up with lamb chops and fresh mint sauce from the garden.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday 6th July - RAIN

I awoke to dark skies and persistent rain which is fantastic because tonight is my turn to do the watering!

Spouse has been darkly muttering for some weeks about the lack of carrots, beans etc although he did compliment me on my, "lovely big cucumbers." We have 3 cucumber plants in a growbag which seem to be thriving despite all our efforts.

I think cucumbers will be our signature crop.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tuesday 4th July - Blue Seeds

Upon hearing that our entire carrot crop failed to materialise, a neighbouring plotholder kindly gave us some 'guaranteed' seeds. They are bright blue and we suspect are completely un-organic. But they have that magic word - guaranteed.

Principles temporarily suspended, we have sown the lot. Hopefully the weird seed colour will be forgotten by the time we dig them up.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday 2nd July - Water

All is looking very lovely on Allotment 21. Look a little closer though and you will see some floppy, yellowing leaves and shrivelled looking beans. Our non-watering policy has not worked. Today we began our arm muscle toning programme by trip after trip to the water trough. Everything got a good soaking and we will continue as long as this weather holds.

I will enter us for all local arm-wresting competitions and will put my money on Mel.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday 1st July - Never Mind the Match

Just look at this Warthog! Another local Art Gallery had a preview evening of 'Sculpture in the Garden' to raise funds for BCH which has completely put radish paintings out of my head. The artist is called Miranda Michaels and her work is breathtaking. I desperately would love to have this pair rampaging through my salad bed. All I need is a few thousand quid...