Monday 9th January 2006 - Weather: misty but bright
After a wet and wild weekend, today was lovely. I arrived at the allotment just before 9am and there was a heavy mist settled over the site. It could have been quite spooky if it weren't for the 30 builders underpinning the cottage next door!! I could just make out the ducks quacking on the lake inbetween the drills, generator, cement mixer and general builder chitchat.
After I surveyed both plots, my work began. First job of the day was to dig the last of the parsnips and carrots. If they are left in the ground for to long and start to resprout, they can become incredibly woody and not much good in the kitchen. Thanks to the rain, the ground was lovely and soft and I dug the lot, only spearing one! The 'snips are 'Gladiator', a canker resistant variety, sown a little late as my first two sowings in March didn't germinate, so these were from a late April sowing. The carrots were an August sowing of 'Autumn King' and considering they didn't have long in the ground before the weather cooled, I think they have done very well. I did completely fleece the carrots against carrotfly as we do seem to have a huge problem with that on site. There was also a couple of black salsify plants and a couple of kohl rabis to pull.
Once that area was cleared I had a look over the celery. It is a self blancher which I think was called 'Pascal'. I have never had any luck, and as I am the only person in the house who eats it, I have managed to grow far more than I could use, hence it is still in the ground. However, it is looking good, just a little tatty, but I am planning to make minestrone soup, so this head should do nicely! Next to that is a row of celeriac, which has roots about the size of tennis balls. This season I will give them a sunnier position and start them a lot earlier.
Remember the 'huckleberries' I grew last summer, and we all doubted if they were edible, and nobody was prepared to take the risk with their strong resemblance to deadly nightshade....well, today I finally pulled the plants up and chucked them on the compost heap, still laden with black berries full of purple juice. Not even the birds were prepared to risk eating them! Shame as they grew so very easily. Mind you, so does the mares tail and I am not about to eat that!
I had one of those days today where all the jobs I needed to do happened very easily. I had to renet some of my brassicas, and usually this is a nightmare job, finding bamboos, untangling the net and running out of string, but today, the job was done in minutes. And whilst I leant on my compost bin and ate my lunch and had a cuppa, I watched 3 squirrels in the oak tree all chasing each other around. I am assuming one was a girlie and the other two were lads tring to gain her attention. The squirrels seem to think spring is in the air!
Another netting job was to try and keep the globe artichokes under control. They truely are triffids and spread as wide as they grow high! I used some very strong nylon netting and surrounded the plants, hopefully keeping them caged in a little better.
By 2pm I was getting chilly, my flask was empty, and I needed to pop to the post office, so I packed up and came home. A very good days work!