Thursday, June 15, 2006

Friday 9th June 2006 - Weather: hot and balmy

Firstly I must applogise as this is being published a week late! Why, becuase I have been so busy during the days, and so tired and fed up with my hayfever at night, I just haven't gotten around to it.

Okay, thinking back. I arrived and what a stunning morning. Of course I forgot to wear a hat or have any sunblock on so I figured I would have a sore back by the time I went to collect the kids. Jack, bless him, had cut all of my paths for me. I really should give him some money for the petrol.

First port of call, the brassica bed. Where did all the weeds spring up from? Picked a fabulous spring cabbage. It is a round one called spring something, but of course I can't remember what! It was from a pack of brassica plantlets I purchased from Thompson & Morgans. Lovely firm heart, about the size of a football. Plenty of crunch coleslaw next week! Tidied up the rhubarb which resides within the brassica cage, and filled any gaps with new brassica plantlets. Planted a mix of red bull brussel sprouts, purple sprouting, red cabbage and cauliflowers. The brassica bed is crammed now. I am planning to sow some more kohl rabi direct in there as they are quick to mature, but I don't tend to have any luck sowing brassicas direct. Will have to see how they go.

Carried on weeding down the plot as far as the apple trees. Cleaned around the broadbeans and finally there are pods showing. The plants have gone crazy and a couple are nearly 5 foot tall! No sign of blackfly....yet! Loads and loads of peas - 2 batches of Kelvedon glory, 1 batch of early onwards and 1 batch of aldermans. Picked a carrier full of peas from early onwards and noticed that there are plenty of young pods developing on the kelvedons. The aldermans are reaching for the skies and are just getting flowers. Should have a good succession of peas. I really want to try and freeze some this year for later in the year....if only I can stop daughter number one scoffing them as she shucks them!

Into the fruit cage - a dangerous place really. Last year I got stung on my back by a wasp whilst delving around in there. The rasberries - Glen Ample, are smothered in flowers. The gooseberries are covered in young fruits which will be ready in late summer and I really think this is going to be a bumper year for currants. The bushes are absolutely weighed down with immature fruits! Better start checking out some interesting recipes!

Further down the plot I dug up the last of last years swiss chard and started clearing away the bolted spinach and ropey italian mixed leaf salad. The carrots I have sowed are all up and growing nicely and now all nicely tucked up under fleece to keep the pesky carrot fly off. Sowed some more beetroot and radish.

During the afternoon 'The Chapmans' came over to the site. This family run 8 plots and have never spoken to me. However, that was all to change this sunny Friday afternoon. Inbetween my plot number one and there first plot there used to be a row of old plum trees. They never fruited and he had tried on several occassions to hack them back. They were becoming a pain as they shaded the end of my plot, sent runners up everywhere and left the ends of both of our plots dry. So, in a fit of power tool excitment, he has cut them all down and burnt the remians. Great for me, more light and hopefully, wetter ground. The downside is I used to feel quite private. The hedge was very dense and I always felt hidden away. Now I am open to one and all. I'll get over it. So, they wanted to come over and just check that I was happy - very decent of them really. We ended up talking for ages about what grows well where and what they are growing and what I am growing. They suggested I enter the local flower and veg show, which I may well do - which reminds me, I must ask locally when it is.

There were plenty of strawberries to pick, so once I picked the kids up from school, the three of us went back to the allotment and they gave me a hand picking. Filled a large trug with lovely ripe fruits. I have no idea what the varieties are as they have come from many sources, but the nice thing about the mixture of plants is the fruit is coming at different times. I still have plants that are only just coming into flower, so hopefully we will be picking strawbs for a few weeks more yet!

Tuesday 13th June - I popped up to the plot unannounced, in between downpours. I knew there would be strawberries and peas to pick, and there were plenty. As I walked across to my plot, I heard a rustle in the long grass on an abandoned plot, and out shot a very large cock pheasant! Grogeous bird, who really shouted at me, and trotted off in to the hedgerow. He stayed there for the duration of my stay and kept squarking at me to clear off. Hope he hasn't helped himself to any of my strawberries!


mc55 said...

E-J, love reading your posts, am so envious of your crops ... really highlights the difference between north and south. If you don't think you'll be able to polish off all of those gorgeous strawberries feel free to pm me for my address !!!

Emma Jane said...

Ahhhh, mc, those strawbs. Now I would love to send you some, but something appears to be living in my fridge and tucking into them when noones looking! Seems to be a good year for the berries and cherries, which means plenty of summer pudding, jam, pies, crumble, etc. Happy days!