Monday 10th July 2006 - Weather: humid and overcast
Today I realised what the most important tool is to the humble allotmenteer... the thumb nail! As I was snipping of peas, then beans, then dead heading some cosmos and squiding a slug, I smiled and decided I had better start taking better care of this tool! It does come in awfully handy!
A bit of a late start today as I wasn't sure if the motor was going in for it's MOT, but I got up there by 10am. Jack was already hard at work stripping out his peas, which was to be my first job. The last of the Kelvedon Wonder needed getting out. I sowed some spring onions where they had been, and this has now filled the bed that the peas were taking up, so I have a third over to pak choi, and third to turnips 'Snowball' and a third to spring onions 'White Lisbon (winter hardy). Glad to report that the pak choi and turnips are up already. Could really go a drop of rain to get things moving!
Mananged to fill my trug once again with peas and french beans, and a few runner beans to! Again, a drop of rain would really do the trick and get all of those baby runners nice and long.
Thrilled with the sweetcorn plantation this year. Last year was a total failure, so this year the kids sowed the corn seeds for me, and now there is a lovely strong bed of corn plants. Already they are standing 3 foot tall, and there's no sign of any flowers yet, so fingers crossed we could be harvest 3 or 4 cobs from each plant!
We visited the plot with the kids on Saturday for an hour and they had picked a lot of the fruit for me, but there was still masses to pick. It has been a great year for the humble currant and I am going to look for some different recipes to use them. Last year I made redcurrant gin, which was delicious, but maybe not the best way to use the fruit. Some will inevitably end up in jelly or jam, but I really would like to try something else. Will have to investigate!
Dug up my kestrel tats as really they should have been earlies, but we have had so many volunteers and the row of Nadine, that I really haven't needed any, and I didn't need these, but what I did need was the room as I had a tray of Leeks 'Autumn Giant' that I wanted to get planted. I have grown a lot more leeks this year as we had a real allium shortage last year thanks to the white rot wiping out my main crop onions. Anyhow, I don't know if this Kestrel bed was particularly stoney, but just take a look at my comedy spud!
The courgettes and pumpkins are finally coming on and I picked the first round courgette. Rain please, same story, a drop of rain and we will have a major glut on our hands! Not that I am complaining as I can't wait to bake the delicious courgette bread again. Of course, hardly any of my squashes have labels...again...as the permanent pen I used turned out not to be permanent enough! Next year I will get me one of those glass pencils to do my labels.
For a change, I thought I would wander around and take some photos of the flowers on my allotment as there are lots, and you do overlook the flowers when the veggies are all growing like mad. The yellow osteo has appeared from nowhere, and I like it a lot, so he will be coming home with me in the autumn to over winter in the greenhouse and propogation. The cardoon is now way over 8 foot, and still growing! It is a monster and the first thing you see when you enter the site. My sunflower is 6 foot, and although not a record breaker, still a good height.
The tomatos are doing okay and have been dusted again lightly with Bordeaux mix to try and prevent blight. I don't think I will dust them again. The fruits have started setting nicely so now I just have that long wait ahead, waiting to see the first hint of colour. These are Reibenstraube (or words to that effect) and are a cherry with a distinctive lemon shape.
I did something today that I don't normally do, and that is water the plot! I only watered my baby leeklets and seed beds where germination either hasn't started or has just started. It is incredibly dry on the plot now, hard and dry to a spades depth. Fingers crossed the forecasters have it right and we get some rain over the next 24 hours. Here is a photo of the stream, or the dry stream! You can see my little pallet bridge and the sunken bin which normally I use for topping up my waterbutts. There hasn't been water flow now since May. But even in these arid conditions, somethings just want to grow - my fortune peas have germinated quickly in the warm rough ground and will hopefully provide us with a late pea picking as the weather starts to turn chilly.