Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thursday 10th August 2006 - Weather: overcast and breezy

Well, back from our two weeks holiday in France and of course, things are looking pretty rough on the plot. We did pop up to see how things had faired on Sunday 6th and picked a lot of cucumbers, courgettes, runnerbeans and frenchbeans. The beans had all gone over and were very fat, which should have been disappointing, however, I podded the beans when I got home and they were glorious. I cooked one batch up and made a delicious cassoulet, I also made a tasty mixed beans salad, and the rest will be going into a mexican style bean salad for the weekened. The sad thing is, all of my lovely lettuce have run to seed, and any seedlings that were up and growing, are gone. It does make me incredibly sad and I hate to see areas of the allotment bare. However, I really must accept that this is the way with my plot - not having access to water on tap is a real issue, and even with several waterbutts, keeping the plot properly watered is really impossible. If seedlings come through, followed by a hot day, they frazzle clean off. I am going to try to grow more, earlier in the year, then sow and plant nothing in July and August, then start things off either at home where I can look after them for planting in September, and try sowing again in September. I have always sown something late in the year, like chinese greens, and fast growers like radish, but I am going to try more - after all, we don't get frosts until after Christmas, so with the help of fleece and cloches, I should be able to keep things going.

However, this evening was a flying visit really, just to see if anything needed picking. Came home with a couple of small white cucumbers, a lovely pattypan, a handful of runners, 2 mini corns, a goodly batch of tomatos, who really are thriving with no water at all, and some pink fir apples and valour spuds, which were only really dug as a test to see how things were underground. Dry, that is how things are underground!!

Anyhow, my question for today is, why is it I can be at the allotment all day, and be alone, and not get spooked or worried, and yet I pop up in the evening, and even though it is still daylight, every rustle of leaves, every movement spooks me? Of course, to make matters worse, whilst I was digging the spuds I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and two sexy young foxes were looking at me from 2 plots along. I reakon they were last summer cubs - or maybe early this year as they were small and incredibly lean. Also they weren't really ginger, more blonde! Very very shy because as soon as I stood up they darted back, and as I said hello, they fled into the undergrowth. Oh well, good to know they are around as it will certainly help with the vole, mouse and rat population!

So, nothing to report - the plot looks sad, barren and dry - but then so does everyone elses so it isn't just me. On the upside, I am going to have a HUGE crop of toms, I will harvest at least 4 melons, there are some squashes, although the weather has taken it's toll on them, and the spuds, although small, seem to be plentiful and without damage. I plan to get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and get down there to start clearing and tidying and getting ready for the rain that apparently Essex is going to get on Saturday. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that we have good, constant, wet drizzle for the whole weekend!!

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