Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday 22nd May 2007 - Weather: Gloriously hot and sunny!

A flying visit today as I worked all morning. Todays visit was just to get in some Mealie Maize, squashes and tomatos. When I arrived at the plot old Jack met me. I was moaning to him last visit that I couldn't use a hoe. They are all to long, to big and unweildly (is that a real word??). I tend to slash them around and chop all my babies off at the ground, so I don't bother. Well the lovely man found a short one at a carboot for me! It is an old one, a hoe one side and a mini rake the other and a shorter handly. Perfect for my. Honestly, he is a saint. Then, before I could get started, Ken whose lovely cottage backs onto the allotment came to see us. The site secretary had her car broken into on her drive, and her garden also backs onto the allotment site, so he was warning us to make sure our cars are locked up and we don't leave anything of any value inside. Because our site is down a tiny unmade lane which doesn't go anywere, there isn't a lot of passing traffic, however, we are on the common and surrounded by fields, so it is quite easy for a bunch of thugs to do some damage, then vanish again. I think Ken is a little edgy because he will be going on holiday in a few weeks time and it will be a worry.

Anyhow, back to business. Firstly the Mealie Maize went in. I think I remember correctly in saying Leonie sent me this corn. It grows very big and the cobs are very starchy and you grind them to make Mealie flour. Anyhow, always game for something new. 18 plants went in down on the squash third of plot number one. The in went a selection of squashes....now to try to remember some of them. Prima cucumbers and watermelons went in with glass frames over the top, yellow pattypan, yellow courgette, hundredweight pumpkin, pepita pumpkin, turks turban, marina de chiogga and friends! I still have loads in the greenhouse, but I am taking them up as they get bigger so they can withstand the slug family. I also planted 3 sweet potato slips that Doris Pinks sent me from A4all. These are also under glass frames. I have no idea how they will go as I have never grown them before, but again Leonie comes to the rescue with her expert growers guide. As they are in with the squashes I will let them roam pretty much where they please. I may eventually let them ramble up some netting. Finally some tomatos. Tigerella,Triple 'n crop and others. I have the mind of a goldfish! I have stacks of toms at home to get in.

I had a wander round, still no more parsnips, but the carrots are all breaking through along with lashings of salads. The brassicas look amazing and so do my Japanese onions. Really thrilled that they are doing so good. If we have a good warm spell now I reakon I can start to bring them home in the next 2 weeks. My garlic isn't looking so great. It has a touch of rust, and I also notices a couple of them have died back. When I dug them they are smothered in white rot. I was hoping this plot was white rot free as it hasn't been cultivated for a few years, but it seems not. I think I am going to have a go at growing garlic in troughs in sterile compost/topsoil. I have lots of old troughs at home which I can take to the plot and put along the shed. An idea for next year me thinks.

Last job of the visit....let the great Essex strawberry bonanza begin! It might only be a small bowl full, actually the photo is only half of the amount, artistically scattered on a board, but each one tasted like heaven!

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