Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday 19th June 2007 - Weather: hot enough for me to get sunburnt!

Sports day was cancelled - Yippee - so arrived at the plot just before 9am. Todays mission, to weed, seed, clear, plant and harvest everything that I could as I am going to have to be allotment idle for a month or 2. So first job of the day, completely weed the top half of plot number 2. This meant getting inside the brassica cages and having a good clear out. In the area that I had cleared of onions I planted 2 varieties of sweetcorn that my friend John Miller sent me, a rainbow corn and a ruby red corn. Hope they grow well, even to just get a few cobs would be amazing. That would certainly suprise the kids at tea time. To seperate the two corn blocks I sowed 2 rows of Alderman climbing peas, a great variety that can get up to 6 foot tall and produces long pods with 10 or more peas per pod, and a row of lettuces.

Next I hoed around the tomato plants - not something I am very good at, but I figure if I practise enough, I will get the hang of it eventually. Plenty of flowers on all the plants which is a great sign. No fruit yet, but once they start there will be no stopping them. The runner beans along the other side of the tomatos are all through and some are running at long last. A couple of really early ones have flowers so we may get a few beans in a couple of weeks time.

The front end of plot number 2 is all seeds, so I started at the start and hand weeded throughout. At last, a whole row of parsnips. Nicely spaced also, so I won't bother thinning. Little gems and spring onions all growing nicely. Sowed some more salad crops along side the parnsips. The carrots are very patchy, so after weeding I sowed another 3 packets and gently raked them in the gaps. I am hopeful that by all this staggered sowing I will be pulling carrots into the new year. The spring onions and maincrop onions that are planted around the edge of the carrot patch are all growing well, and I sowed 2 more rows of red spring onions at either end of the carrot bed to coincide with the bountiful harvest (fingers crossed) of toms and other salads. Plenty of turnips germinated, along with radish and beetroot. The beets have been really slow to start. I blame the very dry April, however, they are growing fast now, especially with all of this rain, so when my toms are ready, I should have a lovely crop of beetroot to enjoy. The lettuce are turning into monsters. Normally these bolt really quickly as I cannot provide them with enough water, but due to this wettest of wet Junes, they haven't run to seed, and are big enough to feed a family of 10, and I have about 60 of them! As you can imagine, I am eating salads at every meal. Good job I like them. I have a loose leaf, lime green variety which I think was called salad bowl, and a red oak leaf variety which is actully getting a nice heart. There are also several rows of cut 'n' come again leaves and little gems. I have sown more, so again, fingers crossed that when the toms and beets are ready, I will still have lettuce. Pea pods are starting to fill so daughter number ones favourite home grown veg should be ready in a week or so. Oiked out the entire row of spinach as it had all bolted. Don't know why I try such an early sowing of spinach. I shall sow some when we get home from our hols inthe summer at the same time as my oriental greens. The french beans are all covered in flowers so they shall start cropping in 2 or 3 weeks time.

Next onto plot numero uno. Hoed around the squashes, carefully, and put a tray under my soon to be GIANT MARROW! Again, with all this rain, it could either take over the entire allotment, or rot, but nothing ventured nothing gained. Had a good look at all the squashes and it seems that most plants have flowers and immature fruits. The swiss chard that is on the squash bed is all growing well, no signs of bolting.

Picked strawberries, even those that had only just started colouring up. Better that they come home and ripen rather than stay on the plot and rot if they don't get picked quickly. Then filled up a punnet with raspberries. These have been amazing. Yes, you guessed it, the rain! My fruit cage has worked brilliantly and everything is ripening up nicely. Dug up a sack full of International Kidney new potatoes. These are the Jersey Royal new pots, and they are huge. I should have dug them up about 2 weeks earlier, but at least I don't have to scrub as many for a meal.

By the time 2.30 rolled along, I was sunburnt, knackered, but the allotment was looking grand. All ready for me to leave it to it's own devices for a while, whilst I recover from my hernia surgery!

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