Monday 16th July 2007 - Weather: Overcast but hot and humid
I had promised myself today, all day, on the allotment, the first full day since my operation. I knew I had to take it easy, so really I was planning to just weed and pick. However, upon arrival I was suprised to see the state of the spuds. Major blight so first, and main job of the day was to go through the spud patch, weed, cut back any rotting stems, and leaf clear any top growth with only minor blight damage. The idea is to keep as much foliage above ground for as long as possible to allow the tubers below ground to keep growing for as long as possible. Maxine and Pink Fur Apple seem okay, Kestrel were the worst hit, but with those I think it is a combination of blight and natural die back, after all, they were earlies and should really have been cleared by now. I did dig one, carefully of course, just to see what the spuds were like underground and had quite a shock. Monsters! Supper sorted, jacket potatoes all round.
This really took me all day, but I did do other jobs inbetween for several reasons. Firstly it is boring doing the same old thing all day, secondly, lots of things needed picking, and thirdly, it made my incision scar tender bending and stretching as I was weeding, so plenty of breaks helped.
I gathered a nice little pile of courgettes. Really pleased with their production. They are planted in dappled shade so seem to be much slower growing than last year, meaning I am not picking dozens each visit, just 4 or 5 which works out great. Plenty of baby squashes developing now, baby pumpkins, banana squash, gourds and other monsters. I tend to just ignore them now then in the autumn the children and hubby go on a squash hunt.
Picked another cucumber - marketmore I think this variety is. Very crunchy and sweet and again, at the moment quite slow at production, one a week so far but I did notice the next batch are all similar sizes, so a glut my be imminent.
The French Beans have adored this damp cool weather and I filled the trug with different varieties. Yellow wax and Amythyst are the coloured beans, then the long, very slender green are called Cordon Bleu, the stubbier greens name escapes me, my fault for not noting it down, and the slightly flatter green with pale red blotches are called something like Triomphe D'arcy. I staggered all the sowings, but they all insist on cropping together. Fortunately the runner beans are hardly starting, the same with the climbing French and the second batch of Amathyst. They are a good couple of weeks off yet, which will be perfect.
I think the raspberry production is begining to slow, but boy has it been an amazing year for them, and so many new canes to replace the old. Hopefully now the plants have put on such great growth we will get good abundant crops from now on. I also started picking all the red and black currants and cleared the last of the gooseberries. Still masses of currants, I will have another pick later in the week, they aren't going anywhere. A pound of the currants went into my Rumtopf at home with 8oz sugar and an little slug of Rum. I did give it a good stir today as the sugar wasn't dissolving. I also had a little sample. Roll on Christmas!
One nice thing about the allotment are the flowers. The sunflowers are now opening and are so pretty. I have a patch of shorter pompom ones over on allotment number 2 but they are a way off flowering yet. Also I have odd onions, leeks and garlics that I leave behind on purpose for the flowers and they are like white and purple pompoms. The prettiest thing I think at the moment though are the globe artichokes. The purple centres positively glow and the bugs and bees love them. They completely bury themselves in the bristles and come out drunk bumbling off in all directions.
The seeds I sowed last visit, so the chinese greens and radish are all up already, but no sign yet from the spring onions or florence fennel. I noticed at home in the greenhouse the different kales and savoy cabbages are all up so I need to get them pricked out ready to be planted at the end of August.
By the time I left at just after 2.30 I was exhausted and aching. All that bending didn't do me any favours, but I achieved a lot and the plot looks great considering how neglected it has had to be whilst I recover. I hope to get back again midweek and then at the end of the week.