Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday 20th June 2008 - weather: Lovely

What a lovely day, a little breezy, but just perfect allotment weather. Today, plenty to do, the first thing being, have a little excavate around my International Kidney spuds, just to see what was occuring below ground level. Joy and jubilation, handfulls of perfectly sized, perfectly formed new potatoes. Always a worry with taters. They quietly do their thing in the dark depths, having to cope with slugs and eelworms, blight and drought, but this curious weather seems to have treated them well. No slug damage, and a good bounty from each plant. Of course, as the weeks wear on, the spuds will get bigger, but I shall just dig them as I need them.

Next, to have a looksie at the broadbeans. I think they were called Express, but they haven't been very fast. They have been in situ since late winter and I hardened them off properly, gave them lashings of lovely well rotted compost, and planted them carefully with love, and now, in mid June, finally we have beans. Of course, I don't want a glut as I am the only family member who eats them. Anyhow, picked a good handful of pods all packed with young beans - I love them younger when you don't have to worry about skinning each individual bean....but don't get me wrong, I also love those monster, fatty beans with that strong broadbean flavour. Some plants are now suffering from the expected attack of the blackfly, but to be honest, the infestation isn't that bad, so I am not going to try and tackle them. I squished them as I picked, that'l do.

Now to examine the various courgette/cucumber/marrow plants that have been in since May. They all seem to have stood still in the ground since going in, but the weather has been so chilly at times, I can't say I am suprised. However, fruits are starting to form and I picked a small, but perfectly formed, 'de nice a round fruit' courgette. You can imagine my tea tonight can't you? I also spied some very small cucumbers developing, and the first marrow, which we have to love lots as hopefully we can enter it in the village show in the heaviest marrow section. I could do with some secret watering tips if any of you readers have any ideas on how to get a monster marra.

From here to the fruit cage. What a bountiful day. Picked my first bowl full of lovely yummy delicious raspberries. Rasberries are, for me, the most wonderful of all the berries. I adore their scent, their colour and they fabulous taste. I am always blown away by their flavour and cannot help but eat them as I pick. In the same vein, blackcurrant are my fave currants for all of the above reasons, but mostly because of the scent from the foliage, I would wear it as perfume if someone had made it. Anyhow, back on track, and glad to report that the redcurrants are starting to blush and the gooseberries are filling out nicely. Under the netting, I also picked some strawberries. There won't be masses this year as I moved the plants in the autumn, throwing away a lot of the old, worn out plants, and pegging out lots of new runners. But there will be enough for us to almost get bored of them.

The last pickings for today was spinach. Well chard actually. The plants were from last year and they had gone to seed, so I dug them out, stripped off all the younger leaves and chucked the rest on the compost heap. This cleared a lovely long row which I will plant my leeks in next week - of course, if we don't have any rain between now and then I will have to water the ground first to soften it up enough for me to work.

Once all the exciting picking was completed, I started to weed around my baby seedlings. There are parsnips, carrots, turnips ( which the flea beetles are enjoying!), curly parsley (I obviously wear the trousers as I have such a lovely thick row of them), little gem lettuce, lollo bionde lettuce, celeriac, rocket (again, a fave of the flea beetle), radish (yes, flea beetles again), spring onions, beetroot and dahlias. Very pleased to see everything germinating quite quickly and gaps being filled. The dahlias are being grown not only for cut flowers for the house, but also for the village show in September, so high hopes.

Lastly I did some weeding and tidying over on plot number 2 around the beans, corns and tomatos. Glad to see the sweetpeas are in flower, should be a few blooms for the show in 3 weeks time. A few of the corn plants withered and died for no apparent reason, so in the gaps I stuck spare tomato plants that I had left. I also sowed a row of mixed french beans, white and purple, mixed because both of their boxes spilt in the boot of my car, and life is to short to sort them beans out, so they all went into one box and can all grow happily together. So that was my day. Busy, and exhausting, but a really productive day.

Produce that I am hoping to have for the village show in July: Gooseberries, redcurrants, raspberries, rhubarb, broadbeans, little gem lettuce, lollo rosso lettuce, new potatoes, peas (?), sweetpeas, courgette.

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