Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th August 2008 - Weather: bright and breezy

Well, after our 2 weeks in the very sunny South of France, the allotment was resembling a tropical rainforrest, so I had permission from jim in doors to spend the weekend whipping things back into shape. The forescast was looking awful so I planned to get up there first thing Saturday morning and get as much done as possible before the forecasted rain came in. Well, glad to say, it didn't arrive until nightfall.

So, basically my day was filled with weeding. I started at the top end of plot number one. The gladioli that I planted a couple of years ago really look amazing this year. I have already taken mum a bunch of about 8 and I was able to pick a further 10 for me, and there are about another 6 to take to mum this coming weekend. I must must must plant more bulbs and flowers for cutting. Speaking of flowers, alongside the glads are a row of dahlias which I started from seed this spring. They are lovely, so bright. I don't plan to dig up the young tubers but mulch them well with rotted manure in the winter after the first frosts and then see if they came back bigger and better next year. I have some in the garden that I just forget about and they are improving all the time. As I worked along I rediscovered a lovely row of carrots, spinach and celeric. They all breathed a huge sigh of relief when they could see the sky again. I also spotted half a row of corriander which I had sown alongside the carrots and promptly forgotten all about. Hopefully as it is later in the year, this won't bolt toooo rapidly and I will be able to enjoy the leaves.

I tidied up around Mr Cardoon, who is huge and gave him a really good mulch of my home made compost. Hopefully he will be okay, he always looks so tatty at this time of year. I guess he has put all of his energy into producing 10 foot flowers. I moved on to the globe artichokes, who were litterally being choked by the creeping buttercup that my allotment seems to be blighted with at the moment. I really got in and was able to dig it all out. Plenty of young shoots I spied, so these also got a couple of barrows full of compost around them.

As I worked down towards the apple trees I stopped for a chat with old Jack, who has been diagnosed as borderline diabetic, so he is taking things easy and watching what he eats. He has chosen to give up one of his three allotments at the end of the year. He gave me a huge bundle of lovely big spring onions. The Laurette, the site secretary popped over to say hi. She is midway through a course of radiotherapy, but she looked great and complimented my monster cardoon. She has a bundle of young leek plants for me next week which is great. She also lets me use her mains water to fill up my waterbutts which is very handy. Then Joe, or is it John with the new shed arrived. Boy is he brown, but then he has just had 2 weeks in Turkey. He gave me a bag of cooking apples. Finally the Chapmans arrived and promptly lit a fire, only to be shouted at by one of the site neighbours, so they put it out again. We had a gossip about family and the school holidays and then my family all arrived.
Mark tidied the shed for me and found the wrens nest perched up on a rake which was propped up in the rafters whilst the kids played in the stream. I did some picking at this point as I know the families interest in the allotment diminishes very rapidly. I did weed almost to the apple trees though, which I was really pleased with.

During my weeding and digging I unearthed a bucket full of volunteer spuds - not ideal to leave them growing, I know, but a nice suprise as I dug up some pink fur apple, edsell blue, some very red skinned spuds, possibly red duke of york, and some white ones with red eyes, maybe kestrell. I also picked some sweetcorn, babycorn and salad.

Then Sunday came, again the forecast was supposed to be rubbish, but when I got out of bed, the sky was blue, so at about 11am I poodled off to the allotment again. I mananged to complete the weeding of allotment number one, unearthing 2 rows of lovely young leeks, purple beans and beetroot! Honestly, those weeds have a lot to answer for. I also turned my compost heap now one side was empty, and as I turned I discovered that half of the full side was already well rotted and looking lovely, so I have started heaping that about.

I dug up the remainder of the Kestrel spuds and raked the area over. I then chucked about 6 barrows of compost of the top and raked it level. I will leave the worms to do the digging in for me. This will be my onion bed as I have ordered 2 types of Japanese onions, shallots and garlic and they should arrive in September.

Finally had one last pick, sweetcorn, beans by the bucketfull, a few toms which have escaped the blight and a cucumber. Hope to get back to the plot with the kids in the week to sow some oriental greens and radish which can stand the winter. Also must get some green manure for the bare patches.

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