Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday 2nd August 2009 - weather: bright and breezy

In memory of Gerald Overton who leapt from this mortal coil 9 years ago today

Can you believe it, I actually got away with another day on the allotment, and the weather was grand. Upon arrival, at 10am, my new lottie neighbour, Hillary, was already there with her team of helpers erecting her new shed. I carried on weeding from the strawberry bed up to the end. Whilst weeding the strawbs, mostly mares tail, I found one huge red strawb, which fell straight from the plant and into my mouth! No idea how that happened. The plants are all looking good and there are masses of runners so I should be able to double my stock next year. I weeded around my young leek plants and they have really come on in the few weeks they have been in the ground. Amazing what a bit of rain can do.

Noon and the family arrived. I left Mark in charge of strimming and cutting the paths and he did an amazing job. He cut all of my paths, strimmed all around the shed, the nettles around my neighbours path, around the derelict shed by the stream, well, everywhere where nettles and brambles were growing. By the time he had finished, our end of the site looked very neat and tidy indeed. Whilst he was strimming and the children were having alsorts of adventures in the stream, I started weeding the top end of plot number 2. Mark dug the spuds for me (he didn't dig the PFA that I mentioned he might yesterday, we just didn't have the time) that were planted by the fig tree and turned the ground over leaving young James to rake it level for me. I weeded down towards the tomato house. This area was my seed sowing area and I have to say, germination has been very erratic. I don't know if this is due to duff seed, wildlife interferring or the weather, but I do have 3 rows of young beetroot, half a row of parnsips, several thick rows of carrots, a row of young lettuce and a row of spring onions. I plan to buy brand new seed of everything next spring so fingers crossed for a better rate of germination.
As the children started to get bored, I asked them if they would like to pick my blackcurrants, and sure enough they filled 2 punnets for me. I could probably fill another 2 next visit, but I still have the redcurrants and jostaberries to pick. The birds don't eat the black currants for some reason, so they aren't netted and are weighed down with very ripe fruit. James had sown some carrots back in the spring and he wanted to see if they were ready and he pulled a lovely handful which will be sugar sweet for their tea.

By the time I finally reached the tom house, the children were bored and it was 4pm, so they cleared up and left leaving me all alone. It was lovely having the whole family there with me, the kids of day I always imagine having on the plot, Mark getting all of those manly jobs done, the kids having fun and adventures and me pottering with my veggies.

Next big job, into the tomato house. There are masses, and masses of toms, all shapes and sizes. I have Roma, and Gardeners Delights, and White Beauty and beefsteaks and cherries and plums and Tigerella and loads and loads. It took me ages to tie them up properly and cut back some of the foliage and stop some of the plants so the fruit will ripen. None had even the slightest hint of colour so I am hoping now I have tidied them up, the sun and air can get in better and they might start to colour up before the blight strikes. Mind you, talking of blight, I did give them a really good spray before moving on to my next job. I HATE spraying, but I have lost all of my toms for the last few years and it isn't going to happen again.

As time was moving on, I thought I should do a bit of planting and got in my crystal apple cucumber plants and a wigwam of late runner beans. I also sewed a row of white Pak Choi, red Pak Choi, Mizuna, spring onions and mixed oriental salad leaves. I fleeced the oriental greens to try and stop the flea beetle from attacking them before they get a chance to get established.

From there, I was toying with the idea of going home, but after a phone call from HQ, I decided to stay for another hour and weeded all along my runner beans picking a few as I went, around my minipop sweetcorn and made a start weeding through the regular sweetcorn.

By now it was nearly 7pm, so I took my aching body home for some tea. I am hoping to get back to the allotment for an hour or 2 with the kids in the week so I can finish of weeding around the corn and sew some kohl rabi, spring onions, lettuce and spinach.

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