Saturday 5th June 2010 - weather: sunny start, overcast later.
Flaming June.....flaming blooming June. If the forecast is anything to go by, it will be soggy June. Not that I am moaning - no siree. The plot is like a dustbowl and my darn seeds just aren't germinating! So, bring on the rain I say.
Family visit today, with BBQ and bangers. Mark cut all the paths...in fact...he cut all the paths on the whole site. He likes to keep busy on the plot, and growing seeds and weeding really isn't his thing, but give him a power tool and he's in heaven. He did a great job, and then got out the petrol strimmer and cut back the nettles and other overgrown patches down our end of the site. He did a great job and I know everyone is grateful when he does it as they all thank me.
I got busy with my hoe...my new toy. At last, at just 39 years of age, I have mastered the hoe. The great thing is, I weed the whole plot in no time, and it looks so lovely and neat, and I am rewarded with a lovely fine tilth. Why didn't someone teach me the ways of the hoe years ago? Or is it one of those tools that you can't master until you age a little? Hmmm...should I be investing in a flat cap and a tartan thermos flask?
Weeded around beans, carrots (what carrots?), beetroot (plenty of them I am glad to report), spring onions (patchy row, but I have some at home to fill in the gaps), parsnips (no show) and florence fennel (the one that had germinated has now been killed by the May sunshine). The children and I then picked the first of the strawbs. Only a few I know, but the plants are laden with fruit, and if we get the promised rain, followed by sunshine, fingers crossed we will be sick to death of strawberries in a couple of weeks time.
Old Jack, my allotment chum, has given me 2 cucumber plants. Good job as I neglected to scatter slug pellets around my squash plantlets, and what do you know, the slimey beasts scoffed half of them! Fortunately I did have a few spares, and I have sown some more at home, which isn't a bad thing as it will spread the harvesting period. I have planted courgettes in August before and been picking into November successfully.
Now to let 2 under aged sproglodites loose with a disposable BBQ and a box of matches. Hey presto, a lot of smoke, and arguing, then peace as they set about preparing our lunch. Lovely local bangers with fresh allotment salad. Onions, little gem lettuce and radish, all picked and placed on the grill or our gobs within a minute. Now you can't get fresher than that. Even daughter number one tried some grilled onion as she loves the smell, and she admited to liking it. So, since we have been lunching on the plot, she had taken to eating both radish, and cooked onion. What next I wonder?
Hunger and thirst sated, Mark went about building me another brassica cage to cover the recently planted curly kale and cavalo nero. I also still had a few odds and sods of the brassica world to plant, so they are now all planted ready to furnish our winter dinners with greens.
A very productive day and I left feeling very satisfied. I was hoping to get back during the next week, but I think work will take priority, especially with the weather forecast - I can see jobs backing up and me rushing to catch up. However, I do need to go back on Wednesday as I have promised a few lettuce and some rhubarb to the local country market. Maybe by then there will be more strawbs. mmmmmmm.