Friday 2nd July 2010 - weather: hot, sunny with a light breeze.
Forgive me bloggers for I have sinned. Today I plucked the first ripe cherry tomato from the vine, and popped it straight into my mouth without a thought for others. No photograph, no chance of sharing, not a care in the world. And it was sinfully good. Slightly acidic, warm from the morning sun, juicy and full of the flavour of summer. Happy days.
I suppose my penance is the lack of serious rain. Honestly, my allotment is like a dustbowl. Carrots and parsnips refuse to germinate, even with me watering them as often as I can from a watering can. Courgettes and marrows just sit there looking bored - although I do have my first cucumber set which is something.
Spuds are very small, plenty on each plant, but still all so very small, the same with the raspberries. Loads and loads there, but they are not fulfilling their namesake - Glen AMPLE they are not!
Down the cooler end of the plot, by the shed, the radish and spinach are romping away, and I don't seem to be suffering any flea beetle damage this year. Could this be because of my deer proof mesh?
The runner beans are at the top of the poles, the french climbers aren't far behind, and the dwarf purple queen have just started setting.
Picked a mass of peas - a highlight. They must have been sown, and recieved the little rain we did get, at just the right time. I froze a pound and a half of shucked peas this evening, and there is a similar amount still on the plants just waiting for a downpour so they can swell.
My day consisted of watering with stinking nettle tea, weeding with my trusty hoe, sowing more seeds - carrots (again), parnsips (again), turnips, leeks and peas and planting out more courgette and cucumber plants, bright light swiss chard plantlets and pakchoi plantlets. Now I know the pakchoi isn't supposed to transplant terribly well, but if they start to bolt, they are still perfect in stir fries, and the young leaves are good in salads, and if all else fails, the guinea pigs and quaily birds will enjoy them.
I had a chat with the site secretary who is missing the adders as they seem to have vanished since this hot, dry spell started, then I chatted with my old mate, Jack and he gave me a bag full of little gem lettuce for me and the various animals. We also enjoyed sampling his various goosegogs and blackcurrants. Yum. Emphysema Joe was also there loving the heat, but cursing his forthcoming holiday to Portugal when it is currently sunnier and hotter here in Essex. Jim from next to Jack was over briefly, but I didn't get a chance to say hello before he was gone again...apparently he isn't well.
All in all, a full day, and I didn't get all of my plants out - still have leeks, courgettes, peas, spinach and spring onions to plant, but I have another day off next week, and who knows, it may rain between now and then and 6 packets of carrots, all sown in the same patch, will all germiate and I will be surfing the web looking for 101 things to do with carrots.