Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday 22nd May 2011 - weather: very windy and cloudy, but warm.

Someone said to me the other day that my allotment was just like my work, 'same shit, different place'. How wrong they are. The pleasure of bringing home this harvest in mid May is wonderful. Just wait until things really start. By mid July I will be giving my surplus away to the neighbours. There is nothing quite like the taste of an English strawberry, ripened slowly during late spring, or the sweetness of that first freshly podded pea, nothing like those in a tin or from the deepfreeze. But, it is a personal thing. I am in awe of nature and am amazed to watch seeds germinate - it is my 'thing. Other peoples thing might be hitting a golfball around, or catching fish, I don't get it, but that is 'their thing'. Good job we are all different I say.

Anyhow...I digress. A family day on the allotment was forecast as I really needed to plant out the last of the surplus squash plants and hubby had decided that if he filled the compost heap to the brim with manure from the pile, we could plant at least 10 in there and if they do the business, result, if they don't, well, they were destined for the compost anyhow so nothing lost.

Upon arrival of course a row breaks out between adults and eldest child who decided she really didn't want to be on the plot, but, after a lot of letting her cool down, and pointing out the abundance of huge ripe strawberries, she soon calmed and we had a lovely 5 hours on the allotment, including our now legendary BBQ lunch.

So, Hubby and number one son went back and forth to the manure heap which is generously given to us by the farm next to our site. I reakon it took 15 loads to fill the heap. Once filled, I planted an array of squash, all far to close together, really not sensible, but as I said, they were only going to end up on the heap anyway so any fruit will be a bonus. Two cucumbers, turks turban, butternut, sunshine squash, 2 ornamental gourds and 2 atlantic giant pumpkins. They will wander up and over the shed, down over the heap and along the path, in fact, wherever they like. Of course, these buggers will perform better than the molycoddled ones in the pumpkin patch. Sods law!

Number one daughter, after I dragged her away from the strawberry bed, dug up my wilting garlic plants, a variety called Marco. They really shouldn't be ready yet, but with it being so dry on the plot, this variety is dying off so it had to come out before the dreaded white rot set in. To be honest, there is probably enough garlic to last us a year, and I still have another 30 plants, a different variety, growing well.

Monty Don on Fridays Gardener's World made me feel that I wasn't making the most of my allotments when he showed us his frankly stunning veggie garden, so I had taken an array of seeds with me to plug the gaps. Problem is, there really aren't any gaps. I did sow 2 rows of Rocket, 1 of lambs lettuce and 1 of corriander where the garlic had been though. I am also going to plant the last of my brassica plants in amongst my ailing Japanese onions as again, due to lack of rainfall, they haven't bulked up, and a lot are running to seed. I may even just oik them all up next visit and use them as salad onions. The maincrop onions, which I don't normally do due to the white rot, are doing slightly better - if only we would get some rain. My last brassicas are sprouts, purple and white sprouting and some cabbages. My brassicas are planted through weed supressing membrane and are under net to keep the pigeons off. At the end of the row are my beans, a mix of climbing french and runners one side and a row of runners and borlotti planted as seeds the other side.

The generosity of gardeners is constantly felt by me. Not only do many of my customers give me cuttings, clumps, seedlings and flowers from their gardens, but my veggie growing friends are always giving me their spares. I have already had cabbages from Joe, white sprouting from Jack and courgettes from Ray. Then on Friday one of my customers gave me a bundle of leeks plantlets, and today Jack gave me 6 brussel sprout plants along with an big bunch of sweetpeas. I will give Jack some quail eggs when the girls really get into their stride.

As you can see, things are growing well. I am astonished at the state of other peoples plots on our site as I really do seem to be the only one harvesting anything much at the moment.

Before leaving, we had watered, weeded (see windswept me with a handful of mares tail and a handful of dandelions. One for the rubbish heap, one for the animals), and picked strawbs, broadbeans, radish, lettuce and rhubarb and had pulled a couple of onions to cook on the barby to have with our bangers. A very productive day even if we did all come home rather windswept.

1 comment:

Rangdrol said...

Well, I must say that I truly love your beds and allotments. Not sure what the allotments means, but I assume it means the space(s) you have set aside to grow things. As a boy I grew up on a farm, however, my parents never really taught me how to grow things.

I am in Montreal, smack in the city, where most Montrealers have tiny patios, no more than 3 feet by six, and Ive decided that this is where my plants should be. I also went out and purchased a tomato plant.

The plant I purchased is the CELEBRITY plant, which, according to the labelling grows 60-70 cm in height. Im not sure what that is terms of feet but it is already about two feet, has a few small fruit, and has yellow flowers on it.

I try to water it at night, when the sun has gone down because that is what my dad did, and I try not to keep the foliage wet, to prevent any number of diseases.

When I purchased the plant it looked good, so I took it to the porch, replanted it in some sterile soil, and watched it. Other than a tiny little orange bug of some kind, no not a beetle, on it, the plants seemed fine. However, it was then that I noted that the lower plant stems were broken, and so I pulled them off.

In addition, I also noted that the main plant stalk was split vertically. I don't know what that means but Im wondering if its serious, and if I should return the plant?

I continued to look for bugs but found none. The leaves are all fine, except for a little discoloring here and there.

My question is, is this a threat to the plant? Should I return it, and in lieu, demand a new plant?

And, finally, is there a homemade garlic, vinegar sauce bath that I can build to spray on the plant, just to protect it from bugs in general?

I would like to use something not harmful. I dont like the thought of having to use harmful chemicals.