Such selfishness. Another full day on the allotment. I was hoping to have a sneaky visit on Thursday but due to the teachers deciding to strike, daughter number one's school was closed so I decided to keep myself available for her and her chums rather than loose myself on the plot.
Really, todays visit was a continuation of last Fridays visit, so to pick up with the weeding, where I left off. However, I think someone had been along with and shaken the trifid stick all over my allotment as in the matter of a week, everything had grown like the clappers, and not just the weeds.
The tomatoes are romping away and I am once again growing them under a roof which prevents rain splash, one of the quickest spreaders of the dreaded blight spores. Normally this means I am picking toms long after everyone elses have succumbed to blight. It isn't perfect, but it certainly helps.
The courgettes have now readily set fruit and I was able to harvest good sized courgettes. I have about 8 plants, but sown at different times so hopefully I will be able to have a longer picking season.
I picked the last of one patch of broadbeans. The rest will be left to really swell and will be frozen to bulk up winter stews.
The cos lettuce have bulked up so rapidly that they are harvestable now and are delicious. The butterhead, winter hardy lettuce are also putting on good growth quite quickly so another couple of sowings at home are required.
The apples on the trees are swelling quickly and there didn't appear to be much of a June drop so the boughs are weighed down with fruits. I did remove a couple of low hanging branches that were proving a black eye hazard.
I am digging spuds as we need them - we aren't great tatar eaters so once or twice a week is more than enough. I am working through my row of Kestrel at the moment and they are the most delicious spud with small purple eyes. Very creamy, slug and scab free. A definate for every year.
The soft fruits have been sumptuous and I shall once again wax lyrical about the abundant Glen Ample raspberry. The fruits are large and so flavoursome and they are produced in masses...one could say they are ample.
The beetroot haven't minded the dry spring and wet early summer and have grown magnificently. I will never bother sowing them directly again. These were sown, 3 to a module, planted out when they had their first true leaves, and left to their own devices. Two varieties, old reliable Boltardy and Bulls Blood. The first thinnings were just smaller than a golf ball, took minutes to cook and were sweet and succulent. The next thinnings just smaller than a tennis ball, and I am enjoying those now. The rest will be left to get as big as you like and will probably be roasted or blasted in the pressure cooker. Next year I plan to try more varieties.
Salads have been great keeping us, and the livestock in greens for months now. Cut and come again is definately the way to go and I shall resist ever pulling a lettuce from the ground again. I just cut cleanly across the plant down low, and within a week new leaves are developing and within 2 weeks, I can cut again. Staggered sowings will be keeping us in salad leaves until the winter takes its toll or the tortoises go into hibernation.
As I have been weeding and clearing, I have also been sowing and planting. More salads, radish and peas have gone in, along with yet more carrots, turnips and swedes. The leeklets I planted a couple of weeks back are now looking very perky and green and the asparagus peas I sowed are up. I have grown them before, and although I am not keen on them, the seeds were from mum, the flowers are pretty, and they aren't very prolific so there will only be a couple of meals worth of pods. The rocket is growing and seems to have beaten the flea beetle attack and the lambs lettuce sown alongside it is growing into neat little rossettes. Even the corriander is growing - I now because I accidentally weeded some out and I got a waft of that unmistakable soapy smell from the crushed leaves. I am delighted with how everything is coming along, yes, some of the rows are gappy, some seeds didn't germinate, and some seedlings were frazzled clean away, but I do believe this is the most organised I have ever been. Do you think.....after 40 years of life, and at least 35 of those gardening, I am finally getting the hang of it?