Welcome home Sally and Ian all the way from the land down under. Do women glow and men plunder I wonder?
And welcome home Geoff and Karen from across the pond. Hope you had a lovely holiday.
Now down to business. I am a slacker, I have no photos to show as it is late, they all need resizing, and to be perfectly honest, after the day I have had, I can barely keep my eyes open. I promise faithful reader to resize and post a plethora of photos once I am recovered.
Today was the day I had threatened to take the kids to the allotment for the whole day. Yes, the whole day including lunch and dinner. You can imagine how excited this made the hormonal 12 year old. The hyper 10 year old didn't mind, he likes nothing more than playing in the ditch with sticks and bows and arrows chasing goodness knows what.
We arrived, with various picnics, at 11 and the allotments looked like a tropical rainforrest. Someone had obviously sown lots of prickly sow thistle seeds all over both plots as they were infected. However, very easy to fork out. Plot number one was first under attack and as I had already cleaned the strawberry bed, I started in the spud/onion/leek/others bed. All of the lettuce plants have now bolted so they were all pulled out and in no time at all, the whole area was looking a lot more under control. I picked a big bundle of french beans and asapagus peas (which I think taste like grass but the flowers are pretty and the seed was free) and dug some International Kidney spuds. The leeks are growing really quickly and I think for the first time ever, I will have some decent sized aliums for winter use. There is also a row of young French bean seedlings, peas and spring onions which only recently germinated for a very late harvest in the autumn.
Beyond the apple trees is my seed bed, mainly roots and salads. Again, all of the bolted lettuce went followed by the bolted beetroot, although I have kept these to juice. A lovely show of Borlotti beans on the vines and huge spring onions.
For lunch we fired up the BBQ and enjoyed toasted bacon sandwiches after which the children were told to keep the home fires burning as it is such a faff to light a BBQ that I didn't want to have to go through it again at tea time, so whilst playing, they would through little bundles of dry twigs onto the coals to keep it quietly smouldering.
Meanwhile I headed for plot numero two and set about sorting the squash plantation. This is going to be a great year for the squashes, a lot of variety, and at least 2 giant pumpkins. Harvested 10 courgettes....again.... and weeded through. Not such a bad job as most are planted through membrane. The corriander has all run to seed, but that is okay, I will keep the seed to dry roast and grind. The rocket hasn't gone to seed, but also hasn't grown much which is a shame as I do love it. The lambs lettuce has made very pretty rosettes which should give us leaves into the winter. I picked a few toms, and a bundle of runner beans. I then set about clearing the sweetcorn bed which either the squirrels or the deer have completely decimated. I have some fab brassicas forming, some huge cabbages and there are already mini sprouts on the brussel plants. This wet, coolish summer has certainly benefited some plants.
Dinner time and the BBQ was still nicely hot so we topped it up with more coal and waited a while before throwing on some sausages. The kids chopped some freshly pulled onions and as their dad had now arrived, we all sat in the shade of the willow and enjoyed our supper al fresco and out of doors. Perfic.
We left after nearly 9 hours on the plot in which time I had humped dozens of trugs full of weeds over to the compost dump, picked lashings of crops, got stung by nettles oodles of times and completely forgotten about the worries of the world. The children had a great time spending the whole day away from the TV and out in the fresh air and by the time I left, I could look over the plots and feel very proud of how neat they both look and how much produce is still growing on them. A good, if exhausting day.