Thursday, August 09, 2007

SUN!!! Oh My God We Have SUN!!!

Maybe I'm speaking too soon! But my God it's nice to see some sun instead of the endless rain.
The plot is in a weird state at the moment, all the rain in the last month or so has meant that we have been unable to get to the plot to work so it is heavily overgrown with weeds and the grass paths are have grown like crazy. On the good side the crops seem to be doing amazingly well.

'Jug of baby carrots'

We have managed a couple of jaunts to the plot to retrieve crops that are going mad! The courgettes are really fab, when I went up on my own one evening I was greeted by small marrows rather than courgettes but they have still been wonderful in soups and roasted with other veg. I also decided that the carrots that I had thought were a bit of a dead loss needed thinning out. I had had very poor germination rate with both the carrots and the parsnips earlier in the year but with subsequent sowings and all this rain we now have a couple of really good rows of carrots and a smattering of parsnips which is much more than I expected.

I had read somewhere that the best way to thin carrots is in the early evening when carrot flies are less active and also to leave them until the carrots are baby roots so that the thinnings can be eaten. I have to say they were great, it was a bit of a laborious task thinning them out but we had a great crop of really nice sweet baby roots!

Marrow sized courgettes and baby carrots

I'm still finding it hard to believe that the crops that I sowed with my bare hands are actually producing veg, that may seem an odd thing to say but I kept thinking I wouldn't actually be able to grow much, I doubted myself and nature too much! Being a complete veg growing novice it is a fab feeling to be picking veg that you have grown.



Cabbage, parsnip and carrot bed (Before weeding!)

As I've said before I love allotments that have a mixture of flowers and veg and I've tried to put some flowers in, this year is a steep learning curve and the gladioli that I put in had been rescued from being 'unstaked' by my fantastic allotment neighbours Sue and Will. I turned up one evening to find that they had kindly propped up the huge flowers that I had not given a thought to since planting them earlier in the year, this really shows the allotment spirit of helping each other out. The flowers really are great, really big bold splashes of pinky purple and now that the pot marigolds have come out by the side of them it is a complete clash of jewel colours.

Not a good picture! They look better in reality!

The Globe Artichoke that we had at home earlier in the year was suffering from being in a pot and I put it into the plot not really expecting much from it but it's now producing flowers/globes.
The dilemma is, do we leave them to come into flower to appreciate how beautiful they'll no doubt be OR do we cut the buggers off, cook 'em and eat 'em??It has produced about 4/5 small to medium sized heads so maybe we just nibble a couple!

And finally at the plot ... Onions! What a bumper crop of these! I'm not sure if ours will last that long as when we harvested them they seem all to be quite thick necked (apparently a thick neck is not good!) and very wet, I have used one of the plastic plant house/greenhouse at home to put them in to dry out and hopefully they'll be good to store. They should 'keep' for months, well into next year, we'll have to see.

Drying onions

And the very last and final picture this posting is of one small corner of the garden at home, in a rare moment of blazing sun I ran outside with D's re-discovered camera and snapped away!

The most prominent flowers in this picture are the Lavatera (big pink flower shrub at very back), the dark pink rose on the right (inherited from last house owner, an amazing flower show!) and the Nicotiana (cream/white flowers in centre of pic) Nicotiana are in my opinion one of the best flowers anyone could put in their garden, the perfume is AMAZING! It doesn't really smell much in the day but come 7/8pm it is as if someone has flicked a switch and the perfume is just wonderful. The other nice thing is they are dead cheap to buy as seeds, very easy to grow and will self seed in following years as these have done here from last years plant.

That's all for now, the sun is forecast to disappear in time for the weekend just when we intended on going to the plot and making an area for the compost heap, it might be a wet working weekend.... wish me luck!


Cole said...

Oh wow - What great pictures, and what a result!
Your carrots photo is so good - like something out of a sunday supplement! You've done really well. I went to my allotment the other day, most of the plots having been submerged for a few days in the flood. It's not a pretty sight/site! I've just completely lost the urge to do anything to it, but your photos have kind of reminded me of the reason I wanted to start in the first place.

glosterwomble said...

Hey Cole, good to hear from you!

How was Disney??

I agree that it can be difficult to motivate yourself sometimes to get to the allotment, this year has really been crap aswell so don't feel too bad. You'll notice that I haven't taken any overall pics of the plot (it looks crap at the moment!) just nice arty pics but it is still producing amazing crops.
Keep going, you'll get there and feel SO chuffed when you do!

Cole said...

'Ow do, Womble. Disney was surprisingly good - it's hard not to get sucked in by the schmaltz! The bonus was missing a week of no water.
I agree with what you say about keeping on, but I really am struggling! I might hire a rotocator this week as I have a few days off work. Is there anything that can be planted at the moment? Have I missed the boat? I might have to look on seed websites for those instant plug plant things, just to give me some impetus. Did buy a lovely banana plant at B n Q today, but obviously not for the allotment!

glosterwomble said...

I think hiring a rotavator would probably be a good idea, it would make you feel motivated.
Our plot neighbours turned up today with some plug plant cabbages they had bought from a nursery in Stroud (used to be wyevale?) You can still sow cabbages for overwintering, salad stuff for now and then just potter about digging it over and making it ready for next year. I feel responsible for keeping you fired up!!! We have just returned from plot, built new compost bins etc, bloody hard work but I feel great for it! (mad man that I am!)

Cole said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement. Perhaps there's an Al-Anon version for struggling allotmenteers - 'All-anon' perhaps. I need to go have some group therapy, hug a tree or something, anything to get me back in the mood to dig up acres of weed-ridden wasteland! Keep inspiring me, Mr W, add some photos or a recipe or something!

glosterwomble said...

Further encouragement added and link to FANTASTIC lamb recipe included, see I do listen to my readers!! :)

Seriously though, it is hard and I have major lows about the plot but you've gotta keep going....or else!