Sunday, 31 August 2008

Our potatoes

Am I the only person who wishes that our weather forecasts weren't so scaremongering? Not to mention inaccurate? If I had listened I would not dare to poke my nose out of the front door. When I did, I found that it was dry. Yes, we had a couple of light showers but I managed to wash our campervan (a whole family event), then go into town for a spot of lunch and to buy new school shoes with the rest of the tardy mothers. There is nothing quite like being last minute tomorrow I better check that the trousers etc fit although if its warm I might get away with sending him in shorts on Wednesday. The new school year signals more change for us, my plan is to get very organised.

When I got back from town the severe weather warning storms that the bbc had expressed such concern about had yet to materialise. So I shot down to the allotment alone to dig up our pink fir potatoes. I dug up a whole row and have to say were pleasantly surprised with my haul. These potatoes went in exceedingly late, they had chitted for months, once planted they had been ignored I planted them deep and then intended to earth them up further but this got slightly forgotten. I must of planted them deep enough as only a couple are green. So all in all this is much better than I had hoped for.

Just as I had finished the digging up the row there was the most almighty crash of thunder, my feet separated from the ground as I jumped in fright. I hate thunderstorms so I legged it rapidly from the site, we have had a little heavy rain this evening but it didn't develop into a proper storm.

Every day the bbc forecasters warn of weather problems it seems to me they are scared that if they don't say its severe people might complain of not being warned but in fact all they are saying is that we will be having some typical British weather. What will we do if it really is severe and we are all become immune to their warnings.

Green Thumb Sunday

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Thursday, 28 August 2008

Work perk

My little baby is about to start nursery and has been having some trial visits at the moment. His nursery is at John's work, which has very nice grounds and this is one of the reasons that I like the nursery. Owen when he was at the same nursery went on lots of long walks. I had time to kill whilst Huw got into the swing of things so Owen took me on one of his favorite walking routes yesterday. We spied some apple trees full of fruit and lots of windfalls on the grass.

I mentioned it to John in the evening, he said they had received an email around the site to say that the apples are ready to be picked and eaten if people wanted to help themselves.

We returned today for another nursery visit today and this time Owen and I went scrumping while we waited!

I had a bucket, and picked up all the rotting windfalls for composting or maybe making and preparing a bean trench. We also took a few apples from the trees to eat. We weren't greedy but I hope nobody saw us with the bucket and jumped to the wrong conclusions. Now how do I convince John to collect a bucketful of rotten apples in his lunchtimes?

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Patch Holiday

Yes you guessed it, we have been away. Its funny I missed going to the allotment, or what I really mean is trying to plan in a visit to the allotment. I also found it werid not to be able to dip into the cyber world. It was a good holiday near Cardigan. It was a week very reminiscent of my childhood holidays especially with regard to the weather. Although holiday with the boys is more a change than a rest. Owen did have the chance to become slightly feral running wild with his cousins. I didn't manage to visit the gardens near by, or any of the nurseries so I came home with nothing to plant or grow. I think I should introduce a holiday rule to my life - that I must return with some thing horticulturally related from any future holiday.

So last Sunday I had been back at home for about 24 hours, where I had been endlessly loading and unloading the washing machine with fear of more rain. I could not hold off any longer and shot down to the allotment alone, it may of only been for 45mins but it was pure bliss and totally peaceful. My most restful moment of the week!

I expected a glut of courgette/marrows to have sprung forward in the week away, instead the plant looked like it had been through a war and it only yielded one micro baby courgette.

The weeds had gone nuts again and I released my leeks from their grasp yet again. These leeks are becoming my prize leeks not because of any phenomenal size but just because they are not under attack from slugs and the only thing I have left really growing well. I did by some kale and cabbage plants at the open day and they seem to be currently holding their own so fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Scarecrow Show

These are a sample of the fantastic scarecrows from our sites open day

Monday, 11 August 2008


Our site had its open day on Sunday. Dutifully as members we toddled down in the afternoon, just as things were winding up. A little earlier than I had expected. The site looked great lots of snazzy scarecrows had appeared on plots for the competition (if I feel inventive I will try and make a slide show of the clever creations for a future post - I'm sure ali the frog will love the scarecrows as she is mad on them).

The open day is great because even if you have a plot on the site it still means you can take a good look at your wider neighbours work without feeling like your snooping. It was good to see what everyone else grows and how they choose to do it. The snooping helps feed my ideas for next year.

As you walk across our site it feels that the best kept plots are nearer the gates and main paths. Things get a little more dodgy as you get to the end of the site that we cultivate. As we have struggled in our first proper year, it has been reassuring that our neighbours are in a similar state of uncontrolled cultivation. One of our neighbours has been growing carpet and potatoes only this season and that seems fine to me. Some of the other plots close to us, I suspect, may have recently been encouraged to take their plots in hand judging from the sudden flurry of activity on them.

We have toiled on our plot and I know that it does not look good despite this hard work, but I now want to stand in the middle of the site and shout "I do care".

What was most upsetting about our open day was this sign.

Yes our plot is beyond this sign in the area not to be seen, the area where we don't have green fingers, the area of ugly plots. Is there a hazard to the public presented by wandering down this end of the site, if so, is it something as a plot holder I should be aware of? Or is it that the public should be spared the knowledge that growing things is hard and not always beautiful.

If mum had managed to harness Owens enthusiasm (not too keen when I tried) and revamp our scarecrow and build him a friend then enter the competition it would have been a shame as it probably would have gone unseen.

I wonder if I'm going to get a letter to improve our plot.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

These are my beautiful gladiolis they were a deep red and I particulary love them at the point before they open.

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Saturday, 9 August 2008

Little cheerful things

Today has been a good day for a few nice little things happening so I am cheerful despite the rain.

My 'Rhiannon' streptocarpus which I recently repotted (possible danger in tampering with plants that like to be pot bound) has for the first time this year started to flower. I was a little worried as I thought my tinkering had finished it off especially because I have treated it to feeding tablets too.

When the flower stem unfurls there are usually several beautiful flowers on each stem (if I get them then I'll try some macro photography for the blog). This individual plant flowered frequently with multiple stems and a lot earlier last year, so there was a genuine cause for concern. They are a plant that is tolerant of a little abuse and they can be propagated easily so they make a good houseplant for me. There are many beautiful varieties and Dibleys nurseries specialise in streptocarpus. Of course its my vanity that makes me grow a plant that shares my name but I have to say it's the only plant that does, as far as I know, so that when I stumbled upon it a few years ago I had to have it.

Also today I collected a rake and hoe through the wonders of freecycle and a kind lady called Pauline. These will mean that we both can hoe and rake at the same time down at the patch that has to be cool.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Teething trouble

I've decided to put all my growing woes down to it being my first year. I could call it teething trouble at this point. I plan to take time out to think about how to manage year two a little better - I'm thinking of doing a one thing a week to do list, to try and get a great looking plot next year. But the road to hell is heavily paved with my good intentions already. I'm unlikely to stick to it.

Huw was up in the night frequently last night, this is because his top front teeth are making an appearance. I had a choice this morning - either to take advantage of it or to catch up on my sleep. I went to the patch after dropping Owen at football, Huw realised that it might be good to grab a nap at the allotment when I parked up the pushchair.

The first thing I did was put the broccoli plants in sadly in the same spot that I had recently put the sprouts in - only one of those remain. I did know that I was condemning them when I planted them out and the same goes for the broccoli. Well its a poor choice, either to die in a polystyrene plant cell ignored at the house or take your chances against the slugs down at the patch.

I so, so wish that things looked a little better down at the patch especially as this Sunday the allotment association has its open day. Loads of people were sprucing up their plots today at the site. I weeded around my leeks which was hardly a noticeable improvement but some of the plants made a huge sigh of relief as the bindweed strangler was escorted from the leek bed. One of Owen's friends is coming to tea next week so my difficult decision for the weekend is going to be tidy up at home or tidy the patch -nothing is ever straight forward eh.

I left a comment with SWD about weeds, and the fact that when cultivated properly they can make good baby shading and just to give some visual evidence here is a picture of my weed problem today. Oh, and the guys on the railway track in the hi vis gear provided some entertaining evesdropping on their banter I'm not sure if they knew I was there.

We have some fire tongue beans appearing which is exciting so I might get a mini meal from those as there are not many plants thanks to my sluggy friends. I picked a courgette today (there is only one) which was not quite a marrow and it seems to have appeared from nowhere. Now I have to decide what to do with it.

One last thing, is anyone else sick of scraping thunder flies out of their eyes, nostrils and ears? I hate thundery weather.

Sunday, 3 August 2008