Wednesday, May 24, 2006

As it is hammering it down I might as well talk to you!

I have just looked at my spreadsheet diary; and see that I have already spent 123¾ hours up my allotment this season. – I am impressed with myself LOL!

Oh my – it has gone dark in my little room where I have my computer and I have just turned to look out the window and can see why – the most heaviest rainfall you can imagine. The sky is black.

My dearest husband is out on the golf course – it was sunny when he left. My poor son has driven up north to a race track day – left a 4am this morning. Oh my goodness, I do feel so sorry for them. Particularly my son who has had such a long drive, spent so much time getting his bikes ready for today. What a rotten shame.

Still this is an allotment page so best not digress.

Can anybody tell me what these are?

Actually I do know – but wouldn’t have had a clue if I hadn’t been told.

I received these in the post from Jesse – thank you so much Jesse – she has a web page and forum also and the link is on the right. I know that some of you are now members, but if you haven’t visited – you are missing out.

I will give you the answer tomorrow – but any suggestions?

A friend of mine (who I do a bit of bartering with and has the wonderful garden/plot/polytunnel/greenhouse, in a village near me – there are photos in the archives .

She has saved some Moneymaker and Plum and Gardeners Delight tomatoes for me. I have grown Alicante and Yellow pear, but not those my friend has. She grows hers in her poly tunnel but mine are grown outdoors. I will put the ones she has grow in pots in my lean to though! I have cut the bottoms off some large pots in readiness!

The Jostaberry that I gave here flowered before mine did – in her tunnel and has fruits but some of them have dropped off. I don’t know if any of mine up the allotment have.

When I went up there yesterday to see to the chickens, I was shocked at the damage to the plants – looked like a tornado had ripped through. I didn’t take my camera as I didn’t dream anything would be amiss.

The beautiful statuesque Cardoon has been broken and trampled. I did wonder if a deer had go in again, it can easily jump the fences that end. It is hard to describe, so I will take some photos – but not even for you will I venture up there now in this thundery storm.

The broad beans that had survived so much over winter and early spring look like this last act of nature was too much for them. They too are flattened and some are broken – but I am still hopeful for the seedling beans that are close to the ground and not suffered.

Amazingly the peas, are still upright in the netted ‘tent’ perhaps the wind just blew through it and the pig wire they are on – I did space the quite apart. The other veg – whilst looking rather pale – courgettes, gherkins, cucumbers, runner beans, are hanging on in there, and the Cherokee climbing beans and other courgettes protected by the milk bottles are fine too. There was no point in putting the cloches back to – to get whipped, bent or blown away to do damage so some other plants.

The onions and shallots are shooting up so they obviously don’t mind the weather at the moment. I hand weeded between the 8 rows of onions – I just had too. The thistles, socks, and allsorts (grown from seeds, thanks to two years of all the uncultivated surrounding allotments growing those and docks and every known weed to man, which blew over my plot from both sides like white clouds and times!) had started to grow, despite my hoeing the rows last week. I pulled them up whilst I could with finger and thumb as once they get a few inches tall they grow rapidly to flower, and have to be dug out as the roots go down really deep.

It is a mindless and tedious task, but my mind is rarely on the weeding but off somewhere else more interesting.

I have four or so rows of carrot and hopefully parsnip seedlings to hand weed too. That that will be a task as they will have to be pulled out with great care and finger and thumb so that I do not disturb any precious seedlings that should be there!

I have hoed in between the rows, so they are neat and tidy – but have to wait patiently for the vegetable seedlings to germinate. The rows look lush and green – but on closer inspection they are the weeds – with tiny carrot seedlings in amongst them!

Sherlock Holmes – Watson – where are you when I need you - to identify the rogues from the good guys! You could at least loan me your magnifying glass as I shall need that!

I had let the girls out into the meadow, and they were so quiet – not even clucking. On closer inspection it was because they were having a whale of a time in the border flower beds and had dug themselves out some nice deep dust baths and had their eyes closed in the bliss of sunbathing and bathing.

I wish I had taken my camera – but only went up there as an afterthought to get a bit of sunshine really and collect the eggs etc.

No chance of that today!

There had been some – not a lot – of work done on the two plots next to my new neighbour up the allotments. Their plots had been ploughed, and also cultivated and rotorvated, but have a healthy covering of weeds growing – and the end nearest the track had not been cleared of all the brambles or big weeds that the tractor couldn’t cope with. They were left – not a post, or a shed cleared out – nothing.

But in the couple of days that I did not go – due to weather and appointments – some posts have appeared. Some rhubarb and potatoes planted amongst the weeds on one plot, and a solitary wheel barrow upside down on a pile of sacks has arrived.

On the next plot, there too are posts planted amongst the weeds, and some tall single bamboo plants have been stuck in – in a block almost across the entire width.

Hmm, I hope they are not the rampant sort! They are about 6-8 feet tall!

We met this chap looking at it last year and went to say a friendly ‘Hello’ I am very interested as to how this plot progresses as he had had the soil tested – I think he said that he sent it to USA and told me of the easy way that he was going to cultivate everything. No weeding involved – and the crops all thrive. Watch this space! I know I will – all our problems may be solved.

This is what result of my food drying.

Those two trays of red, yellow and green peppers now dried to this bag full - just about to be vacuum packed

Four packed trays of white seedless grapes end up and 7ozs of lovely raisins


  1. if I saw that plant in my garden I would think it was a wild sweet potato vine. I'm sure its not but looks like one to me.

  2. been thinking, since it looks like some one has rooted you mistery plant maybe its the real mccoy, sweet potato plant.

  3. Flip you guessed it. Well done. They are not common over here to grow yourself but you can buy them in a greengrocers.

    They are sweet potato slips and I am hoping to grow potatoes from them

    LOL is an acronymn for laugh out loud.

    Off for a rest.

    Well done you.

  4. Hello al

    Can I just say, I love your blog!
    I came across it by accident a little while ago, whilst looking for info about allotments - we're thinking of putting in for one, but want to find out more before we let ourselves in for all the hard work! Your photos are fab and it's really interesting to see what you do with your produce too - there are only the 2 of us and I am concerned about dealing with gluts, so it was interesting to see your posts about drying the peppers etc. Could you tell us a bit more about that - how do you do it and how do you store it afterwards? You are a real inspiration!


  5. Hello Redwitch and thank you for your lovely comments.

    I will just look up in my archives and point you in the right direction where I posted it.

    There are only the 2 of us with four sons all grown and flown and living a couple of hours drive from us. But I freeze, preserve and now dry things. The rest are cooked and made into all sorts of sauces and meals and frozen too.

    The rest is stored and the food that does not fit into any of the above catogories - just lettuce I think - gets eaten! And the roots, carrots, parsnip, and brassicas stay in the ground over winter and get dug up as needed.

  6. Redwitch - if you click on the right on February and scroll slowly down you will see the drying and some of the other things I did in the kitchen.

    Also if you have time to click on the different months last year you will see some of the ways that things got stored and some tried and tested bulk recipes of mine that I made.

    (Other sites requested the recipes and their readers gave them the thumbs up too!)

    Off to cook lunch - must go

  7. Thanks Al

    I will have a look at Feb and work my way back through the archives.



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