What a difference a week makes up an allotment! With the children here and all the rain, I only had chance to collect the eggs and pick runner beans etc.
So this evening when we went up there I got quite a shock. I haven’t been able to spend time up there earlier today, as I have family staying and more arriving tomorrow for the weekend.
I did get 9 lbs of courgettes, tomatoes, shallots, cooked with lots of extra tomato pesto – it looks so ‘sunny’ and I used larger chunks than before – at the time I kept wishing that I had a camera to take more photos. Grrr
When up the allotment this evening I was amazed at the growth of things. The tomato plants are bent over with the weight of the trusses, the pumpkins and squashes are really swelling and look amazingly healthy and running amok! The weeds in the flower beds are now growing – but at least they can be pulled out easily now the ground is wet.
We cut all the courgettes a week ago, but now we have lots more, and the cucumber plants are producing more cues. I did lose lots of plants earlier, but one bush cucumber survived so that will be enough. I had one that I was growing for my youngest granddaughter, in a big pot in the lean to and it was about 8ft long with lots of tendrils - and many flowers, it was better than the ones I had! They took it home on Sunday, and it is now planted in a garden 100 miles away and tied up to a trellis, so I have high hopes of it producing lots of fruits for them.
I didn’t have time to tie up all the tomato trusses this evening and so many have grown another 12-18inches in a week and above the canes.
I hope to sneak out in the morning early and spend a couple of hours sorting them out. We picked quite a number of tomatoes, a couple of cucumbers and I really need to pick some more courgettes – the family can have some of those.
What amazed me even more were the runner beans. Last Sunday they were all picked and the Cherokee Trail of tears climbing beans were just tiny weeny forming beans – but you should see them now, green, purple, speckled, dangling from the plants. I am really glad that I made those bean rows the way I did, the beans are so easy to see, and pick.
Pat was talking to Geoff, who commented that our beans were looking good and was flabbergasted when Pat said that we had already started picking a week ago – all his are not even half way up the poles!
There is no other explanation for it – it has got to be the muck trenches.
I was finally able to pull out the electric fencing and move it – the ground has been like concrete and we could not pull them out. It was so nice to move them – so that I can keep the chickens off the bare bits to give those areas a chance to grow!
The girls are looking really well, with lovely glossy feathers, and seem so happy. Their eggs are weighing on average between 74 and 80 grms each and are so big I can’t close the lids on the egg boxes. They loved the leftovers I gave them – they haven’t been having any for a long time, as they have been foraging on the allotment, and have been having lettuces that have gone to seed, sorrel and mixed salad leaves. You should have seen their reaction at getting ‘junk’ food for once.
They hand left over Yorkshire pudding, as I made Toad in the Hole today – a really large one, but even the family couldn’t eat it all. They also had some left over mustard mashed potatoes – and a couple of slices of bread. Of course it was all organic! They dived on the food and ate it as though they hadn’t eaten for a week! It kept them amused whilst I cleaned out their house and run and re-sited it.
And the bantams – well only Freckles is broody – and that is only when it suits her and not every day, but we are still only getting one egg a day and that is from good old Pumpkin.
I really want to get hold of Dilly and trim her toe nails, but she is like Pumpkin now, and very antisocial – so I think that I will have to ambush her when she is roosting.
I got a letter through my door today – plain brown envelope, hand written, hand delivered and no stamp – very ominous.
It was from the Trust that ‘owns’ our allotment field. They are putting the rents up by 25% a year, but as we pay in arrears, we will not have to pay the increase until St Michaelmas Day 2007. Shock Horror – so we will now have to pay £10 per year from next year for a whole plot! Great isn’t it – we are so very lucky. I read the letter just after I had finished cooking the courgettes etc – and was thinking how much I get out of the allotment for the princely sum of £10 – both in vegetables, and enjoyment!