Thursday, 27 July 2006

I'm over run with courgettes - 8 plants is 7 too many. Daren't water them or give them any encouragement as they'll be off.

The Globe Artichokes looked as if they might not do much this year, but have had a sudden growth spurt and are looking beautiful - they are such a lovely colour. Adore artichokes, so just need to look up how to cook them now ... mmmmmmm

I've got a couple of turks turban on the plot, they look amazing. They were given to me by a lottie neighbour who had way too many for her plot - lucky for me. Hope they taste as good as they look.

Here's one of my baby butternut squashes ... can't wait for them to ripen, absolutely adore them roasted ... maybe with some cream, garlic and sage ... mmmmyum ... I've got 5 plants growing on the lottie, but think next year I'll put in more, even though they take sooooooo much space.

on closer inspection I've got baby sweetcorn cobs !

My sunflowers are beautiful, but they ain't gonna win any competitions. Planted them far too late, so they are only 5-6ft high. Also, they are pointing DOWN the plot, so you see the back of their heads when you enter the plot. I'd thought they would follow the sun around and point UP the plot ... need to plan better next year ! The recent storms haven't helped them either, some have a distinct lean - shall give them some TLC at the weekend

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Finally home

Here are a couple of pictures from my trip to Charleston. We don't get to see much as we are working during the day, but the hotel has a marina and is very popular with pelicans - they look so prehistoric when they are flying.

Our flight home was cancelled due to bad weather so we were transferred to the flight the following day - which was also cancelled ! Eventually (and with minutes to spare) we were transferred to another airline and finally arrived home this morning - the flight was freezing and think I'm getting a cold now. A visit to the lottie was my first priority.

Can't believe how much its grown. Apparently the weather in the UK has been FABULOUS for the last two weeks.

Solved a puzzle anyway - turns out the butternut squash that I planted next to my carrots isn't a butternut squash at all, but my missing Big Max ! I've given it a stern talking to and I think we have an understanding that it must not run amok amongst the carrots.

My sweetcorn is now 5-6ft high and the silks are trailing nicely. The second batch were only a few inches high when I left and the pumpkins looked as if they might smother them, but amazingly they are 1-2 ft high now. Most of the stuff I'm growing is all new to me, so its quite exciting seeing the changes. When I left the sweetcorn was just lots of green leaves - wonder when the cobs will appear.

These are the Carabocha pumpkins, which look quite interesting - I may try one next week

Here are my huge courgettes, now the size of marrows - they are only two weeks old ! I'm now searching for courgette recipes. The green ones are even bigger (I've put a normal sized one in for comparison).

The potting shed is now bursting at the seams, so I've decided to relocate some of the aubergines outside, to the newly vacated bean / pea bed. Whilst rummaging around removing tomato leaves, I came across a cucumber ! My first ever. Unfortunately my Okra looks to have suffered while I've been away - and had dropped its leaves. The flower pods thingys still haven't opened.

I've now removed the fleece from my carrots, beetroot and parsnips as they were bursting out. May try and sow some more parsnips at the weekend (if I can find some spare ground). The sweet potatoes have taken off and do behave alarmingly like bind weed. My second earlies look as if they are ready for harvesting as the foliage has died back so I'll start digging them up. The mains (Desiree) have developed apple potatoes which apparently I need to remove.

I spent about three hour tidying and weeding, but finally succumbed to tiredness. Left feeling a little overwhelmed (not least at the thought of all that courgette soup I need to make)

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Greetings from Stockholm

No veggie pix this week as we are in Sweden. This is me in Stockholm, resting my weary feet after a very long day exploring. We were only in Stockholm for a couple of nights, before travelling north to Herrang, a month long dance camp.

My allotment is being looked after by my friend, Claire. Hope its OK while I'm away. The house that we are staying at has a small vegetable garden, so I have been watering that in the owners absence. They have tomatoes (very small still), potatoes, dill and tonnes of beetroot. Its not quite the same !

So far I have two mosquito bites - the one on my hand has swollen so much that I can only see the bone from my 1st finger. Am being very careful and hoping that I don't get any more, although mosquitoes in Sweden are particularly fierce.

Will try and post some pix from dancing (lindy hop by the way)

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Meersbrook Site

This is a photo of the whole site taken about a month ago ... my plot is in the middle somewhere (click on the image to enlarge it):

Look what we had for tea on Friday

courtesy of the allotment: baby yellow and green courgettes, welsh onions, shallots, mange tout, broad beans and potatoes with mint ... yum ! only the garlic and carrot were from the store cupboard.

First real crop

Here is my first proper crop from the allotment, gathered on Friday - the start of many hopefully. The sweetpeas have been gracing home / office for a few weeks now.

of course Bernard and Roo are never far away and always up to mischief !


So here are my first pumpkins, Big Max:

and Georgie's Carabocha:

Carabocha already looks as if it is going to run amok over the site - has about 6 leaders, whereas the Big Max look a little more restrained, with only one main stem each.

They are all planted in manure, topped off with leaf mold and have been treated to some nettle feed. Am trying to get some seaweed extract to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need. Have also heard they like Guiness so I might treat them !

Birthday present

Here is my birthday present from OH - a wildlife pond. It is looking fab, although we are still looking for edging stones to finish it off.

Since the plants were added its gone a little murky, but think it will sort itself out soon. I've got flag iris (yellow), King Cup (like buttercups) and a water lily.

We've seen some georgeous damsel flies, red and electric blue, hovering around. Also got some pond skaters and loads of larvae - probably mossies :-(

Fingers crossed some frogs and newts will move in next year, and help keep the slug population down.

Suspect the pond will halve my work rate at the lottie, as I've already spent hours gazing into it looking for any movement.

more June progress

June has been an amazing month. Its only when I look at my photos that I can see just how much progress everything is making, here are the latest photos;

Sweetcorn, now at knee height;

Broadbeans now cropping:

Here are some of my carrots, of which I am extremely proud. Its taken three sowings, but now have 3 different varieties, all looking very strong and healthy. Others on my site have commented that I am one of the few people to have had success with carrots this year:

Beautiful beetroot

and finally my parsnips, not had great germination success, but have a 'tidy' row !

The plot in June

This is my parador courgette, which is yellow. I've also got some black beauties (green). They have been great to grow - all germinated easily, and now vigourously growing, we've had a couple of babies in a stir fry. The yellow ones are great to look at:

My onions have had a real growing spurt over the last 2 weeks and are filling out nicely.

The slugs on my plot are having a field day with my salad leaves and seem to think that I am sowing them just for their enjoyment. So in an attempt to actually enjoy some myself, I've sown some into a pot - they are looking better already ... maybe I've fooled them, or more likely, they are off munching something else ...

I was worried about my shallots earlier in the year and had to dig them up, but they seem to have recovered. Intend to grow a lot more of them next year:

This is my most exotic experiment this year - Okra ... having heard horror stories about the height (5') and thorny spines (yikes!) I'm quite relieved that at only a few inches high it looks as if it is about to flower. Unfortunately (or fortunately if they do achieve their thorny height) only one survived, after I cooked the other 5 in the propergator. It is in the potting shed, which currently has the door propped open day and night.

Here is my one and only sweet pepper plant (yup killed them too). Next year I intend to grow a lot more, especially as so far they seem so easy to grow. Two weeks ago this pepper was a flower. The plant is bursting with flowes, so I'm hoping for a good crop: