Sunday, 2 September 2007

feed me ...

I've been feeding the compost heap quite a lot recently and decided that perhaps it was time to give it a turn. It is actually in two parts - half has been there since last year and looked very enticing and the other half is still very fresh and is made up of contributions from this season. I decided to find my riddle and after an hour or so of sieving was very pleased to be rewarded with 80 litres of beautiful, crumbly brown compost. It looks gorgeous and I'm really pleased. I don't quite think it will see me through the season, but I'm still very excited and can't wait to try it and see what results I get.

Compost copy

Its been a strange season, so different from last year. I've got NO butternut squash at all, which is very disappointing as we love them so much. Myself and OH are both vegetarian, so the allotment is great for us, but this season we are going to be a little limited in options.

I finally plucked up the courage to dig up the rest of my rockets. I think I must have had blight as half of the potatoes had rotted in the ground, but strangely the other half appear absolutely fine, except for slug / worm damage. Perhaps the tops were dieing down as the blight struck. Next door looked at the size of them in amazement and queried 'earlies, are you sure??', but in honesty they have been baking size since beginning of June. I've cleared the bed and sown some Alfalfa, which is supposed to restore fertility. The bed looks lovely now that it has been dug over. I'm thinking of putting some broad beans in there next, after I've done some reseach on t'internet ref 'crops to follow blight'. The rye which I planted a week or so ago in the onion bed is already a couple of inches high and the other two beds with green manure are looking pretty good. I'm hopeful for next season.

I'm slowly getting to know my plot and understand what works and what doesn't. For instance, in the brick greenhouse is this Tasty Red Grill pepper:

TastyRedGrill copy

It looks great, its really tall (taller than me), has no pest damage and the plant looks really healthy, strong and green. Compare that with the same plant that is in the glass greenhouse and they look like different varieties. All of the peppers in the glass greenhouse have got terrible pest damage and the plants are quite stunted in comparison. So next year I realise that the brick greenhouse should be the pepper house.

Sadly my Mohican is well on its way to the compost heap. I'm not sure if it is the greenfly, or down to bad ventilation - I suspect a combination of both. The plants are absolutely covered in greenfly and I keep forgetting to take my washing up liquid with me. The tomatoes in the same area do not have any greenfly at all:

Mohican copy

Here are my Red Egg, which are looking very strange at the moment, its safe to say the jury is out, but I don't think I'll be growing them again next year. The leaves have horrendous spines, far worse that the other varieties of aubergine:
Red Egg copy

My Calliope and Black Beauty look gorgeous and even though they are very small I decided to cut them just in case:

Calliope copy

Black Beauty copy

My Hispi are behaving very strangely - but then again I'm not familar with them, so perhaps they are behaving normally ... they grew quite big over the summer and the slugs have been enjoying them. However, the inside of the cabbage has continued to grow and has now burst through the centre, Alien style. They look pretty healthy, perhaps they are miffed that OH won't eat them. I've fed a few to the compost heap, but it will be a shame to send them all, so perhaps I'll try another stirfry next week.

Hispi copy

I lifted the remaining cauliflowers and fed them to the compost heap too (you can see why I've been riddling can't you). They started so well when they first germinated, but have been very disappointing. I will try again, but wonder if I did something wrong with them. Will check with my million books on growing veg and see what they recommend.

This is my Jack Be Little. I've set it up a trellis wigwam, but the plant is pathetically small and I've only got three fruit - one for Horrace, one for Bernard and one for Roo perhaps. At least they will be happy.

JackbeLittle copy

My globe artichokes are all in full flower now and almost have a look of Sea anemones about them. Once they've finished flowering I shall cut them down and then move one of them to the pond area. I've also promised next door one. Hopefully next year we'll do more with them in the kitchen, but they are so lovely it is hard to harvest them and spoil their beauty.

artichoke copy

I was lucky enough to meet someone in the car park as I was packing up to go home who has a glut of plums and let me take some to make jam. They have two trees, one was Czar and the other was a Victoria Plum. The trees were dripping with fruit and they said they don't need to prune the trees as usually the branches snap under the weight of the fruit ! I picked around 2kg of Czar and am now desperately seeking jam jars ... I've decided that I shall definitely get a plum tree for my plot and I still have my £30 gift vouchers (which have tried to burn a hole in my pocket, but failed so far) so shall start to look around. If the jam works well a Czar will probably be my first choice.