Friday, 30 July 2010

Rain Rain go away ... don't bother coming back another day

The lottie is miserable, bedraggled and waterlogged. Ironically allotment holders in Sheffield received a letter this week from our new allotment officer reminding us to use water in a responsible manner. It's raining again as I type this post. Ohhhhh the irony.

My god-daughter & her sister came to stay with us recently - and a quick trip to the water the greenhouse was the perfect opportunity to try out my lovely yellow wellies - their maiden voyage was very satisfactory :)

With not much happening at the lottie, despite it being the height of summer, we headed out to Tropical World in Roundhey Park, Leeds for the day. The walled garden is stunning and we discovered where the bees have all been hiding !




OH took these lovely photos of the Koi Carp:







couldn't resist this one ... snakes on a bench !


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Dragons Abound

Sheffield has been suffering from a deluge of rain this last week - it's great for my veggies, but it's finished off the strawberries

I couldn't resist a quick lookie at the carrots - last week they were teenie ... today - look !


The lottie is at a lovely stage right now - just producing enough so that we get chance to eat it ... well, apart from the peas - there are still hundreds to pick.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Ladybird Alert !

so there I was weeding the artichokes and thinking to myself, 'cor I've not seen many ladybirds this year' when I spotted one quickly followed by another ....

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I managed to count:
2 spot red x 7
18 or 20 spot orange x 3
4 spot black x 3
baby ladybirds x 4
and a monster black one with red 'eyes' x 1

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This is the monster one - it is 2-3 times the size of a normal ladybird ... I need to google it and see if it's an invader

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it's painted eyes are quite dramatic:

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it was scuttling up and down the bit of plant it was on, but didn't look to be eating many aphids - the artichokes are covered in the them at the moment ... must make myself some garlic spray.

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I'm always on the look out for Harlequin ladybirds - this one also looks slightly different to the usual ones - it's head was a different shape ... more googling to do !

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This one looked like it had been sun bleached - it's spots fade away ...

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here's a ladybird lavae - gosh they are freaky

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even the flies are beautiful on my lottie :)

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I spent about three hours weeding everything today, still loads more to do. Ho-hum.

Hmm, this is either a Blue Lake (slightly skeptical) or a Gold Rush (looks more likely):

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Yippee purple beans ... my favourite !

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I have no idea what this is ! I thought it was a squash, but it's growing very 'bushy' ... oh well, lots of flowers, so I guess I'll know in a month or so. I wonder what happens to my labels ...

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Buckwheat in the greenhouse - it's as tall as me. So pretty and delicate:

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Lookie - my cucumber is still alive - hurrah ! No fruit yet, but lots of flowers. I'm almost hopeful for cucumber this season :)

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Well my tomatoes are not the tallest plants I've ever had, but they are looking nice and healthy and I have quite a lot of fruits set already. This is my one and only Vanessa:

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These are my yellow toms (I think !):

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Here's my Roma - my favourite :)

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Here are my borlotties;

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Here's my Crown Prince & Queensland Blue - they look really healthy and are romping away now ... must remember to give them some more chicken poo water ... yum !
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Newspaper Apples:

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My peppers are very small, but I can see flowers coming ... they need to get a move on, or they may miss the season. My melon is also very small, but finally has a flower appearing.

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Not sure what this little guy is - I need to get my moth book out - he was very attractive:

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Edit: google & my RSPB garden wildlife book think he may be a Skipper Butterfly ... any advance ?

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mmmm and finally ! Oh I love my icecream maker.


We finished off the strawberry icecream yesterday just in time to make way for the raspberries ! and what better way to enjoy them, than raspberry & chocolate brownie cakes, with raspberry icecream and raspberry & strawberry coulis ... oh my. Yes, it's very good ... very very very good :P

We've also had plenty of courgettes for Nigella's courgette and chickpea pie, Artichokes, baby carrots (bit small yet), beetroots, tonnes of peas (soup in the fridge), garlic and baby potatoes ... yum. Makes it all worthwhile :)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Blue skies and lots of sunshine

My peas are ready for picking - got loads of them, not sure what I'll do with them yet. Maybe some of Simon Hopkinson's pea jelly !


This is the first of my Turks Turbans - so far so good ...


haha, I have no idea what this fella is, but he is pretty healthy ... maybe he's a winter festival.


he heh .... courgettes need no introduction ! OH is looking forward to Nigella's courgette & chick pea pie next week :)


Hopefully these are borlotti beans ... my labelling, which started out fantastically, ended up in it's usual chaos when the sun bleached the ink from the labels ! Anyway whatever they are, they are looking great.


I picked 1.25kg of strawberries this afternoon, they are currently in the fridge covered in 1kg of jam sugar .... guess what I'm making tomorrow ! Yum

OH's face lit up when he saw the raspberries that I brought home. They were almost engulfed in bindweed. I've ripped out as much as I could. Bloody stuff.


The sweetcorn is developing tassels already - I might give then some chicken poo water tomorrow .. mmmm yum ! Must remember peg for my nose haha.


Despite my careful weeding I still have loads of baby teasels popping up - this one has made a break for it. I'm sure I'll regret it later as it is so close to the path, but it is too pretty to dig up.


Ladybirds are a few and far between this year ...


... which may account for this situation ! Looks like I need to make some garlic spray to keep the bugs away.


I've had some other visitors today who were more welcome - they weren't bothered by me at all - infact that's my leg that they are resting on. The pond is very busy at the moment with damsel flies and loads and loads of teeny tiny frogs hopping around.



This one kept landing on my camera hand !


I tried to do some digging today, but the ground is rock hard, so I think I'll give up on that idea :)