Saturday, 30 June 2012

flowers on the runner beans

Three flowers on the runner beans. Note to self; don't get too excited, there will probably be a snowstorm or a hurricane.

Weeded and strimmed, the soil is too wet for anything else. I did plant out some broccoli which was getting potbound, didn't need to water them in though, just plopped them into the water that was filling the hole as I worked. I covered them with a completely inadequate polythene cloche tunnel, I will get around to some proper protection from pigeons when the plants are a bit bigger.

My cordless strimmer is rubbish, it only last about 5 minutes, maybe 10as long as I don't give it anything too taxing to chew on. The allotments association has a petrol powered one that the plotholders can borrow, but I'm frightened of that one. I don't do motors.

I have put a net tunnel over the courgettes, hoping it will encourage them to keep going.

Friday, 29 June 2012

The plot is awash again after the huge thunderstorm yesterday, but no worse than it has been since April.  I suppose it will take longer to drain, given that the surrounding land is saturated.
When I first took over the plot in 2009 I dug some drainage ditches down the side of the path, but they have got filled in again over time.  So renewing and deepening them is a project for the autumn when this lot of water has gone, if it ever goes!

Monday, 25 June 2012

famous last words

I remember saying that any fool (me) can grow onions.  Those words have come back to bite me.

Is this the sorriest collection of red onions you have ever seen? And those are the best ones, I've taken out the rotten ones (bottom left of pic)

And the ordinary ones behind aren't much better.

The shallots are looking better than the other onions.  Perhaps the raised bed made the difference, better drainage and not so cold maybe.

 I have a pea!
 Sweet corn and beetroot are looking good.  The beetroot are really benefitting from being in a cloche.  I think I should get a cloche big enough to put over the whole garden.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

first strawberry

One flower on the runners, which I discovered while spraying against bugs.  I hope that won't affect the pollination, I didn't think of that until after I had done it. There is only the one flower so far, so hopefully I haven't done too much damage.

Ate the first was deelicious!  A little underripe and a bit muddy, but lovely.

Got soaked AGAIN on the way home.

Friday, 22 June 2012

summer solstice

It's around now that there isn't much to do except wait for thing to grow. I have plants ready to go out but nowhere to put them until something else has matured.

I dug up some garlic, hoping to free up some space but MGG tells me that the leaves are brown because of Rust, not because they are starting to die back, so I'll leave the rest to plump up a bit more.

The received wisdom on onions, is to plant seed on the shortest day and don't harvest until after the longest daylight, when the plants start dying back.  That was yesterday,  but I'll give them a bit longer.
(I wonder how they manage at the poles or the equator?)

I thinned out the baby Florence fennel seedlings.  It seemed a shame to throw good plants away so I replanted the thinnings, they might be a bit slower, but it could provide a succession instead of them all coming at once.  That's the theory anyway.
Soil very wet and the growth on the early potatoes that I put in has disappeared.  Presumably this means they have rotted and I suppose I could now use that bed for something else.  Something that likes lots of water, obviously.

Something is working its way along the row of climbing french beans, eating as it goes, leaving stalks sticking out of the ground.  Have put slug pellets down, but whatever it is seems undeterred.  I don't like using pesticides much, but there comes a time when nothing else will do.

One strawberry has turned a little bit rosy, but the rest will be a while yet.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Every year I say that I won't let the weeds get out of control, but it just needs a few days of not being on the plot and there they go again.... The rain of April and May have really brought them on, I've dug up some enormous buttercups. The plants are looking good too although they could do with a bit more sun.

Lost one of the courgette plants. It wasn't looking happy so I lifted the leaves to have a look and and it just came away in my hand, attached to its roots by a single strand. So whether it was the cold and constant rain rotting the stem or whether something has chewed it, I don't know. My guess is the cold and wet has got to it as the other two look a bit sick also, as if they might go the same way. Just as well I am not dependent on the allotment for our food supply; you can afford to be philosophical about it when you have a shop just around the corner. (And some money to buy stuff, of course!)

Planted out some purple sprouting broccoli, some cabbage(hispi) , and some lovely celeriac plants got from MGG (my garden guru). I put the rest of the brassica seedlings on the compost heap as they were pretty puny.

There are lots of seedlings growing in the flower patch near the gate, but not yet big enough to tell friend from foe. WE NEED MORE SUN!!!

There plenty of little apples developing. Another plot-holder is telling me that the fruit yield is very poor so far this year. Just no fruit developing, sounds like a pollination problem. My trees might be benefitting from being next to a couple of beehives.

My little pear tree has put some more leaves on and is looking healthy, no fruit as yet of course, it is very slender.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


A nicer day at last, after a week of cool rainyness, it was actually quite pleasant to spend time weeding, and doing little things like making sure the peas were hanging on, and the runner beans were coiling around the cane like they ought.
Put some nettles in a bucket to make nettle tea. My fingers are still vibrating from the stings I always get no matter how careful I am.  I would have chopped them up but my shears are so blunt it just gave the nettles a nasty chew, so I have brought them (the shears) home to give them a sharpen and oil.
The beans, peas and onions like all the wet there has been, but I think my potatoes are a write-off for this year, they were under water for a day or two and that's not good.  I wonder if they are worth the effort as they are so cheap in the shops and I'm no connoisseur to be able to tell the difference in taste between freshly dug or shop bought.  The best potatoes seem to be grown in bags or boxes in compost, but that is quite an expensive way of doing it.
Weeded the strawberry beds and the berries are still pretty green.  This time last year I was picking them, mind you, that was earlier than usual.
All my autumn planted onions have grown a flower stalk.  Something to do with the uneven temperatures we have been having.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

first sweet peas

The temperature went down to 10C last night and it is a cold, windy, damp day today so I've brought the sweet potatoes into the greenhouse.
The tomato plants which have been outside are looking a bit shrivelled, so it looks like it is too cold for them outside, so I'm going to treat the sweet potatoes the same as the tomatoes.  Really, a normal summer in the north-east of England just isn't warm enough; there might be a few hot days but not enough for tender plants to actually produce a crop.
I've put some netting around the courgettes and the pumpkin to protect them from the wind a bit.  I don't want to put fleece or polythene on as they need to be accessible to passing pollinators.
Picked the first bunch of sweet peas, small but beautiful.
Two more very small courgettes for the stir fry.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Planted out the sweetcorn and the pumpkin plants.  I had two pumpkins but I gave one away as I haven't got room for such unproductive plants (see last years tennis ball sized crop)  The sweetcorn are a bit small but with luck they will catch up.
I planted out the sweet potatoes in bags in the back yard. They were looking good after their first night out all on their own. The instructions are that they are best in temps between 10C and 30C.  I've rigged up a kind of fleece curtain which I can drop down over the bags at night, but the temperature went down to 11C last night so I might have to bring them inside at night, even though I haven't really got room.

The rain it raineth every day.....