Tuesday, 30 September 2014

I'm having a bad bad day.

After eating the fresh sweet corn last week, which incerdently was delicious, I went today pick the rest, only to find that either a fox, a badger or some other form of wildlife had eaten most of what was left, at least ten more decent sized ears of corn. I managed to salvage three small ears. The plot next to mine has a similar thing to my brassica tent and their corn is perfect and untouched. Another lesson learned.

The surprise tomatoes have started to look a bit worse for wear. Again, last week they were looking fine and if you zoom in on the tomatoes, you will see that they have some brown patches as if they were bruised, yet the whole fruit still seems firm. Is this the dreaded blight? I did Google it and it does look like it, but I'm no expert. Even though the healthy fruit is still green, I took what was left and I've left them on a window sill at home in the hope that they will still ripen.

To add to my woes, of five cauliflower plants, two are like this, two are fine and the last one is just taking its sweet time. I must admit that last week I failed to see how they were getting on, so I've only myself to blame. To make sure though, the two good one's are safely in the fridge.

As you can see from my small harvest, it wasn't all bad news. I wanted to bring back as much as possible, rather than leaving them to the elements and the wildlife. All five pumpkins are home. I have taker's for three of them so far, daughter, nephew and niece. As I've mentioned before, I'm hoping to eat at least one of them. So if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know. I like soups and I have been making various marrow soups, with another one in this harvest, I'll be experimenting. Till next time and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Getting back into the swing of things.

With my last gardening blog, I proudly said 'I'm back'. That statement was based on the fact that I now have WiFi and I'm back online. But WiFi isn't going to get me to the allotment and start digging and weeding. I'm still trying to get the balance right between family, work, allotment and being single again.

Today I wanted to kick start myself back to the plot. And I'm so glad I did. Just look at this small haul, I could have brought more home, but it would only end up in the compost bin. There is a mixture of good and bad here. The carrots aren't really that impressive, but if you've read my blog before, you'll know that any carrots are a bonus. The potatoes are part of my main crop, maris piper. They are supposed to be resilient to slugs and bugs, not on my plot they ain't. I will say that most are free from bug violation, but one was so badly bitten, when it was in a bowl of water waiting to be washed ready for cooking, it was floating on the water. Cutting it in half I found so many holes, it could have been Swiss cheese. The Savoy cabbages are a touch on the small side and yes the caterpillars have found a way in and causing some damage, but all in all, the bassica tent will be back next year.

These are what I can only describe as the most deformed radishes I have ever seen. I'm not the only one on the site who has had problems with radishes. Some have given up completely trying to grow them. They are supposed to be easy to grow but maybe they need more attention.

Now I'm a bit worried about these leeks. This is the worst one. It has a few dead leaves and if you can look closely, you can see what I can only describe as rust on the green leaves. Help was at hand thanks to Katie Lane, the author of 'Lavender and Leek' blog and Michelle (@Mishstacey), a contestant on 'The Big Allotment Challenge'. I put this photo up on instagram with a cry for help as to what the hell was the rust all about. They both informed me that the rust comes from too much nitrogen in the soil. Potash would be better for feeding the soil, also spacing the plant further apart should stop it spreading. The best news was that it is still edible, so roasted leek and Stilton is back on the menu. Once again, thank you to Katie and Michelle.

Slightly on the upside of things, these are my plum tomatoes that have grown in place of my Brussel sprouts. I say slightly on the upside because it's so late in the season, will they have time to ripen? There must be at least a kilo of fruit, it would be a real shame if we don't get to eat them. I really can't take any credit for them, they started growing when the sprouts died off and just kept growing. I haven't pinched out any shoots, no canes to support the plants, nothing. I may get my coldframe out to help things along. Well, I'll have to do something to be able to take some credit.

I am really pleased with my sweet corn. Considering the day I planted the out, most of the seedlings had bent. It was only the fact that I put the 2 litre plastic fizz bottles, with the bottom cut off, over each seedling, that has supported them and helped them grow. I am also pleased to say that they taste amazing and I still have more to eat.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but this is just one pumpkin plant. I have quins. They are all roughly the size of a football. I am hoping to eat at least one of them, so I'm looking out for a spicy soup recipe, nothing too complicated. I'm still bringing home marrows and courgettes which will also be thrown into a soup or two.

I was lucky to find this old wooden box in my shed. There's something about fresh produce in an old wooden box I really like. It came in handy to take it all home as well. Till next time and thanks for reading.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Postcards from London.

This is my first, non gardening, blog post. But it's one that I wanted to share. With my current situation, there would be no summer holiday this year. So, I wanted to something with my girls. A day trip to London was something that my youngest has always wanted to do. After looking into it, a coach was the best and cheapest option. Leaving at 5.20am and arriving in London at 8am, the return journey would leave at 9pm taking us home by 11.30pm. A long day but hopefully a day to remember. The tickets were booked and paid for, for Friday 29th August.

The day only really had one hitch, it was about 20 minutes after the bus departed. That's when we woke up. Yep, we missed the bus. Now this would be a rubbish post if that was the end of it, but I remembered that back in the 90's when Martin O'Neil took City to Wembley many, many times, we would drive down to Watford and get the tube to the stadium. That line carries on to Euston Station, London. "Get dressed kids, we're going to London". By 8.30 we were on the tube heading for the capital.

A lot of walking and riding the tube was done that day, mostly due to the fact that the map was read wrongly. But here are a few snapshots of our day.

This is the best of a few photos I took
at Piccadilly circus.

Marble Arch is not as big as I thought it would be.

The Mafia are getting serious now.

If you ever wanted to go to the Natural
History Museum, you will really need
to spend the whole day there.
We didn't even see a quarter of what's
there. This T. Rex move's by the way.

This is an amazing building. So much
detail, there will always be something
 I didn't see or notice before.

Queenie's home!

We ran out onto the road to take this
shot of the Mall.
I got some disapproving looks
from another dad when we got back
to the pavement.

I was worried that we wouldn't get a good photo of
Tower Bridge once it started to get dark.

But seeing how well the last photo came out I had to
take this one.

This was our view while eating chip on a bench.

Well that was our day out. It didn't quite go to plan, but it was definitely a day to remember. Till next time and thanks for reading.