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.

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