The diary of two novice gardeners and allotmenteers

Chris and Steve's Weblog – City Chickens

Monthly Archive: July 2007

Red or Dead

 

roseval

This evening we spent an hour and a half at the plots. I gathered some beans and carrots for tea. We also cut a decent cauliflower to go with them. Half went in the pot and half in the freezer. We decided to dig up the Roseval potatoes and one whole row only gave enough for about two meals for the three of us. What we did get looked ok so we will do the taste test later as they are in the saucepan at the moment. I was unsure about peeling or not but in the end I scraped them and they were still red underneath the thin papery outside layer. I have pulled four sticks of Rhubarb against advice I had read about leaving the plant alone for the first year. Lastly we brought home another lettuce and a few turnips that had shot up overnight it seemed to me.

Peas in a Pod

In complete contrast to yesterday we worked at the plot today in torrential rain. Rob pulled up the rest of the pea plants and I sat in the shed doorway and pulled the pods off. We filled a large washing up bowl. The peas were growing around the inside of the second brassica cage so after Rob had pulled them up he pulled all the weeds too. When we left it looked really tidy with quite a bit almost ready to harvest.

peascauliflower

We brought home two cauliflowers, one we shall eat with our evening meal and the other will be put in the freezer. The plants we put in yesterday on plot eighteen were looking good and seemed to like the rain. The rain hasn’t let up all day and the garden at home is like a swamp. Luckily the allotment plots are on a gentle slope so no waterlogging there, thank goodness.

Cabbages and Queens

We spent hours at the plots today in sweltering heat. Firstly we transplanted the brassicas from the nusery bed over to the new brassica cage on plot 18. We still have some small plants waiting to grow on a little more. Rob dug up a row of potatoes, British Queen, and we were very pleased with the harvest. I tidied and watered in the lean to and the greenhouse then weeded the runner bean trench and fed the beans. I was able to harvest enough beans for a dinner and pulled a few carrots, Autumn King, to go with them. Rob spent ages weeding in the fruit bed and it looked beautiful when it was finished.

carrotsbeetroot

I harvested a few decent beetroot for pickling and another couple of cougettes for who knows what. Finally we harvested some radishes, the last of the spring onions and a couple of butterhead lettuce. At home we have four cherries on the tree that are almost ripe. I keep checking them every day because I’m sure the ducks will pinch them as soon as they are ready.

 

Judgement Day

We both got soaked to the skin today but came home laden with produce. A lovely bag of Charlotte potatoes hardly touched by the blight, four meals worth of peas and a bowl of salad leaves. The view in the lean to was heartbreaking as the cucumbers had been attacked by blackfly and mildew and the whole bed was a sea of yellow leaves. I set about cutting off all the offending leaves and gave the blackfly a blast with insecticide. When I had finished the plants looked naked but ready to fight another day. The tomatoes just needed tidying up a bit and side shoots removing. There were lots of fruit on the tomatoes and the beginnings of fruit on the aubergines. Trevor told us the local council judges had been to inspect the plot yesterday as we had been entered into the newcomers class . Its too much to hope that they didn’t peep into the lean to so I dread to think what they thought. On the whole the plots are looking quite productive despite the terrible weather and the blight.

Sad Day – Potato Blight

Today, as well as a bit of weeding and tidying up between showers, we cut down the haulms of the potatoes. Most of the plot holders have lost their potatoes to the blight and we felt very sad and were remembering back to a few weeks ago when we were so excited digging up the first earlies and anticipating being able to harvest potatoes throughout the coming season. We did harvest quite a large bag of peas however and enjoyed them with lamb chops and potatoes for tea. The flower bed is full of colour but the strong wind and rain has caused quite a bit of damage in there too.

Blackcurrant Jam

We had six pounds of fruit from the blackcurrant bushes on plot 18 and I have made them into jam. Blackcurrant Jam

The weather has been terrible with loads of torrential rain bringing blight spores to everyone’s potato crops. Only the ones grown under shelter in bins have survived. We may follow that example next year. With the blight doing a wrecking job above ground the slugs have finished the job below ground. It is disappointing but there are successes with the brassicas and the peas doing quite well despite the weather. The runner beans are climbing up their poles steadily and if we get some warm weather we may get a good crop.

blight sporesbrassica derby day