Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Dog Days of Summer have arrived!

I thought today was the last day of June until my husband sent me a text saying, "Pinch, punch, First of the month, no returns!!" ('cos we're grownups now, innit) but I have to concede (...mutter, grumble...) that, in this case at least, he's absolutely right - 1 July it is. June seems to have flown by and, indeed, I seem to have been a bit tardy with my blogging but that doesn't mean I've not been down the plopment slogging my guts out darn near every single day (honest!). I mean, the weather's been so good lately that you can't ignore it - the weeds don't stop growing just because you fancy having a day off.

As a complete aside, I found out today why the hottest months of the summer are called (by some folk, but not me, I just call them July, August and September) 'Dog Days'. Apparently they're named after the dog star, Sirius. Starting about 3 July Sirius rises and sets in conjunction with the Sun. In Ancient Egypt, Sirius was the Nile Star and its rising signalled the flooding of the Nile. The name Sirius has two possible origins. It may come from the Egyptian word for Nile, or from the Greek seirios, meaning 'scorching'. The Romans called it 'Canicula'. Believing the star drove men and dogs mad, a brown dog was sacrificed to pacify it at the time of the blazing hot days of summer (when the star rose) which were called 'Caniculares' - it is this Latin word that was translated in the 16th century to 'Dog Days'. So there you are, bet you didn't know that!

Anyhoo, to return to what's going on at the plopment - you may recall that I planted four sweet red pepper plants against the shed. I've now decided to turn that into a small herb garden as well, bordered on the two short sides by lavender to form a sort of windbreak (when they get bigger of course). So last weekend The Husband and I ventured into Guildford to find that the Guildford Festival was running. When I lived in Guildford I always used to love dawdling amongst the craft stalls that go up and down the cobbled High Street during the Festival so I insisted that I had to have a decent perusal. The Husband, being a bloke of course, ran off to a bookshop. I eventually found myself at the herb stall. They've been coming for years and grow literally hundreds of varieties of herbs in the Surrey Hills and it's always tricky deciding what to get. In the end I got French Sorrel (which tastes like uncooked Bramley Apple), Broad Leaved Sorrel (which has a sharp, slightly lemony tang), Coriander, Sweet Basil and Garlic Chives. I got just one of each and planted them in front of the red peppers. Let's see how they go.

Apart from that, I've been mainly clearing more ground, weeding and watering. So here are a few pictures for you to see what's going on. Firstly, this is the lettuce patch - aren't the colours retina-searing? I love that bright lime green of the Salad Bowl. I've been smart (for once) and done proper successional planting so that there should be enough to last the summer. I'm also growing a handful of Wild Rocket (the dark green plants in the picture) a few red crinkly Lollo Rossa lettuces as well (just out of frame on the left). This is where Cynthia (R.I.P.) used to live. No sign of her I'm afraid, I think she's gone to the great Toybox in the sky.

What else? The sweetcorn are marvellous - I've barely watered them and they've just taken care of themselves. I hope we get a decent batch of cobs from them.

And I'm extremely pleased with how well the Telegraph Cucumbers are doing outdoors - see, here's a little cucumber! (Sorry it's a bit out of focus but you can see how enormous it is!)

This is just a general shot of the plopment, facing up the hill rather than towards my shed for a change. You can see that I have, once again, extended the brassica cage and I've still got Swede busily germinating in the plastic-house at home that will need to go in there, so it'll get bigger yet!

And - finally - one of The Husband, taking a well-earned rest after doing an hour's weeding of the potatoes for me - bless!

1 comment:

  1. Well done you. Thanks for the explanation of Dog Days - very interesting. I am afraid that I have not been as good as you as it's Wimbledon Week and Murray is keeping me glued to the telly when he is playing!
    I have been down to my lotty but not as often as I would like to!! Blimey I wish I could get my hubby weeding for me - well done for that too !!!


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