Wednesday, 16 July 2008

....Gods, what a monster......

I was dahn the plopment this morning, doing the usual, weeding, clearing a bit more land for the forthcoming Winter Spinach and Swiss Chard plants, when I decided to pick some beans. I'm growing Climbing French Beans (variety: Cobra - the same that whatsisname off Gardener's World is growing at his allotment, but I put mine in first....Joe Swift, that's him). A few plants have grown to the top of the poles but the majority are still clustering at around knee-height.

"There'll be just a few, " thought I, "I can use a few tonight and blanch then freeze the rest". Readers, what a sad, deluded fool I was to think such naive thoughts. I couldn't believe how many there were! So I decided that, when I got them home, I'd weigh them. As you can see, I put them in my biggest mixing bowl and stuck them on the scales (remembering to weigh the empty bowl first and zero it) and, amazingly, there are just over 2lbs of beans, or 933 grams for you more modern types. I checked with Sainsburys online to see how much they're selling their organic beans for and they're currently charging £6.45 a kilo. That means there's six quid's worth of French Beans in that bowl alone. God only knows, though, what I'm going to do with all the beans that are going to be coming - I've spawned a monster!!

Another candidate for the category of 'monster' is this cucumber - this is the same one that I pictured just six days ago and you can see how much bigger it's grown! I really hope it works properly as I adore cucumber. The plants are starting to sprawl across the ground a bit now so I'm having to tie them up to the bamboo wigwam in the hope that the developing cucumbers grow straight down. Unfortunately they do seem to be popular with Whitefly and I'm not sure how much damage they'll do - I think Google will be my friend in this and I'll research it in a bit.

It was a lovely day at the site today - the swifts have started swooping and screeching again after a gap of about a fortnight. They'll be gone by August so I'm wondering if the adults are now flying around with the fledglings, getting their muscles working and building up their strength for the monumental flight soon back to Africa. I'll really miss them when they've gone, they were joyfully chasing each other no higher than about 10 feet above my head today. It occurred to me that there were very few pictures of the rest of the site on my blog, so, the first one here is a view taken from beside my shed looking up the pathway. I'm about three-quarters of the way down the site which is nearly 5 acres in total - it's really quite big as you can see, and surrounded by houses on all four sides. A bit open, though, so it can get windy, but lovely nonetheless.

Facing the other way, down the path, immediately next to my plopment is a small car parking area - which you can see in the picture - then more allotments. There are others on the other side of the road but I didn't photograph those as the batteries in my camera were playing up then! C and M have the allotment with the white metal chairs and table, at which they hold parties on sunny Saturday evenings! How terribly civilised....

Some of you may wish to know what the plot next door to mine now looks like - this is the one, you may recall, that I was envious of earlier in the year because it's so neatly laid out with raised beds. Well, this is it now, and I have to say that, if nothing else, the sunflowers are magnificent!

Finally, a general shot from the end of my plopment looking back towards the shed and pathway. Please note the fantastic genuine 1970s parasol - my parents-in-law never throw anything away and to them I am particularly grateful for letting me have this fantasy in yellow and brown to sit beneath while resting my weary bones and deciding what to weed next. It has been a total life-saver this summer, so thanks Desmond and Minnie!

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