According to the BBC, yesterday's downpour was absolutely not a monsoon although, apparently, some of the more populist newspapers were calling it such. According to The People Who Know About These Sort Of Things (i.e., proper scientists), 'monsoons' only occur in the Indian Subcontinent and although, as in this case, the term is frequently misused to describe heavy rain, it actually refers to the seasonal reversal of wind direction. So all we had was a month's worth of rain in one 24 hour period. And, boy, didn't it feel like it?!
I decided that I really ought to check out the plopment and see if everything was still there. I haven't been posting much because, frankly, I don't think it's all that interesting for you guys to read that I cut some lettuce for my tea, did some weeding and decided to stake my tomatoes as they were getting a bit tall and being blown over by the wind at our exposed site. But an update is a bit overdue.
I went down to the site for a couple of hours today just after lunch and, thankfully, everything was still there and thriving happily, so let me put up some piccies:
First off, here are the tomatoes which, as you can see, have now been staked! These eleven plants were given to me by a friend who didn't know what they were (other than tomatoes), i.e., whether they were bush or ... er ... the other kind (what are they called? you know, the ones that grow tall?) Anyway, I stuck them in the ground, did that business of removing the side shoots (when I remembered) and they seem to be happy enough. There are flowers and everything now. When the fruits start forming, I'll have to remember to start feeding them. After taking this picture I weeded out the encroaching couch grass that you can see at the bottom of the picture - b***** stuff....
Growing just behind the tomatoes are my outdoor indoor cucumbers. These are Telegraph cucumber plants which are, ideally, meant to be grown indoors but I'm trying them outdoors and I'm surprised at how well they're doing. They've thoroughly enjoyed the recent wet weather and there are a handful of little baby cucumbers coming along on both plants. I had to tie them further up the bamboo poles so that they don't trail on the ground and the plants and stems are really hairy and feel like they should sting but don't - bizarre. You can also see one of the cucumbers coming along nicely.
The onions are doing very well although apparently there's been an outbreak of Downy Mildew on some plots further up the site. I had a look at mine today and I'm not sure if they've contracted this or not. I'll need to keep a close eye on them because I'm very proud of my onions this year. The close up picture shows how large they've grown in comparison to an ordinary trowel. I think I'm going to have to start harvesting some soon...
So, what next? I'm growing Climbing French Beans (var: Cobra) up poles this year (I prefer french beans to runners which get stringy) and even though most of the plants are nowhere near the top of the poles yet, I've started harvesting some damn fine looking beans. Last year, before I had the plopment, and for several years before I had been growing French Beans in a couple of huge pots at home and last year had barely a pound of beans from them in total all summer. I think I've picked around a pound of beans just today so this all bodes well! Yum!
Just at the bottom right of the bean plant picture, you can see the Red Cabbages, so here's a better picture of the six biggest ones. I have some others growing in the brassica patch but they're much smaller so should mature a bit later in the year.
Also in the brassica patch are my gorgeous Curly Kale. I have been cooking a fabulous pasta recipe using garlic, bacon and Curly Kale so decided to grow it rather than buy the pre-shredded bagged stuff from the supermarket. My veg book (the Hessayon one) said that Kale was one of the easiest vegetables to grow and I can say it's been simple - just put the seed in a pot and it grows! I think we're going to be able to start harvesting a few leaves very soon, so I may well have to sow a few more seeds to get plants to see us through winter. You can't really tell from the picture (because it's been taken looking down on the plants and through the netting) but they're actually about a foot tall).
The sweetcorn is doing its sweetcorny thing, with each plant getting bigger and taller at different rates! When the wind is blowing through them they have that lovely rustly tall grass sound. Fingers crossed that I get some decent cobs out of them.
Finally, despite the wind and the cold, my little red pepper plants are still hanging on in there and starting to put out flowers which, hopefully, will turn into luscious sweet red peppers. Actually, I've already decided that if they don't work this year I shall persevere with them next year, perhaps finding different ways to grow them because (a) I like them and (b) they're so blimmin' expensive in the shops - I mean, 69p each!! - that's it's worth keeping going until I get it right!