Sunday, 20 June 2010

Mid-June Catchup

Yesterday I went down to the allotment and finally remembered to take my camera.  What I didn't do was take any photographs.  I've absolutely no idea why.  I did, though, go to a nearby field which was full of poppies and looked absolutely stunning and took these pictures:

Gorgeous, non?

And, of course, I managed to forget to take my camera again when I went to the plot this morning! Good Grief!  However, I did have my iPhone with me which has, I think, a pretty good camera (I've used pictures on here before that I've taken with it) so I'm afraid you'll have to make do with those for now.

So, I have finally, I think, finished planting out everything that I'm going to hopefully grow at the plot this year.  As I'm sure you're all aware, we seem to be having a bit of drought in the UK this summer - well, down in the south we are, I can't comment for those further afield, but we're having weeks going by without a drop of rain falling.  Then we might get a few hours - barely enough to dampen the earth - and it goes away again for a few more weeks.  The earth at my site is very fine and free-draining and, in these conditions, is effectively barely anything more than dust.   The one good thing about it being so dry is that it makes weeding and hoeing very easy indeed.  Watering is an absolute must, obviously.  Sadly, even with daily watering, this year some of my plants have just given up the ghost.  I've lost 3 out of the 4 cucumbers I planted, 2 out of the 5 butternut squashes and one of my precious pattypan squashes.  It's too late to sow more butternut squash but I managed to find a supply of plants on sale at Secretts Garden Centre in Milford so I bought 3 to replace the lost ones.  Fortunately I have some spare cucumber plants that were going to go to a friend but will have to go to the allotment now.  Sadly, I'll have to hope the 3 surviving pattypan squashes continue to do so.

When I was at Secretts I had a look at the other vegetable plants they had on sale and I picked up a couple of bargains.  They had trays of Mange Tout reduced from £3.49 to £2.49 so I picked up a couple of those as I'd not sown any Mange Tout this year, and even though I don't usually grow runner beans, they had trays of White Lady runner beans (which I believe are stringless and, hence, more appealing to me) that had grown big and sprawling for some stupidly cheap price, so I took a tray of those as well.

All the allotments in Waverley (or at least in Godalming and Farncombe) are being judged by the council over the next 2 days.  There is more weeding and grass cutting that I could do but I really think I've done as much as I can so I'm just going to hope that they're kind to me - they have been the last 2 years so I'm hoping I'll be okay this year.

So, then, onto the pictures.  Bear in mind what I've said about it being dry and things dying on me, and perhaps you won't notice that it's not nearly as lush as I'd like:

Beetroot - I'm adding to this as the seedlings get bigger.  Hopefully there'll be about 60 of them all told.

Butternut Squash - planted 5 in a circle with one in the middle.  The three greenest are the shop-bought replacement ones.  Remains to see if the two original ones survive.

Climbing French Beans 'Cobra' variety - there are 3 plants around each bamboo pole.  They're all doing fine so far and have established themselves.

The 4 plants at the bottom of this picture are Courgettes 'Defender'.  They're all putting out little courgettes.  I may well have planted too many for just the 2 of us at home, but hey ho....!

Courgette flower

Dwarf Yellow French Beans - a small patch of about 11 of them.  The little sticks with silver discs are flattened mince pie cases saved over from Christmas.  Pigeons are a big problem on the site but they hate shiny things that rattle in the wind.  You might notice I've also tied them to the bamboo poles supporting the climbing french beans.

Leeks 'Musselburgh' - doing their thing.  They seem happy enough.

Various lettuces - the red is Lollo Rossa, the pale green is Salad Bowl, the darker green is Little Gem.  There's also some Wild Rocket in there too.  I'm adding more as I'm sowing successionally.

Mange Tout - I threaded bamboo poles through green netting and then planted a couple of mange tout plants at the base of each pole.  Our site can be very windy so I decided to add poles at an angle for support.

Pattypan Squash - I've lost one of them (you can see it's withered carcass just at the bottom left) but hopefully the other 3 will survive.  Their fruits look like white UFOs and you cook them like courgettes.

Two rows of potatoes - International Kidney and Desiree - and one row of onions.  There are carrots tucked in here too but they're too small to see just yet.

Cherries 'Maynard' developing on our little tree.  I'm not sure if I'll get any more than these two off it this year, but it's two more than we had last year!

Red Hinnomaki Gooseberries - no fruit at all last year as it was newly planted, but look at it this year!

Inside the brassica cage - there's two kinds of kale - the dwarf green curled (pictured) and Cavallo Nero (not pictured), Brussels Sprouts 'Brigitte' in the middle of the picture and at the far end there's Calabrese Broccoli.  

See the calabrese broccoli that's flowering?  After taking this shot I cut that off with a view to forcing the remainder of the plant to put out more heads.  As I was looking at the flowers, I remembered how tasty last year's Rocket flowers had been, so I ate one.  What a revelation!  It was sweet and tasty.  I decided I wouldn't chuck the cut off bit into the compost bin, I would take it home, steam it with some new potatoes, season it with lemon juice and black pepper and slather butter over it to melt. And I did, and it was bloody fantastic!

There's other stuff I'm growing there that I didn't picture because there's not that much to see - raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, blackberries - but if they do well this year, I'll keep you posted.


  1. all looks fantastic! i will remember your tip about eating the flowerheads. wouldn't have thought to do that. :)

  2. Aw, Steph, you're too kind! Honestly though it does all look a bit rubbish at the mo, but give it a few weeks and it'll all be rampant (hopefully!). Yes, I highly recommend letting your broccoli put out some flowers, then have a go at munching on a few. The brassica cage that mine are growing in is Gandalf Standard, i.e., 'you shall not pass' in that the mesh is so damn fine hopefully nothing gets through. This means the flowers are squeaky clean and unmolested.

  3. Considering the lack of rain it all seems to be doing pretty well. My veg are only at the bottom of my garden so they get watered a lot but my leeks and brussels are about the same size as yours and my courgettes too are just showing their first few fruits. So I wonder if it is making a lot of difference.

    Pattypan squash sounds interesting; I didn't grow any this year but think I will try some next year.

  4. Ms Alienne - watering certainly can't hurt but it does get to be a bit of a pain when you've got a 90 x 30 ft plot made of dust and you're not allowed to use a hose - it all has to be done using a watering can. I have a big 25 litre sized one which is heavy to lug around but it can still easily take over an hour each time to water even the little I've got! There are pictures of pattypan squash at this previous post of mine:

  5. Looks fab, our plot is very dry to as we are in the south-east and lots of things have struggled. I must say you plants look better than ours.

  6. Sweetpeas - it is extraordinarily dry, isn't it? I'm a bit concerned that my plants aren't doing as well as they could - I suppose it would help if I stuffed the plot full of well rotted manure during the winter but I never remember to do this. Perhaps I'll try and sort it out this year... All I can do in the meantime is keep watering every day and hope for the best.

  7. WOW, those photos of the poppies are stunning. I'm in Surrey as well and agree that the soil is incredibly dry, and we have really struggled to keep stuff alive.

    Funny how you notice the weather more as an allotmenter!

  8. When I saw the title of your blog I thought, "it this about pot?" -LOL! Nice blog btw.

  9. Hello LSLW - High there (see what I did there?!) and welcome. When I took over the allotment I did wonder to myself about how easy it would be to disguise a greenhouse full of weed but then the steward pointed out that only legal plants are allowed to be grown (I think she was psychic) but I have to admit I'd missed the rather obvious stoner implications of my blog name!!!


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