Monday, 28 August 2017

Sunny Bank Holiday

It seems that Sunny Days like busses. You wait ages for one and then three come along at once. It even brought out the rampant sex at the allotment.

So this Bank Holiday saw me down the plot wilting in the heat as I try to get the un-managed parts of the plot into action. Hiding behind the sunflowers and sweetcorn is a section of weed membrane being held down by spare pallet wood, potato bags and strawberry towers.

Time to pull it up and make space for a couple of new beds. Well needless to say that I ended up too damn exhausted in the heat to be able to do much. I built another of my stackable beds, dug out the now baked clay and installed the compost bin into the bed, ready for it to spend next year being the host to all of the composting.

Once in place the new bed will be surrounded with wood chips and gradually filled with decent soil to replace the clay.
Meanwhile the weed membrane has now shifted to the side where I will have to build a path alongside my plot. There never has been a path between plots 30 and 31. Same as there never has been paths between 28 and 29. But the Committee has said that I have to build one and in return they will allow me to use the small off-cut of that once was plot 31 which is now available due to the newly build woodchip and manure bays. I'm not going to complain about that since I effectively go from 5 rods to 6 rods.

The old compost bin was opened up and a start made on shifting some of the lesser composted material over. It's turned into some really good stuff, despite my usual method of completely ignoring it.

Many people go on about how you should turn and aerate compost to get the best out of it. Fine. That works if you really want to turn over your compost fast or make huge amounts of it. I find that simply having two compost bins on the plot works just as well and you can simply leave it to get on with it and do it's thing. The worms and wood lice love it in there. The only problem is that it takes an age to sift out the uncomposting material. Something which is hard to do in this heat so I kind of gave up and decided that I'd be better off at home in the cool which a nice chilled cider in hand.

But I do have to take "George" home with me to be kept on top of the kitchen cupboards ready for being turned into seeds next year.

The 2017 Courgette Tally:

Monday, 21 August 2017

How do you know when Sweetcorn is ready?

I'm now at the same dilemma as last year. How can I tell when the Sweetcorn is ready?

There are some who say that it's when the tassels turn brown. Well on some they started brown!
Then there are those who say that it's when the tassels stop being sticky. Some of the new tassels are already not sticky. The rain washed any "stickiness" off them.
There are those who say that you have to pick a cob and test it. That's all very well if you have a field full and can risk losing some of your crop for testing.

I just wish that there was a simple way of finding out.

Meanwhile, the grapes are starting to fill out.

And we upended one of our potato bags to a an extremely disappointing harvest. This is the total of our Red Russets.

Considering that the pallet board is a mere 4 inches across, those 7 spuds are minuscule. Maybe the late frost did more harm to them than we anticipated. Anyway, not all is lost. We do have a few other bags where there is still plenty of foliage. So hopefully we can get some spuds.

But I'd still like to know about the sweetcorn. Or maybe I should just leave them on the stalks to harden and settle for making popcorn.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Doing a runner

Not me. I don't run. But elsewhere on the plots things are running away.

The Strawberries seem intent on conquering the world but spreading themselves around (much to the delight of the Wife who has already potted on a load of runners).

Then there are the Tomatoes which are sprouting six ways to Monday. They got a major haircut anyway, because although there are plenty of flowers, some of which have set, the toms are not ripening fast enough. So cutting down on foliage means that the plant doesn't have to worry about growing, and there is more sunshine available to ripen the fruits that have set.

And of course, the courgettes are trying to escape as well. They're sending out runners everywhere, but fortunately they're still plagued by fruit.

Mind you, I don't want to move them too much. Because underneath the runner above (look at the top right area) there is a small plastic tray. And Mr Ribbit has made himself at home.

Well Ribbit can help himself to as many slugs as he likes. There's plenty to go around.

The 2017 Courgette Tally:

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Sun, rain, sun, rain

Seems that the weather is a little mixed up at the moment. When we went to the plot about midday it was nice and sunny, but that soon changed for an hour with an absolute downpour. After hiding in the greenhouses to avoid the dampness (used the time to clean the insides of the glass) we emerged into brilliant sunshine again.

Mind you, it did mean that we didn't have to water outside. But the Toms and Chillies in the greenhouse we in need of watering.

There are nice buzzy bees all over the flowers at the plot. The Artichoke is once again inundated.

The Cosmos is in full bloom (excuse the shadow).

And the mini-sunflowers at the front are falling over because of the amount of blooms.

But no butterflies. OK, I tell a lie, we did see the odd cabbage white. But nothing else. Maybe the rain chased them away? There has definitely been a marked decline in butterfly numbers over the past few years. This does not bode well.

But we do have a few extra flowers in one of our strawberry beds. And no, I don't mean strawberries. The bed seems to have picked up a few invaders. How many intruders can you count?

Tomato (top right), Foxgloves (top left), Chinese Lantern (Bottom), Wild Flower (Middle left), Dock (Bottom left).

And the courgettes are still flowering too.