Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Monday, August 06, 2007

Out with the old.....

Further to all the spuds being struck down by blight – the potato equivalent of the bubonic plague – I spent a great deal of time this week on the great potato dig. The maris piper in particular look utterly fabulous, & in total we’ve dug about 60kg from the plot of 15’ by 20’ which I think is pretty good going.

There do seem to be a number of opinions with regard to how long the potatoes will store for – from ‘well if they look ok, they’ll be fine’ to ‘well they might look ok, but they won’t store’ to ‘they won’t store’. The only consensus of opinion seems to be that if they do go off in store then my goodness you will certainly know about it.

Further bad news on the blight front – tomatoes are closely related to spuds & it looks like the blight has spread. I bought a pump spray & some dithane to treat the tomatoes, but it may well be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted … but we’ll see. I’ve hoiked up a couple of really suspect plants & if we are being totally honest, the majority of the others are showing signs.

Concerned about loosing all the tomatoes which would be a complete blow, I scoured the local garden centres for left over plants & found a fabulous specimen to bring home & it now holds the title of the World’s Most Pampered Tomato. I also have high hopes for the tumbling tomatoes in the hanging baskets at home – they have marble sized green tomatoes on at the moment.

Of course with so much time spent on the forking up the spuds, the rest of the plot has been neglected so it’s just as well that the weather has held for the weekend for a serious bout of weeding.

When I arrived in the sunshine on Saturday morning, novice neighbour Jody was digging up neat neighbour John’s potatoes – he’s chopped all the tops off in the hope that the blight hasn’t travelled down the stems. Reg-next-plot seems to be about the only one who has not been affected by blight – he says that he sprayed in the middle of July so perhaps that’s a precaution to take for next year – & for the tomatoes.

Barry was cutting down his broad beans & asked me if I wanted some of the pods for drying & shelling & then use the seed for next year – you bet – which I now realise explains why a lot of the plots still have the broad beans on when they are clearly past the ‘eating’ stage. Saving seed is yet another area which I’ve not got to grips with yet!

Thinking that the onions aren’t going to do an awful lot more, I dug those up too. I’ve no idea if they are going to be ok to store, but they are drying off on the bench at home at the moment. I guess that I could chop & freeze them, but I’d prefer to leave freezer space for the beans if possible. All the runners have tiny beans on now & the climbing French beans are in flower.

I spent just enough time weeding in the hot sun to give me a headache, & then did an hour more through sheer bloody-mindedness, but left the Hill with plot c (roots) looking fabulous. Just before I left, I planted out 2 courgettes into plot b (misc) which I hope are going to do rather better than the sad little thing in the pot at home.

As big sister Helen has been up for the weekend it was lovely to show her round the Hill ‘in person’ today & it being a Sunday morning it was very busy – so we stopped to chat & admire & have a nose whilst the sun shone & the bees buzzed & the butterflies flitted.

Once it had cooled down this evening I went back & gave plot b (misc) a going over with the hoe. The sweetcorn is starting to show tassels at the tops despite only being about 3’ tall, but perhaps that is ok for that variety. I got a bit ruthless with the lettuce which now looks miles better & rescued all the rows from the weeds – nettles are not my favourite at the moment!

More weeding is lined up for this week along with looking at green manure for putting in plot d (potatoes) as it looks so bare, all of which will be more than enough to be going on with!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Hazel

    Your plot looks amazing - we can't wait until ours is like that, but at least there aren't as many weeds now! We dug up a whole bucket of potatoes from our plot and can't wait to tuck in, but I imagine the satisfaction is greater when you've planted them. We were told we were mad for being out there on the heat yesterday!



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