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...........

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Beans, brassicas and bicycles...

Weather continues to be muggy with the odd shower – & now I’m worried about blight ruining the potato & tomato crop. So I took the spray to the Hill yesterday & gave all the spuds & tomatoes a really good going over with Dithane.

Reg-next-plot arrived & we chatted about the upcoming show – he very kindly gave me some pointers with regard to showing veg, & even more kindly ended up digging up the two rows of POTATOES (charlotte) so that he could show me half a dozen likely candidates.

I’ve kept those separate, & when I got home I washed them with a soft cloth (but not actually with cotton wool as instructed…), dried them & wrapped them individually in kitchen roll & they are stored in a dark drawer. They’d better win after all that!

John (the plot at the bottom) stopped by briefly for a chat, & then I set about rigging up some netting for plot a (winter brassicas). I suspect that I’ve only done a stop-gap job, & will have to make something a bit more spacious for when they grow a bit.

Part of setting up the netting meant that I had to whiz up a couple of rows of PEAS (kelvedon wonder) which would have done a hundred times better with proper support. Also, I must note for next year, that although the variety is supposed to grow to just 18” tall, this is a load of old nonsense & the supports need to be at least 2 ½ ft high if they are not going to flop everywhere & get on your nerves.

I saved the pods for drying & shelling the peas will be sown again next year & if I end up with zillions of peas, I’ll have to see about using them to cook with over winter, although I suspect that successful mushy peas are made with marrowfat peas rather than these.

I also picked one of the fruit from the SQUASH (‘redondo’ not redmolo as I’ve been calling it here!). It’s a winter squash really, for maturing & storing (like a pumpkin), but I don’t see why I can’t eat them now too, especially in the light of not having grown any summer squash (bit of an oversight there – like not having any cucumbers!). Having said that, cheery Brian & Pauline have invited me to help myself to their abundance of yellow & green courgettes, so I’m not totally bereft!

Of the five squash varieties that we have planted, there is only one which is not flowering and setting fruit - and looks a bit grim, frankly. It's the SQUASH (thelma saunders) the seeds of which I was sent by a kind member of the GRO grapevine (link on the right) & Reg-next-plot diagnoses mosaic virus - for which the cure is to dig it out and burn the plant. Drastic, but there you are, and we are therefore now down to four squash varieties...

The FRENCH BEANS (early warwick) are getting a bit big & tough now, so I’m leaving the rest to mature for shelling in due course – & now the tendergreen variety have kicked in to take their place. The climbing beans are miles behind the dwarf varieties – you seem to trade a higher yield for an earlier harvest, so it’s best to have both sorts, I think.

There are flowers on the RUNNER BEANS (reg-next-plot) – but although I was a bit later sowing the seed this year, this time last year we were already overrun & I had a good choice to enter for the show (just look at the posters that novice neighbour Jody has designed & printed up - good eh?).
No chance of runner beans for the show this year - I’ll have to be content with entering the dwarf beans instead. There are a lot of other items that I can enter, though – although the proposed list of entries changes every time I have a look round…

Noticing that the bathroom scales seem to be creeping in the wrong direction, I thought that might cycle to the Hill tonight to pick FRENCH BEANS (tendergreen) for tea & to plant out four CAULIFLOWER (all the year round) which just fitted in the front basket snugly.

As I was puffing away (alright – I did have to get off & walk a couple of times. Well, three, actually.), I worked out that it costs about 75p in petrol every trip to the Hill, which rather ruins the economic argument for growing my own veg. It took just over twice as long as it does to drive, but whilst it’s light & dry (don’t understand how anyone can cycle in the wet when the brakes don’t work!), I really am going to have to make the effort – for purse & waistline!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...