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 26, 2013

The Annual Show - and Courgettes

We had a fabulous time at the centenery Hill Annual Show a couple of weeks ago!

What helps in the enjoyment for me, is my new relaxed attitude to the whole show bench thing.  Before now, in an effort to get everything in as fresh as possible, I've been on the plot on the Sunday morning picking everything in sight, then zooming home frantically trying to find 7 matching runner beans from the 500 or so that are in a massive heap on the worktop, in the space of a couple of hours before racing back to display everything.

Well, not this year!  The strategy was to leave everything alone on the plot in the week prior to the show (er - except courgettes.  I think we all know what happens if we leave courgette plants to their own devices for a hot sunny week in August), then strip the plot like a plague of locusts on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday evening is spent playing a giant game of vegetable snap, trying to match up the required number of as near identical items as possible in each class, all ready for Sunday when the lucky contenders are all taken to be put on display.

The week before is not idle, though - cakes are made, jellies and chutneys and pickles all sorted out and labelled up.


The day itself was a huge hit - the sun shone, the site looked fabulous with scarecrows and bunting and balloons; big sister Helen was up for the weekend and brought mum over with their cake entries.......

.........the band played; the judges were fair; the barbecue was delicious............

........as was the '100' cake which was enjoyed by all at the end of the afternoon.......

Helen did well with her fruit cake - beating Chris from down the bottom into second, and me into third.  No gongs for mum's sponge cake, or my redcurrant jelly, beetroot, choc/beetroot cake or pickle - but there's always next year!

My veg did better than my domestic entries this year - my crowning glory was a second in the prestigious 'class 1 - collection of veg' - beating the the fabulously successful Jason in the process.  Annoyingly, I have no photo of my entry.

I did well with Rhubarb, courgettes and won the 'odd shaped veg' class!

Everything was packed up after the prizegiving and raffle, and then back to mum's for our annual share out of the goodies!  A great weekend!

Oh - and the courgettes? 63 and counting from two-plants-and-a-runty-one.  Hard to believe that last year, I had no choice of courgettes to enter, just the first three courgettes to grow.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Three Cheers for Rhubarb Brian!

I've had an instance of why allomenteers can be really nice people this week - but I'm getting ahead of myself.

From a very slow start in Spring - how many times have I had the discussion with other gardeners confidently asserting that yes, we are a good four weeks behind where we should be - it is turning out to be a belter of a Summer!

The very hot and dry weather continued until broken by some really good thunderstorms a week or so ago, and now we have warm days with some sun and some rain.

The plot is loving it, and I have been picking courgettes (61 to date from two plants and a runty one), runner beans, french beans, raspberries and red and blackcurrants.  I've lifted the garlic, and the first and second early potatoes.

A slight disappointment was the peas - the pea moth played fast and loose, and many of the pods were infested with maggots. Yuk.

I pruned the current bushes, re-claiming the netting that they had grown though and picked the berries off them at the same time - I have about 5lb of fruit in the freezer, as well as having made some redcurrant jelly.

In our scarecrow competition, my Grumpy George came second to Lady Muck - a worthy winner - and it has been a lot of fun seeing the scarecrows presiding over their plots!

It's the Allotment Annual Show this weekend, and I've spent some time in contemplation of what to enter.  I've been baking too, so I'll have some entries for the domestic classes.

The Show will be our Centenary, and there will be music and a barbecue too.  Of course big sister Helen will be up for the weekend to come and join the party - but if her fruitcake beats mine, I will be most upset!

And finally, a great round of applause for Rhubarb Brian - not only did he casually ask me if I wanted some surplus woodchippings for my plot, but he also delivered them and popped them in piles all along my paths - what a superstar!

Thank you Rhubarb Brian!
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