Monday 30 July 2012

Sun, Rain, weeds and laundry.

Well it seems like an age since I last got sat down and caught up with everyone's blogs and wrote a post and yet in reality (after I had been and checked!) it has only been a week...mind you it has been a particularly hectic week!!

Work has been frantic getting everything sorted and my Hubby was off work last week so we wanted to fit a few things in that we wouldn't normally get chance to do. On top of that Summer finally visited the U.K. so of course we had to get a barbeque fitted in somewhere with family and friends.

So after all that I now have time off work and I have been trying to get on top of housework, (that bit doesn't seem to be going so well) catch up on my favourite blogs and also write a may be a bit of a rambling post but I promise to throw in some random pictures to break it up a bit!!

Oh and the Olympics started...I know all of my readers can be watching what I watch on that one...are any of you interested?? I'm not much of a sports fan but I have been avidly watching the gymnastics and I have to say I have been quite impressed with what I have seen in the qualifying rounds so far. U.S.A. are very strong and steady on all apparatus....Australia had some wonderful floor exercises and our very own Beth Tweddle (sorry if the spelling is wrong) was phenomenal on the a-symmetric bars!! China don't seem as on the ball this year as they usually are but none the less have pulled off some great have all of the other countries and I'm looking forward to the main event. Unfortunately I missed the mens qualifying rounds but I will be watching the main event.

Ok..let's talk a little about the weather. As is the custom for England we went from cold and wet to VERY hot and dry in 24 hours which baked the top of the ground and made it very hard work to dig. Lots of people walked around looking like the beetroot that I have failed to grow this year but on the plus side it has slowed the weeds down a bit. Unfortunately the intensity of the heat have made working on the allotment just as difficult and no rain for over a week has drain my water barrels somewhat to water the tubs and the greenhouses. Although the ground is dry and cracked on top just a little below the surface it is still very wet and this is helping the plants to grow along with the much needed sun.

Right now though the temperatures have dropped again and a huge bank of black clouds is rolling in from the sheets are on the line...oops....gotta run for a minute...I hear the rain........ok I'm back...did you miss me?? Well the washing needs a good spin again now and I'm a little soggy...but wouldn't you know it, the sun is out again though the sky is still heavily laden with blck clouds so I guess I will be turning the house into a chinese laundry yet again.

Enough moaning....let's look at a photo......

weeds, allotments, brassicas
Some of my allotment had become a bit of a jungle and this is what I have been clearing over the last couple of doesn't look like this now but what was so amazing was........

brassicas among the weeds.
The fact that despite all those weeds some brassicas have done surprisingly well amongst them, maybe because they were shielded so well from would be predators...maybe I should keep the weeds more often?? No...don't think I could stand it...besides which I think I would get sent some letters from myself seeing as how I'm on the

My allotment is, (for the moment anyway) weed free and looking very tidy...hopefully I will get down there this week with the camera to get you some more up to date photos.

I have also started to harvest crops..mostly beans in varying forms but I am just happy to be harvesting at long last!!

runner beans, broad beans, french beans
This was my very first harvest of runner beans, broad beans and French beans...I have also harvest some courgettes since then. It's nice to be getting something other than fruit.

I have also started digging up the new potatoes, as you may remember I have tried several varieties this year in order to find one that I am totally happy far we have tried three and when we have tried them all I will write a post about them and what we thought of them. However I have found this on a few...

split potatoes
Splits in them. This of course hasn't affected the potatoes and I can only presume that the potatoes swelled quickly due to the wet weather and so caused these splits. Made them a little more difficult to clean for the pot than usual and some varieties have been affected more than others..anyone else had this happen?

The other thing I have managed to harvest is the this I was a little worried about as it was delivered late so I didn't get it in the ground before Christmas like a usually do.

rust spots on garlic
I found this on my garlic leaves which I believe to be rust spots so I pulled it up a little earlier than I would have done otherwise as all of the tops hadn't died off.

garlic tops
This is the tops off the garlic...all collected up and ready for the bin as I didn't want to risk composting it with that rust spot on...please let me know if you know more about this and whether composting would have been OK.
Garlic dug fresh from the ground
And this is the harvested garlic. Bulbs not as big as last year and some don't seem to have split much but it smells and tastes good although it isn't very strong. I have cut off the tops and bottoms and will leave it in the greenhouse for a week before cleaning it up and bringing it home. I then just leave it in a wooden bowl on top of the microwave and use it as and when I want to.
How do you store your garlic?? I have read about plaiting it and making sure you keep the stems long and lots of other tips but I have found this way easy and it doesn't take up much space and keeps it handy. I am just about to finish up the garlic I harvested last year!

We have also got to the time of year where the new queen ants start flying and unfortunately I had a couple of nests in my greenhouse...although they do not harm the plants I certainly stayed out the way whilst they were emerging!!

swarming ants and queen ants
You can see here the ants swarming out before this queen emerges to take flight.
So that is a little of what I have been up to...I do have loads more to tell...but lets face it this isn't getting the house cleaned or the washing finished and so I think maybe I will leave it for another day when I can tell you about the best tool I have ever bought for the allotment...oh and show you my amazing squash plants....and not so amazing beetroot.

Have a good day!!

Monday 23 July 2012



 I thought I would share with you today how all the fruit trees and bushes are doing before are all the fruit has passed us by.
grapevines with grapes
grapevines with grapes

so first off we have the trusty strawberry.
Raspberries caught me a little by surprise as they usually fruit a lot later than this.

green gooseberries
green gooseberries

red gooseberries
red gooseberries






Bramley apple
Bramley apple

elspan apple
elspan apple

conferance pear
conference pear.. only one this year!!



So even though the harvest has been pretty poor this year at least something is liking the weather!!

Saturday 21 July 2012

Weather week 29 and quick allotment visits.

Well it has been a rush over the last couple of weeks and work and life has been hectic so altough I have managed to spend a few hours at the allotment I haven't had time to do any reading or writing.

Today I am rectifying all that and have just caught up woith all my favourite blogs and now I write a very quick post with a few pictures and hopefully tomorrow there woill be a lot more to see.

So the weather hasn't changed much over the last couple of weeks. Last weekend was dry for the most part and I did get a bit of time down the allotment to do some much needed weeding and tidying but then also had to get some time in the garden too.

Today has been warm and sunny and it is giving this for a few days now so I am really hoping to get things under control.

variety of lettuce seedlings

I have spent so much time weeding and tidying I still haven't pricked out the lettuce to there final growing place. Just another thing added to the list.
newly weeded and hoed land
 I spent a long time weeding and hoeing this piece of land. I filled a wheelie bin with weeds and still only found three carrots so have sown some more of them ans also some more turnips. Even my beetroot look sorry for themselves this year and so I have transplanted a few more to the plot...Hopefully they will grow.
flowering squash plants

The surprise squash plants have started to produce some flowers and the sweetcorn seems to be holding it's own if not growing very much.
weedy ground

I will be starting on this side over this weekend...I know it doesn't look too bad in this photo but I have to admit to being a bit picky on which bit I photographed!!
potatoes eaten away

 Any idea what is wrong with this?? I had 5 tubers of this variety and this is the only one left above ground. All the other potatoes are doing fin yet these seem to have succumbed to something...just not sure what. I will try digging them up to see if there is anything under the ground.

Everyone is battling with weeds and probably losing the fight..I am trying to tame the weeds and tidy up as I go along and below is what I managed to get done last weekend. I have done a little more since then but this is just a little taster for now.

Okay...hopefully back tomorrow with some much nicer and tidier photos and I will show you what I have been busy at getting sorted!

Sunday 8 July 2012

And the winner is.......

Liz...over at Loosing the plot. Liz is a new blogger and only recently got her allotment so go over and check out how she's been getting on. Congratulations Liz, send me a comment with details (which of course I won't publish) and I will get your book in the post to you this week!!

The weather has been pretty much the same as always over the weekend and I have been busy at home so got no time down the allotment but I did get time to get my lawns cut and garden tidied up. With all the wet weather the slugs and snails are rife this year so it doesn't look as good as usual with many of the plants being eaten but at least things are growing...Oh and do you remember this....

Rockery remodelling from 16/02/2011

Rockery remodelling from February of last year.

That became this.......

tiered rockery

A lovely tiered rockery with many different plants.

Well this year it's looking like this.....

Summer rockery

It has filled out nicely over the year.

As you can see it has filled out really well over the year, no extra plants have been planted they have just flourished in this wonderful weather we've been having...good to see something enjoying it I suppose. I think by autumn it is going to need a little taming but I am really happy with it and love to see the bees humming around it when the rain eases up and gives them a chance.

Friday 6 July 2012

Friday Forecast....week 27...6/07/12

Well it's fact it's been pouring all day so far with no signs of stopping. Apparently we are going to get a months worth of rain today. It's also still very humid and the skies have forgotten that they are supposed to be blue.

College has finished and the schools break up in a couple of weeks, supposedly for summer break but I have my doubts!!

We have had a couple of let up's in the rain...but the humidity hasn't let up at all over the past week and it makes it very unpleasant.

Flood warnings have been given up and down the country so I hope everyone stays safe.

Fed up with the weather....maybe we will get a summer for Christmas?!?!