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!!


  1. Hi Tanya,
    What a lovely find with those brassicas, I felt the same when I found my Tree Peonies this spring. As for the rust on garlic I think a lot of people are suffering from it this year, and the bulbs aren't splitting. I din't grow garlic this year (too late) but I normally pickle mine in white vinegar (stores very well). All my white potatoes were fine (except the few I put my fork through). Oh and don't talk to me about ants, I've got so many red ants everywhere. Got bitten everywhere today (on my bum too).

    1. I just hope the brassicas hold up as well now they are open to the elements.

      I have never tried pickling garlic so I may look into this further.

      Not all of the potatoes have done this...and they tasted just fine so I'm not too bothered about it.

      I get a really bad reaction to ant bites so avoid them wherever possible...they do have a way of getting everywhere though...guess that's where the saying 'ants in your pants' came from to describe fidgety children!!

  2. I'm way behind on pretty much everything lately. Glad to hear you got a bit of summer finally.
    I've never been able to get in to watching the olympics. just not my thing I guess

    1. I'm not a sports lover...just gymnastics and it is about the only time it is ever televised so it is the one thing I like bout the Olympics!!

  3. I had a nasty experience with just one ant finding its way up my trouser leg which I don't want to repeat.

    As for composting rusty garlic leaves some say you can and other that you can't - typical of gardening.
    No runners for us yet - just flowers.

    1. Tuck your trousers in your socks don't look very elegant but it works!!

      In that case I won't compost it...better to be safe than sorry.

      At least you know that you will get some beans then!

    2. The trouble was it was a day out, I wasn't gardening and I wasn't expecting to come into contact with crawlies.

      I have been known to tie trousers brottoms up with string (on the plot of courses)

  4. PS - Trying to avoid anything Olympic related I'm afraid!

  5. I enjoyed the olympics when I was a kid, but haven't been interested in years. I've never seen ants do that - fascinating. Hooray for the beans! Looks like a good harvest. Do you store any or eat them all?

    1. I remember watching many ants nests swarm whilst growing up...the worker ants come out first to look for predators. If it's clear they go back to inform the queen ants they can fly. If they don't come back then I guess it's because something ate them so the queens don't emerge.Pesky things but very good at working together and they don keep the soil nice and loose.

  6. my kids are glued to the Olympics...and cannot decide if they should look at the tweets or wait till prime time here for the results....
    we too are loving our harvest this yr...i think we eat tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and zucchini in some way for 2 meals a day...noone is tired of it yet!! never grew garlic..

    1. I guess the only good thing about the Olympics being in your own country is you get the results as they happen so you don't get to find things out before you have managed to watch the event. I'm not glued to it but I get to know all that's going on from my dad!!

      Garlic is easy to grow...if you like it then give it a go.

      Can't wait to be able to harvest my tomatoes and cucumbers.

  7. Dear Tanya, It sounds like you are a busy bee!! You do sound happy though and that is good. I am glad you got to fit a barbque in, that sounds like fun.
    I am not a sports fan but I do like watching the Olympics. It is not that exciting for me though because the Olympics are on at night and I already know who won!
    The weather here has really cooled down a lot! I am glad. I am ready for fall. I have tried to squeeze in a little baking while the temperatures are cooler.
    My garden is overgrown here too. It is cooler but the mosquitoes are terrible!
    My tomatoes are still green and I don't know why. I should try making fried green tomatoes. I have heard about this but never tried them.
    Well, I guess I should sign off and let you get to the chores. I have a bit to do myself.
    Blessings dearest. Catherine xo

    1. I like to keep busy...then again I also like to take some time out too. I do try to balance things. But yes I am very happy with my whole life and am always thankful for what I have.

      It's a shame you find you find out the results before you see the event, kind of spoils it really.

      I've never eaten fried green tomatoes or green tomato chutney but if things don't improve soon I may be giving it a try this year as it will be too cold for the fruits to change colour when they form. Maybe the cooler weather is what has slowed down your tomatoes ripening.

  8. my kids are glued to the really is fun!!
    my garden is great tis yr..some yrs better than others....I had rust on day lilies a while back..pulled them and did compost you got me thinking!!!
    we have lots of beans..but oh how yummy!!

    1. Beans are fact anything I grow myself and harvest is great...OK that's not always true but I can pretend we always like it!!

      as for the rust, some say do compost and some say don't. I decided not to just in case.


keep it clean...keep it relevant...I look forward to reading your comments!!