August 2003


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Friday August 1st

Incredibly wet day. Torrential rain, ahead of a forecast heatwave. Excellent. No watering today then!

Sunday August 3rd

Too hot to do much. Got back from Weymouth in a reasonable time (though traffic in the other direction was worse than yesterday…) and flopped, grateful that the house is reasonably cool downstairs. Had to go up and water stuff before Church, but as late as possible to avoid scorching, so went up at 5.45pm. Still too darn hot for me. Took up hosepipe and filled butts and watered everything very very heavily. Picked over the beans and got about 1½ lb of French and about 11oz runners.

Monday August 4th

Another scorcher of a day and so had tea first before going up to water the allotment. Turned out it didn't really need watering as I'd drowned it so much yesterday. However the amount that needed picking was larger than I expected - especially since I needed a cabbage! Gave one to Maggie and received two huge green courgettes back (though not asked for, very gratefully received!). Spent ages picking blackberries (large tubful there) and got about half of the remaining garlic. Cloves are really a bit too small - needed to be planted earlier. Still, not as if I'm going to be short of the stuff! Picked some carrots for the coleslaw and got a very pleasant surprise - a fair few straight, blemish-free carrots!!! Wow!!! Very very pleased. Moved over to dig up some more shallots and I seem to be averaging about 12 per clump on the Toppers and 7-8 on the Jermors. Not bad! Got all but the very last potatoes. Arranged with Chris and Maggie to meet up tomorrow and have a glass or two of wine after watering.

Tuesday August 5th

Walked up to lotties armed with my wine, the watering can and a trug. Must have looked weird. Still, no more than usual! Chucked lots of water on everything at the top end and the cucurbit patch, then went hunting for any that were ready. Got three Eight-ball and a de Nice, a small custard and a huge custard marrow (dunno what happened there! Missed it!). Then found I had runners to pick, and yet more green French. And I thought I wasn't going to have anything to pick tonight! As it grew dark, we opened a bottle of wine and sat around chatting. Roped in Jim and the lady who has the gate plot as well. Opened the second bottle. Discussed ideas for planting, irrigating and where the river Chess goes in the pedestrian area (under the shops in a culvert apparently!). Very pleasant. Not as hot as yesterday though tomorrow is likely to be the worst! With luck the plants will love it and I'll get more stuff to take to Bristol on Thursday.

Wednesday August 6th

Water butt filling again today - at an incredibly slow rate. Chatted to Chris for a bit while waiting for it to fill up enough for me to start watering. Eventually managed to start to drown the beans, and the marrows. Marrow will be big enough by the weekend. Two courgettes ready too. Chucked water about gaily and also drowned the cabbages. Today has been far far too hot. Didn't quite break all records for the hottest day ever recorded but it came darn close. Managed to persuade Chris to water the plot over the weekend, so it should survive! Packed rapidly on return.

Monday August 11th

Back to work and blissful airconditioning after the hottest ever day yesterday. Had to wait till 8pm to go up to the allotment and managed to water everything quite well. Very sad looking marrow plants thanks to the water lack. But nevertheless ended up with a literal trugful. One fullsized green one, three custards (large), two eight-ball (large), one de Nice (not too bad) and two medium yellow marrows. And two courgettes. Ooops. Picked some runner beans too (very floppy - they need water badly too) and realised this last week has dried off the onion tops nicely. Must start to pull them up and leave them to dry further. Preferably in the house garden so they don't walk. Got the first minipops! The main sweetcorn may well not be far off either. Back in the dark, barely able to lift the trug!

Tuesday August 12th

More mass watering. Things looking somewhat better than yesterday, after the good soaking.

Wednesday August 13th

And again, though took the time to shore up the edge of the sweetcorn plot so that the water didn't run away (or the soil for that matter). Picked three tubs of blackberries. Still loads left.

Friday August 15th

Discovered the conservatory had acquired a robin overnight. Tried to evict it before the cat noticed, but didn't quite manage it and cat did an extremely funny target lock from behind the chillis. Cat removed, and robin finally managed to flap to the door and out. Very ragged one – must be in midst of summer moult. Had a feeling it was a robin but it took some looking (especially as it was hiding behind the cucumbers).

Saturday August 16th

Walked out to allots armed with half a bottle of wine, a glass and the watering can. Aimed to drink the wine and transport back some onions after acquiring more mushroom boxes earlier. Partly successful - and unearthed all remaining ripe alliums. Also unearthed a frog. Gave it a pond by upturning the waterbutt lid and filling it with water. The shallots are now piled up under the hard plastic sheet and the onions are in the cold frame. Doesn't look like rain tonight, though. Picked a sweetcorn, took it home and ate it. Fantastic. 


view from the gate in: nearest plots are not yet taken and are full of ground elder



Sunday August 17th

Picked up more of the onions, three sweetcorn cobs and some runner beans. Hope they pick up now it's getting more like the proper temperatures again, as they did dry up a bit. Got given a spaghetti squash by Maggie and a peculiar squash by Chris. Traded her a table dainty, but Maggie had gone by the time I arrived bearing corn on the cob. Hauled it all home, glad I wasn't dragging a cabbage along with it.

Monday August 18th

RAIN!!!!! Only a short, heavy downpour that will not have done much, but it will have at least wet the top layer of earth. Can only hope there will be more.

Tuesday August 19th

Back to being dry, but quite a bit cooler today. Dug out a fleece. Took up two trugs and filled them with sweetcorn (9 of them), blackberries (another three tubs), onions (the last of the maincrop to go into storage), shallots (all the remaining ones) and some more carrots. Had discussion with Chris on stones and carrots - we have both had the idea of digging a trench and filling it with compost and growing the things in that next year. Grow bags ahoy. Froze most of the corn and the berries after eating the two smallest cobs then battled with the crazy carrots for a while.

190803_1 190803_2

latest harvest

Friday August 22nd

Dash up to water everything before shooting off to Cornwall. Picked a few bits and shoved them in the fridge in hope. Too many blackberries.

Wednesday August 27th

Took P and a lot of tubs and picked six of blackberries. Few holes in us, too. I will have fun doing more jam tomorrow, the first jars now having been pretty much eaten. Must get some more sugar though! Also picked the next marrow, laughed at the two oddly shaped ones that are growing and groaned at the number of miniatures that have got away yet again. Butternut squash is doing well - nearly the size of the others I've grown, showing that those weren't a fluke result of it being grown in a pot. Said potted squash has grown yet another one since last week. I should have quite a few to store at this rate. Got given some spuds and traded a cabbage, since I've not actually eaten any others for a few weeks. Picked one anyway.

Thursday August 28th

Oh joy, bliss etc. A whole day of rain - nice, solid rain, not drizzle. Happy happy bounce. No watering tonight…

Saturday August 30th

Nice day again - and with the soil a bit softened up went to finally repair and weed the cabbage beds. The main one now has a net sewn up with garden twine, and is once again caterpillarproof. The other one I have weeded and removed all of the spring cabbages that have been here yonks. One of them was growing a cabbage white caterpillar, which is a good one since the netting was intact on this one… Two of the cabbages are edible. Most of the weeds were dried and had seeded - luckily the plot's got spuds next year so they should get pretty well cleared as they germinate. Cleared the failed chinese cabbages out and realised that the dry clinker-like manure is perfect for scattering in the bed ready for rain. Added a couple of trugsful, and managed to get the netting back in place without too much of a fight. Tidied up the three sagebushes by it and got hundreds of seeds out of the flowers. Didn't do the other three yet, but did find two tiny sagebushes already growing! Must rescue them into pots and shove them in the frame over winter. Maggie commented that the forecast was a possible 3oC tonight so had a mad scramble for the fleece. Only had enough to cover the main marrow bed - decided I already had enough courgettes and so the marrows were best protected. We shall see. Glad I have got all the sweetcorn in now! Touches of ground frost expected in exposed places - yikes! Will have to hunt out more fleece tomorrow either in the shed or get some more from the GC. Picked the dried Berggold bean pods and realised they are now growing more flowers - excellent! More than I can say for the poor runners which really have not liked this incredibly hot and dry summer. Still, have got quite a few despite this. Weeded the leeks and mounded up the surrounding soil so watering is easier. Dunked a couple of cansful on them. Didn't water the courgettes in case they do better if slightly dry.

Now have several cleared beds (and two self-set cabbages or something! Dunno what they are but I'm game for seeing…).


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