August 2005


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Wednesday August 3rd
Popped up after work with the strimmer and some new line. Whizzed the whole grassed area of my plots, some of which was extra long thanks to the line running out part-way last time. But it looks rather better now. Stuck the hose into a water butt and got watering. Did pretty much everything (including tipping a watering can over my feet which definitely didnīt appreciate it!) though managed not to recreate the Miss Wet T-shirt competition for once (helped by pinning the usually errant hose down so it couldnīt flirt up!). The spaghetti squash look rather like very pale green normal marrows - donīt know if theyīve cross pollinated with a normal one but Iīm not sure when to pick anyway. Shall ask Maggie tomorrow. The transplanted spinach are still very floppy but the central leaves are perking up. Gave them a good drink, as I did the tomatoes. These are looking very good indeed, and Iīm hoping that we donīt get blight for a few weeks so they start to ripen! Or I learn to make green tomato chutney in a hurry... The sweetcorn is now in full flower - the first cobs are swelling rapidly and the tassels turning brown. Gave them a good drink too, as itīs supposed to be helpful when the cobs are growing. The windy conditions mean that the later plants are probably getting well-pollinated. Five more courgettes, one huge. And it definitely wasnīt huge 3 days ago. Got my first decent haul of runner beans - 1lbs.  Also picked a large punnet of blackberries (which are going to work), the remaining redcurrants (with the ones I got from Patsy, I can make more jelly) and some blackcurrants (Ben Connan - supposedly early but still not fully ripe). The Autumn raspberries are now go, and I picked a few of those after wading through the thicket of plants. They are not as leafy below as last year (probably because the canes are taller) and so it was relatively easy to see where to put my feet. Iīd forgotten how squashy the berries are: perfect jelly making material but not much good for eating. Watered the sweet peas well, cut my first white gladiolus and staggered home with lots of produce.

Thursday August 4th
Up on foot with a bottle of sparkling wine. After dashing about to water stuff and picking yet more courgettes, sat down with Chris and Maggie and chatted about bats, drawing in of nights and all sorts. And it started to rain. By the time I was home it was quite heavy and it rained most of the night, typically.

Saturday August 6th
Chilli Fiesta at West Dean Gardens, so now have a couple more plants and a load of seed for next year. Bit crowded though, so left early.

Monday August 8th
Up about 6.15pm with every plastic container I could lay my hands on, and spent 2hours filling a lot of them. Two 2l ice cream tubs of blackberries, two takeaway tubs of blackcurrants, a handful of autumn raspberries, yet more courgettes, yet more beans and two whopping marrows. Gave one of the yellow courgettes to Maggie so it didnīt make it home, but the rest are in the pic. First tomato! One of the cream sausages looks yellow rather than pale green so Iīm assuming itīs ready. And found the second row of carrots is much nicer than the first, which forked like crazy. More gladioli and sweet peas. And the ??brassica are definitely cauliflowers as a couple of them are visible (and have buttoned... argh!). Least the bought plug plants from Dobies should rescue the day, even though Iīll have to plant in the same rotation area I suspect.


Wednesday August 10th
I canīt believe I only picked the courgettes two days ago - I just got 9 more! Fantastic evening, though I am getting a bit worried about the now huge hole that is under my grass path and which has wasps flying in and out of. The hole is way out of proportion to the size of a wasp - about 3 inches across - so Iīm wondering if thereīs something else in there. Chris suggested a fox had been trying to get at the grubs, which means theyīre braver than me! Tipped a watering canful of water down and it just vanished. Perhaps I need to stick a hose down! Picked more runners (why have I never picked them this young before?) and then dug a few spuds. One Kestrel was absolutely huge. Cleaned off the remaining autumn onions, now drying nicely, and put them in the bucket. Added everything else and two more gladdies and realised it was rather heavy. Gorgeous, clear evening, and wished Iīd got a bottle of wine so we could sit and watch the stars come out.

Monday August 15th
Back home after a long weekend away and despite being tired out of my wits, hauled myself up to the lotties. Just as well I did - I found out that itīs been raining a lot since I left on Thursday and just about everything has shot up. I now have more runner beans than I care to think about, another huge pile of equally huge courgettes (mercifully I got shot of some of them to a newbie) and a pile of large beetroot which I really must remember to boil this time. Add to that the first mini sweetcorn (though the large ones arenīt ready yet) and my first Gartenperle tomato (pinkish!) as well as beans off the climbing poles, Iīm not doing badly. Oh and another 2lbs of brambles. Yikes... Gorgeous evening, so Maggie dashed off home and returned with a bottle of muscadet. Jim gave us both enormous bunches of dahlias, and I got my first red and purple gladdies.

Wednesday August 17th
Didnīt get to lottie till quite late, just about sunset so it was a race to get everything picked etc. Managed the runner beans (another lb) and half the French (mostly yellow) and the courgettes (also mostly yellow) as well as another eight minicorn. More tomatoes turning, so ate a couple more Gartenperle. They are absolutely loaded! The sungellas are turning too, so if the blight stays away for another week (which may be a bit much to hope for with a muggy forecast) then I should be able to get a decent number harvested ripe as against green!
I am collecting green tomato chutney recipes...
Need to pick the brambles again, as they are ripening faster than I can pick them. The autumn rasps keep getting eaten before I get home! Must get the onions up too, though a lot will be too small to do anything other than pickle. Trouble is Iīm away again this weekend so it wonīt be then.

Tuesday August 23rd
Managed to get to the lottie in between days of rain, though even a large Waitrose trolley bag, a rucksack and a carrier didnīt allow me enough room for all the stuff that was waiting! The word BLIMEY! was muttered a lot as I found yet another courgette that had turned into a marrow, or French beans that are trying to take over the universe, or...!
Cut the first cabbage - nice decent solid head. Pulled some carrots to go with it in the coleslaw (the second row of Nantes are a lot better behaved than the first). Picked another icecream tub of blackberries. Shook out the remaining poppy seeds into a tub. Picked over the autumn raspberries. Picked 10 courgettes (and had to leave 4 that were 3/4 of the way to marrowhood). Picked a tub of tomatoes; at last the sungellas are turning, but as yet no more cream sausage. The Gartenperles are definitely pink-red. Picked over the minicorn (some a bit big but still sweet). Picked my first real sweetcorn! Huzzah! Took three home, gave one away. Picked several pounds of runners (some a bit large, but still, theyīre off now), ditto French beans. Suspect I got bitten somewhere along the line despite the repellant. Picked three more huge beetroot. Picked a salsify to see how they were doing (ok). Dug up some more Royal Kidney, Red Duke of York, Ratte and Highland Burgundy Red spuds. Picked a bunch of gladioli. Picked the sweet peas. Decided I needed a pack horse. Lugged it all home somehow and went straight to the neighboursī and donated a heap! Didnīt help much - took hours to sort out, and in the end I just couldnīt face the beans so theyīre awaiting relocation to work.
   The good bit was the sweetcorn. Cooked one for tea and WOW! I canīt believe how gorgeous the tendersweets are - explosions of taste with no tough skins. I wonīt have any difficulty eating this lot... unfortunately for my size!

Sunday August 28th

Arse. (To quote Father Jack)

tomblight1 tomblight2

Kind of put the damper on the SIX marrows, eight courgettes, runners, raspberries (enough for two for tea) blackberries (a squishy bagful), some pink fir apple spuds, a few stunted caulis and two corn on the cob. Left the French beans as they look like theyīve exploded again and I need an hour or two to pick them. Also picked one of the eating apples while I was picking the brambles over - mmm.
Had to use the wheelbarrow to get the marrows to the gate! And thereīs another two proper marrows on the way (as against escaped courgettes).

Monday August 29th
Another huge bag of French beans, the rest of the early spuds (dug up with the old fork and an improvised handle, broom handles wired on!). Also dug the rest of the salad blue and Burgundy red maincrops, as Sir said yesterday in the middle of a very low food miles dinner (Starter: the two corn, main: French beans, blue and Pink Fir potatoes and locally sourced meat, dessert, the raspberries) that heīd like to have them for Christmas dinner. Good job theyīre maincrop! Course I *would* stick a fork tine through the largest one despite being careful (I thought). Still, have enough for a dishful. By that time Iīll have the Sárpo Mira maincrops too. Spuds seem to be OK, still, but Iīm definitely moving to dig up any that have died back to dormancy. Spotted another sungella tomato that had got blight, and itīs spread across to one of the gartenperles too (they were touching). Boo, hiss. Picked a pound of spinach (and this woolly bear!) and another two sweetcorn. And a few runners. Explored a parsnip top and found the root was about 2" in diameter so even if only the first 5" are unforked, thatīs still a decent `snip. Took a walk-round movie of my plots with the digicam, though at 177MB I donīt think it will make it up here!

Went and bought some Bordeaux mixture. HDRA guidelines say permitted if absolutely necessary. If this isnīt necessary, I donīt know what is.


State of the Allotments, 29th August 2005. Thank goodness the bushes have covered up some of the new flats, but we now have overlooks which ought to help prevent vandalism.


Tuesday August 30th
Sprayed the tomatoes in Bordeaux, though had to guess at the quantities and I suspect I put too much on. Better than too little I suppose, though they are now an interesting colour. Had to chop another one down though - the Gartenperle that was looking dodgy is definitely gone. Itīs now in a carrier bag waiting for me to rescue the untouched fruit. Chris appeared as I was digging up onions for pickling - and found that her tomatoes are also going down with the blight. Didnīt really pick anything to take home apart from a few salsify - was more concerned with getting the tomatoes sorted out and the onions above ground, such as they are. Pickling for sure. Too small for anything else! Watered the beans and the courgettes, which means Iīll probably have another explosion of courgette come the weekend. Embarked on the marrow and ginger jam once home. Iīm going to have loads!


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