Friday July 15th
Day off, and too hot to really do much outside, so stayed in and made blackcurrant jam with last year´s frozen berries. Lots of jam. Watered stuff well later on when it was cooler.
Saturday July 16th
Perfect day, so what did I do? Sat inside the conservatory and read the new Harry Potter! Sometimes one just has to relax...
Sunday July 17th
Very fast dash up before a picnic outing to throw some water on the courgettes and beans, and pick anything that looked ready. This was mainly sweet peas and some courgettes. There´s never enough time in July, even for writing diary entries!!!
Tuesday July 19th
Another quick dash up to allotment with the fork to get a load of Royal Kidney spuds for Mum and Dad. Also added some beetroot, a tub of raspberries and the marrow which has indeed got to a reasonable size. Picked a nice bunch of sweet peas, the first carnations and three intensely prickly teasels. These have fallen over rather badly so will need to be staked so I can get at the blackberries, which are going red already...
Saturday July 23rd
Went up in the afternoon with as many plastic containers as I still have this side of the freezer. And it still wasn't really enough! Also took up the strimmer, the hoe and the portable gas stove (with a flask of milk and some tea bags). Initially had a panic as all the drying autumn onions had vanished - then I peeked in the shed and sure enough, Chris had put them out of the way of any rain. Need to dig the rest of them out! Spent the first half hour or so strimming until it ran out of line *again* and then took the tubs and a cuppa over to the blackcurrant by the bramble. Discovered the bramble had also gone a bit mad, and was blocking the path. The teasel cluster was also looking like a cartwheel after it splayed out so decided to tackle those after the currant. Spent an hour picking blackcurrants, and got two more tubsfull. Then put on the gloves, bashed a broom handle into the ground in the centre of the teasels and managed to tie them all up with the broom in the centre in case they go over again. Then bullied the bramble back into the right direction, fastening two new stems together in the centre. Finally I could get into the area, despite the comfrey also needing a chop. Blackberries starting to go ripe. Took the remaining tubs and another cuppa down to the raspberries and picked another load; they are slowing off now (just as well) and I should be able to do some jam now with the squashy ones as I've got a large bagful. Discovered I've got a courgette glut - picked nine of them! Picked a fair few of the red start redcurrants too, but they aren't quite ripe so gave up and parcelled up the bush in its netting again. I shall try again in a couple of weeks or so. Meanwhile, as I've got so many of them from the Jonkheer van Tets bush, I shall turn these with the remainder from last year into redcurrant jelly. Yum. The French beans were next: a silly number of yellow ones (given I only picked them over last Tuesday) and a not-insubstantial number of green, despite the latter being smaller. Still haven't got any soft soap spray - had tried in Focus on the way over but they didn't have any suitable for vegetables. So I still have a lot of blackfly being farmed by the red ants on a couple of the plants. Tempted to put Nippon down the ant nests too. Made another cup of tea and then pulled a trio of beetroot too, so I'm definitely getting into the full season now! Almost as an aside I dug up a shrivelled looking potato, discovered it was a Kestrel and the tubers were huge! So didn't stop there, got some more Royal Kidneys too. Still a few left, but the Ratte early maincrops are now starting to die back so I shall have a dig around there soon for the next lot of waxy salad spuds. Watered the cucurbits (got marrows, a pair of spaghettis and a butternut coming too!) and the beans, hoping that the forecast rain would indeed appear to water everything else.
The Lark sweetcorn has now got tassels and anthers full of pollen so shook the plants and emulated the wind a bit - hopefully this will ensure at least some full cobs! Minipops are as usual still growing taller, so by the time they show their anthers, they won't be able to cross with the Larks. Runners now 4" long and growing happily, and the beans Lee gave me and which aren't dwarf at all are now going up canes at a rate of knots. Soya beans are flowering - teeny weeny purple flowers. Thinned the salsify to 1 every inch - should get intermediate thinnings at some point. Lettuces have totally bolted, but cabbages still getting bigger gradually. Head on biggest is now 2.5" across. Need to weed them a bit! I'm going to put some lettuces in where the garlic was, and sow more carrots and beet in their bed. Picked more sweet peas and carnations, dead-headed the calendula and spotted that the first gladiolus flower spikes are appearing. :-) Did a bit of hoeing but still have a lot to do. Left at a reasonable hour, ie it wasn't going dark!