22 August – Triumph and Tragedy

Cauliflower 'Triomphant'

Cauliflower 'Triomphant'

We’ve finally done it!  After many attempts, at last we’ve grown a proper cauliflower … and it’s perfect in every way.  In 2008, we bought ‘All Year Round’ cauliflower seeds, in the mistaken belief they would actually grow all year round.  Despite successive sowings at different times of the year, they did nothing more than feed the compost bin.  This year we decided to try some other varieties as a last ditch attempt, before giving up cauliflowers as a bad job.

We opted for two varieties: ‘Triomphant’ and the later cropping ‘Patriot’.  The first ‘Triomphant’ are doing very little so far, but they are in the end of a bed close to the hedgerow and we think, struggling for light and nutrients.  The second lot of plants were in a different bed and we found, during a flying mid-week visit to the plot, a perfect cauliflower had appeared!  By Saturday, it was big enough to harvest – after being photographed to death, of course.  The ‘Patriot’ caulis are still very small, having just been in the ground for a few weeks.  We’re hoping they too will reward our patience later in the year.  In the meantime, we’re hoping to have several more cauliflower ‘triomphs’ before the season is finished and ‘Triomphant’ will be firmly on our favourites list.

But our cauliflower euphoria was short lived.  We’ve worked hard to try and attract toads and frogs into our allotment with a tiny pond, a large wood pile, and several ‘wild’ areas to provide a comfortable habitat.  While doing some maintenance, David found a toad which had got tangled in the end of some brassica netting, put up to foil the pigeons.  It had obviously been dead for some time, but our spirits were dampened.  While the net is essential to protect the plants, we’re going to have to review how we use it – our toads are much too precious to suffer such a fate.

Copywriters' Courgettes!

Copywriters' Courgettes!

Time on Chipping Norton’s William Fowler Allotments always seems to fly past.  We leave home saying … we’ll pop up, just for a couple of hours … and before we know it, 4 or 5 hours have elapsed.  At the moment, just picking our produce is a marathon!  With 2 large boxes full of assorted vegetables again this week, our efforts are certainly paying off.  The courgettes as usual are abundant, with 82 picked so far!  We can only hope we (and our friends and neighbours) don’t tire of them just yet, as there are plenty more to come.

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