Posts Tagged ‘Reuzensuiker mange tout’

Mr Neat & Mr Tidy’s Allotment

June 28, 2011

With hot weather forecast, we were up at our Chipping Norton allotment at 8am on Saturday.  Our uncertain weather conditions meant we were hoping the fog and drizzle would pass, and it certainly did.  By 10am it was sweltering!

David was on strimming duty this week.  The edges of the plot were in dire need of a hair cut.  My mission, as usual for this time of the year, involved the ongoing battle of the weeds.  By the time we went home, our allotment was pristine and did indeed look like an example from a Mr Men storybook.

mange tout

First mange tout of the season

I love this time of year on the allotment.  On the other hand, I don’t enjoy this time of year in the kitchen.  When we’re almost ready to start reaping the benefits, I begrudge having to buy vegetables.  However, soon we will soon be in full production, and this week saw the first of the mange tout arrive on the table.

We are more measured with mange tout sowings than we were before.  Having discovered they are pretty horrible frozen and getting heartily sick of them for breakfast, dinner and tea, we now have successive sowings throughout the season.  Reuzensuiker mange tout are prolific croppers!

Young calabrese

Baby calabrese

Our biggest highlight this weekend was the discovery of baby calabrese heads.  We are not good at calabrese!  They generally get to the size of ping-pong balls and start to go to seed.  Of course we’ve experienced this excitement before (several times), but never fail to be filled with optimism at this time of year.  If you are a calabrese guru, please leave a comment if you have any idea what we might be doing wrong!

The first Bunyard Exhibition broad beans and Onward peas are expected to deliver next weekend, and our Greyhound cabbage are forming hearts.  The perpetual spinach is growing like mad, and we have more lettuce than two people and dog can manage.  And of course, the dog of course isn’t big on salad anyway!  So in a couple of weeks I’m expecting to be allotment and kitchen happy.

Don’t forget the calabrese advice – we badly need it.

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Pigeons accused of GBH (Grievous Brassica Harm)

June 13, 2010
Pigeon damage

Cursed pigeons!

A quick trip to the allotment on Thursday was well-timed.  The cursed pigeons had breached the defences and again savaged the brassica.  As well as devastating some spring greens, our young cabbage and cauliflowers were also ripped to shreds.  Fortunately, the young plants still have their centre leaves and will recover, albeit slowly.

We had no problem with birds in our first year of allotmenteering, which lulled us into a false sense of security.  Now it is a constant battle of wits!  Not only do they feast on the brassica, but they also seem to be very partial to peas.  Now 9 beds of 13 are netted and the allotment resembles a high security prison!  Surely the time will come when we do actually manage to keep those pesky birds at bay?

Bird Scarer

Venetian blind bird scarer

We’ve invested in yet more netting to make sure the barriers are impenetrable, and David’s latest bird-scaring device is in place.  The CDs on strings don’t seem to do much, last year’s replica buzzards kept breaking off and spent more time on the ground than in the air … but this year … I think he’s cracked it!

My husband belongs to the ‘that will come in handy one day’ brigade. And the left-over slats from 2004’s silver Venetian blinds finally have come in useful!  And there are plenty left to add another device at the other end of the plot.  You can see them in action here.

Weeding and planting

Considering I thought there would be nothing much to do on the allotment this week, I somehow managed to spend 3½ hours weeding!  And the Cosse Violette French beans were planted and the last 2 courgettes.  All that remains to go in before we have a full house, is some more cauliflower and winter cabbage, and a few more leeks.  So for another week, the plot is looking loved and cared for.

The mange tout fest has begun

Kojak courgettes

Our first courgette!

Much to our surprise, we discovered we had some mange tout ready to pick.  With only 7 to start with, they have a way to go.  We know from experience the Reuzensuiker variety is very prolific, so it will soon be mange tout for every meal.

The first courgette (although still tiny) has formed and the broad beans are doing nicely.  When we heard our Surrey allotment buddy had already picked some broad beans, we were a bit envious, but the weather here in Chipping Norton is considerably cooler and it does make a difference.  At least that’s our excuse!

I finally forced myself to thin out the Swedes … always a heart breaking job.  How I hate pulling out perfectly

Bunyard Exhibition Broad Beans

Bunyard Broad Beans

healthy plants which have survived all the odds.  It seems a dreadful waste to me!

Now … what will we find to do next week on the allotment, or has it all been done?


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