Posts Tagged ‘WORD-right’

Where, oh where can they be?

July 20, 2011

Lost:

  • One packet of peas seeds (500) Onward variety
  • One pair of gardening gloves (cheap, nasty, pink & yellow [YUK] worn once)
  • One rather jazzy lime green hand fork

As you might have guessed, we have spent a fair bit of time looking for the missing items.  In desperation, we ordered more pea seeds and have given up the gloves and fork as a lost cause.  A big tribute to seed merchants Edwin Tucker, for the speedy delivery of replacement seeds which arrived today.  All we need now is to buy new gloves and another fork … and all will no doubt turn up.

It’s quite challenging to write a regular weekly post when all one does is weed and pick.  But here goes …

Self-seeded viola

Look what I found hiding in the beetroot!

This weekend’s weather was not ideal for allotments.  With a wary eye on the weather forecast, we opted to bunk off work on Friday afternoon in favour of getting some weeding done.  In our defence, we did work over the rainy weekend instead.

Our main objective was to remove the broad beans, consign them to the compost bin and plant the next wave of peas.  Needless to say this went awry when we couldn’t find the peas!  However, the bed has been cleared, the new pea supports installed and is ready to go.

Large broccoli head grown on the allotment

My final broccoli brag

Everything is in full production now up on the allotment.  The courgettes, which were slow to start, are galloping away, and we are now planning some broccoli and blue cheese soup to use up the glut.  Our first cauliflowers are probably about a week from maturity and all the beans are covered in flowers.  I do enjoy this time of year!

While it is fantastic to grow your own veg, I always under-estimate how long it takes to actually harvest the stuff!  The perpetual spinach alone takes around 30 minutes to pick.  This means longer days on the allotment and frequent mid-week trips to keep the WORD-right kitchen supplied with fresh vegetables.

We have been told recently (from two sources) about freezing veg without blanching.  Runner beans, or so we are told, are better being frozen from raw.  I’m not convinced, so have decided to conduct my own experiment.  The runners aren’t ready yet, but I have put one broccoli floret in the freezer ‘au nature’.  I’ll keep you posted about the results.

Coming up soon on the allotment chore list is a new felt covering for the shed roof.  When it rains, it leaks like a sieve and the old kitchen worktop floor is starting to collapse.  Also on the agenda is a sort out of the shed which will no doubt reveal an empty pea seed packet.  If they were left there by mistake, I imagine our mice and voles will have had a midnight feast!  Perhaps that is where they went.  I wonder if they made off with the fork and gloves too?

But as you can see from the picture below, we have the search party on the case!

Helicopter over Chipping Norton allotments

Helicopter over Chipping Norton allotments

5 September – Thwarted by carrot fly … again!

September 7, 2009

It was a very busy weekend for the WORD-right team.  We reached Sunday evening feeling more than a bit weary, but satisfied with everything we’d achieved.

Prize-winning vegetables at the Moreton Show

Prize-winning vegetables at the Moreton Show

Saturday morning started with a trip to the Moreton in Marsh show.  It’s several years since we attended and as usual, it was an interesting morning out.  Wearing our allotment hats, we were looking forward to seeing the vegetable section.  While the size of some of these giant vegetables makes me lost in admiration, I’m not sure if growing them would ever appeal to me.  Rumour has it that these king-size veg lack flavour, but we’ve never put it to the test.  I think for us, it will continue to be a source of entertainment rather than a mission in life.

Dexter cattle at the Moreton Show

Dexter cattle at the Moreton Show

Having left home early to visit the show and avoid the crowds, we were able to retreat to the peace and quiet of our allotment for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  One of our missions was to dig up the bulk of our carrots.  Last year we left them in too long and the carrot fly damage, despite the companion planting, was severe.

This year, having done some extensive research, we decided to create a barrier.  Carrot flies fly low to the ground and, by erecting a screen round the bed, it seems they can be thwarted.  However, we were a little late in constructing the mesh barrier and we’ve suffered because of it.  But because our allotment borders onto a hedgerow which is higher than the plot, it might be that the infernal carrot fly were able to use this a launch pad and effect an entry.  Who knows?  But next year, we will keep our carrot patch well away from the hedgerow, erect the screen earlier, and perhaps try a combination of barrier and companion planting.  I’m coming down in favour of planting coriander around the carrots … working on the assumption it’s one of the smelliest plants of all time … it might just do the trick!

Hungry Gap kale waiting to be thinned out

Hungry Gap kale waiting to be thinned out

Sunday morning saw us back up on the allotment, this time for a spot of overdue maintenance.  The peas, which haven’t done well this year, had to come down and the first of our winter salad leaves were ready to be planted.  These have been started off in the garden and have grown beautifully.  Our Hungry Gap kale, grown in situ, had to be thinned and also transplanted.  None of the salad or the kale looked impressed with the disturbance, so we can only hope being well watered helps them overcome the shock.  Only time will tell.

One of the attractions on our allotment (William Fowler Allotment Trust), is the damson tree which grows in our hedgerow.  We had hoped for a good crop this year, but sadly they are few and far between.  Our plum

Damsons in the hedgerow

Damsons in the hedgerow

tree in the garden suffered the same fate.  It is normally laden with fruit, but this year’s crop has been disappointing.  Perhaps we need to brush up on our fruit growing techniques to ensure better yields next year.  But if nothing else, we’ll be able to make another batch of damson gin, surely one of the best fruit ‘liqueurs’ of all.


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