Archive for July, 2010

Smallest onions in the world

small onionsI cunningly shot these to look bigger than they are. Then I remembered my blog’s mission: ruthless honesty.

So here’s the truth: they’re bloody tiny. Some are barely bigger than the sets I planted back in March. For scale, the wires on the rack are about 4cm apart.

Oddly, though (especially odd given my usual gloomy outlook on these things), I’m strangely nonchalant about this. In fact, it barely registers on my give-a-fuck-o-meter.

Because I have genuinely given up on this season, psychologically speaking.

Posted on 31st July 2010
Under: Alliums | 15 Comments »


Well, it is if you live within the M25. Exceptionally dry.

I spent 80 minutes watering my allotment tonight. Barely reached the roots of anything. Like trying to heat St Paul’s cathedral with a cigarette lighter.

I have no further news.

Posted on 27th July 2010
Under: Rants, Summer | 8 Comments »

Peas be with you, cos I’ve got bugger all

peas in podI stumbled on this photo from last year and breathed a heavy sigh.

I did get a harvest of peas last week, but only enough to feed two concentration camp internees. Or perhaps one anorexic… on a diet.

Mind, I don’t feel so bad about the peas as I do about, say, the lousy onions. Peas are always a bugger to grow well, even in ‘good’ seasons. You’ve got the disgusting pea moth, whatever you do. And in my area, pigeons target pea plants with single-minded ruthlessness.

As I’m fond of saying (this year, at any rate): there’s always next year.

Posted on 20th July 2010
Under: Peas and beans | 14 Comments »

Beetroot. And, er, that’s about it

beetrootLadies and gentlemen, you may be looking at my most successful crop in 2010.

Yes, these humble beetroots are about the only things I’ve grown that I can be proud of this year. And I’m not that proud, frankly.

It’s all OK, though, because I’ve rationalised everything. It’s just a one-off lousy year. Shit happens. Next year, I’ll be drowning in veg again.

Everything’s going to be just fine.


Posted on 18th July 2010
Under: Roots | 8 Comments »

Parsnips: A love affair

Well it’s a funny old year when your best crop is parsnips. For me, this is a first.

Parsnips are always OK – you know, forgettably acceptable. I have germination issues most years, but that’s about the limit of the grief parsnips give. They grow, to a pretty standard size, and I eat them with barely a moment’s thought or gratitude.

All that’s changed in 2010, as the rest of my vegetable plot dies around me. Gone is my blithe indifference, replaced by quivering gratitude for the parsnips’ ploddy, undemanding, stolid performance.

They are the new love of my gardening life.

Posted on 13th July 2010
Under: Roots, Summer | 9 Comments »

Postcard from the edge

Drooping fuschiasYou know what? I feel like giving up.

Didn’t think I’d ever type that, but there it is. I’m like these poor fuschias, wilting and drooping in this sizzling heat.

Even with an hour or more’s watering every evening, I’m barely keeping the allotment alive. Some things – the brassicas, for one – are doomed now, whatever I do: the cauliflowers are already producing those crinkly inner leaves that presage the formation of a useless, tiny, button-headed floret.

It’s all deeply disheartening, and it’s ruining what should – for any average, normal Brit – be a thrilling time: proper summers are rare as rocking horse shit hereabouts.

Instead of lolling about soaking up the rays, though, I’m busting my arse carrying cans of water. And when I’m not actually doing it, I’m dreading it.

So I can see a time in the near future, if this carries on, when I’ll be saying: “Enough already. Fuck it. Que sera, sera.”

I’ll essentially be writing off the plot for 2010. But then, since the asparagus I’ve not harvested so much as a rat’s arse anyway. So what have I lost?

Posted on 9th July 2010
Under: Rants, Summer | 25 Comments »

Downy mildew: NOT just for cool, wet seasons

Downy mildewDowny mildew is a bugger. “A disease of cool, damp seasons,” opines Dr Hessayon, my usual consultant on these matters.

Utter bollocks, sadly (though Hessayon’s rarely wrong). We’re having one of the hottest, driest summers ever – and I’ve still got mildew.

Last year we had one of the wettest summers ever, and I had the best onions I’ve ever grown. Row upon row of flawless whoppers… which stored perfectly. In fact, we’re still eating them.

My theory is that mildew is caused not by damp and cold in summer, but in early Spring. We had dream Spring weather last year, and I reaped the rewards.

Not so 2010, which is turning out to be pretty dire for vegetable growers – at least, round my way. I’ve never had such a lousy crop of almost everything.

How are you doing?

Posted on 7th July 2010
Under: Alliums, Diseases | 14 Comments »

Arty farty spuds

arty potato picture

I just liked this picture. It has absolutely no advisory merit whatsoever, but it came out nicely (by mistake, naturally).

So there.

Posted on 2nd July 2010
Under: Potatoes | 3 Comments »