Hot and bothered… but loving it

Mixed allotment vegetablesMost things are a little small and stunted so far – obviously because of the heatwave. I’d need to be doing two hours watering at the allotment every day to keep up with it. I can’t.

Wow, but this hot weather is stunning. 32C is warm pretty much anywhere, but in the UK it feels like a blast furnace. Two years of rain and 100% cloud cover weakens one’s tolerance for heat.

But please note: I am NOT complaining. Oh no. I’m loving, loving, loving it.

Bring it on. More! More!

Posted on 20th July 2013
Under: Cucurbits, Potatoes, Roots | Comments Off

Late, late, late… and old

courgettesIt’s all late; I’m about three weeks behind with everything because of the shite weather of the last few weeks.

On the plus side, seeds are germinating at double speed in this heat. These courgette seeds appeared only six days after sowing; some kind of record, surely.

I did five hours at the allotment this weekend, and it dawned on me – for the first time in my life – that I’m getting a bit old for this shit.

I know, I know: 43 isn’t ‘old’. But the simple acts of repeatedly kneeling, bending, getting down, getting up (especially getting up)… they’ve started to feel rather harder work than they used to. When it’s 29C.

Anyway, we keep buggering on.

Posted on 27th May 2012
Under: Cucurbits, Summer | 15 Comments »

Mixed allotment produce

mixed allotment produceWhat an miserable summer it’s been. Even September – usually dependably lovely – has let us down this year.

Having said that, the endless rain has given me some astonishing crops. This is just one trugful. I’ve been getting this every week for months.

That’s not to say everything’s been good, of course. Potatoes got blight VERY early and yields suffered accordingly. The corn didn’t like it much, either.

But everything else has gone bananas. I’ve had the best beetroot, onions, courgettes and carrots I can ever remember. The courgettes, in particular, are a menace. I am already a leper to my neighbours – to be avoided at all costs, lest I attempt to foist a courgette upon them.

How did you do this season?

Posted on 11th September 2011
Under: Cucurbits, Roots, Sweetcorn | 6 Comments »

Harvesting in the weeds

mixed allotment produceSo here’s a small selection of vegetables produced on the ‘unacceptably weedy’ Soilman allotment. And there’s a shit load more where they came from.

Weeds there may be, but I’m getting a bumper harvest. In fact, there’s usually a correlation between the amount of weed and the size of my harvest. In a good growing year, you get a lot of weed. Surprise!

I’m over the warning letter now. Have moved from irritation to resignation. If folks insist upon being cunts, there’s not much I can do about it.

huge onionInstead, I’m busy drying my monster onions and preparing for the big potato harvest tomorrow. It’s a month early because we’ve had a major attack of potato blight this year. My maincrop spuds lost the last of their foliage about a fortnight ago – so I’m not expecting a best-ever potato crop.

Still, I’m excited… because a preliminary dig in among the Golden Wonder mounds revealed some monsters. Looks like they’ve done OK, even with blight.

Posted on 20th August 2011
Under: Alliums, Cucurbits, Potatoes, Roots | 11 Comments »

Mixed supper

mixed vegetables from the allotmentQuite a mixed bag tonight. I appear to have grown Britain’s biggest beetroots to go with the exhibition cauliflowers. I may have to make that weird summer salad the Greeks like so much – you know, the one that’s a mixture of cooked and raw veg, purple because of the fresh beetroot. Rather nice.

This is turning into an extraordinary year in the vegetable garden. From a very inauspicious start, I’m getting bumper crops in almost all departments.

The ghastly weather helps, of course. Rain sucks, but it makes fierce vegetables.

Posted on 17th July 2011
Under: Cucurbits, Flowers, Potatoes, Roots | 4 Comments »

Marrows: better late than never

marrowsInteresting to be in full courgette/marrow glut in mid August. Normally cucurbits are beginning to wind down round about now.

My allotment, I’m ashamed to admit, has gone a bit weed-tastic in the last few weeks. I’ve not gone much; went away for a while, then was busy trying to run myself back to some kind of fitness.

Plus I’ve had dental problems.

Dear God, but dentistry’s pricey. Could have bought a small family home in Rochdale for what I’ve spent so far on root canal work. And there’s more to come. After a decade of relative calm, every tooth in my head has spontaneously decided to crack, rot, combust or spit the dummy in one way or another.

So there’s been pain, whingeing, allotment neglect and endless, unbounded expense. Back to normal service in the autumn, I guess.

Posted on 15th August 2010
Under: Cucurbits | 11 Comments »

Back to a land of plenty

Week of growth

Say you missed me. Life was meaningless without me. You’ve white-knuckled your way through my absence, gagging for your hit of Soilman magic… right?

No?

Hey-ho. Too bad, because I’m back from my Spanish holiday and I’m full of beans. Don’t give the tiniest shit what anyone thinks, and am ready to crow about my allotment successes. Sickening, innit?

Here’s the week’s worth of veg that grew while I was away. A few torpedo marrows, but lots of good ones. Plus some sensational corn, carrots and beet. It’s turning into a terrific allotment year.

Posted on 2nd August 2009
Under: Cucurbits, Flowers, Roots, Summer, Sweetcorn | 13 Comments »

A typical basket NOT from Tesco

Peas and courgetteA pretty standard basket of veg picked on the allotment at the moment. Lots of peas, LOTS of courgettes.

I’m always struck by the absurdity of those supermarket TV ads competing for prices on ‘a typical basket’.

Whatever they’re punting, it’s not my idea of a ‘typical basket’, that’s for sure.

Posted on 24th July 2009
Under: Cucurbits, Peas and beans, Summer | 7 Comments »

Waiting for rain

Courgette in potPhew. Had a few days to cool off and come to my senses. Back to normality.

This lack of rain thing is becoming a problem, isn’t it? I know you guys Oop North have had a lot, but down in the SE of the UK it’s dry as a bone. My allotment’s like a desert. Don’t usually see this until July.

Absurdly, I’m writing this under a Met Office weather warning. By the time you read it, I’ll either be ranting anew about inaccurate weather forecasts, or building an Ark in the attic. See you on the high seas.

Posted on 14th May 2009
Under: Cucurbits | 9 Comments »

Sow, weed and heap

pattypan courgettesAt this time of year, the house feels like a farm shop. There are vegetables everywhere.

The pattypan courgettes have gone berserk. We can’t keep up. So the traditional question, “What to do with courgettes?”, is upon us.

The traditional answers – chutney, frittata etc – just make me depressed. Been there, done that.

So sod it. I’m composting the buggers. And I feel totally liberated.

Posted on 11th August 2008
Under: Cucurbits | 7 Comments »