allotment, Garden blogging, Garden Meme, Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday – 4 August 2018

My Six on Saturday is an allotment update.  The ground is like concrete, I am going daily for about an hour to water and ‘stock take’.  There is little else to do, so I am appeasing myself that I am building up a tan and tightening my biceps carrying heavy watering cans from the trough to the plot.

First an apology I have broken rule 7 of Six on Saturday:

Not too much verbiage. ….it’s easily done, but since there are Six things, and a growing number of Six posts to read in a typical week, consider being a little frugal with the wordcount.

1. Protecting sweetcorn husks

53FDD0D5-C284-4534-9FF4-B6E9E46E5F11The sweetcorn (Northern Extra Sweet) is coming along a treat, despite the strong winds last Sunday.  I have staked them and built up the soil around the base of each plant – there are only 8.   I read that night visiting animals have a panchant for ripe sweetcorn and it’s recommended to protect the husks with large plastic bottles until ready to pick.  Now, I’m not sure if this was a wise thing to do.  I have carefully punched holes in the top so they don’t sweat.  Any thoughts on this?

2. Pumpkin update

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I planted 3 pumpkin plants and have 3 pumpkins,  there is an abundance of female flowers but no more male ones,  I wonder if that is the norm, I don’t needs lots anyway.   The one with the yellow bottom I can’t stand up because the stem is too short, the one at the bottom right of the photo is now on its end so with a bit of luck it will become round in shape.  I’m seeing a lot of posts on FB allotment group pages of pumpkins splitting so fingers crossed mine will be ok.

3. Cauliflower protection 

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This is allotment life on a shoestring.   I had a freebie packet of cauliflower seeds so for a bit of fun I sowed them in pots.  Only 2 came good and because the ground was so hard when they were ready to plant out I put them in a doubled up growbag.  Someone told me an elderly gentlemen on her allotment said they thrive on solid ground, he compacts the soil with a roller and drills thin holes for his plants.  She said his cauliflowers and cabbages are the envy of their plots!   Anyway – my homemade cage.  Despite putting collars around my two precious plants they are still swarming with whitefly.  Rather than buy a cage, or netting, I found an old net curtain I was about to throw away and made my own cage.  It’s a bit rickety but I am hoping it will do the job.

4. Blackberry heaven 

When I took the plot over a number of folks told me that the blackberries were always fabulous and they were not wrong.  Last week I picked a punnet full and decided to make blackberry gin.   There are so many recipes on the Internet but all are roughly the same, however, they vary in the time that the gin is ready from 2 weeks to 3 months and I’m  not sure why or if it matters.  I’m going for 2 weeks in time for my daughter’s birthday.

Ingredients

250g Blackberries

70cl Gin

100g Sugar

Method

1. Put the blackberries in to a 1 litre sterilised bottle or jar

2. Add the sugar

3. Top up with the gin

4. Shake well

5. Store in a dark cupboard and leave for a maximum of three months, shaking the bottle every week or so.

This recipe is courtesy of NicholasJon.

5.  Apples galore

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The little apple tree on my plot would appear to be some type of Pippin.  They are still very small and it could be due to the lack of water. I understand they are usually ready in September so we shall have to wait for a taster session then.   I’ve seen recipes for spiced apple gin 😄😄, so much better than eating every apple from the tree.

6. Baby strawberry plants

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I am wondering if I would do better to put these little strawberry runners into individual pots rather than a new bed.  Any advice please?

If you’ve been a great reader (thank you) and got to the bottom of this post, please now pop over to The Propagator Blog who hosts this weekly meme and has lots of contributors it’s always great to peer over the fence at other peoples gardens.

 

allotment, Garden blogging

Is Frippery Ok on an Allotment?

I had a strange conversation with a passing fellow allotmenteer this morning and am still pondering if she was being derogatory or funny.

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She stopped as she was cycling by, nodded disparagingly at my scarecrow and asked:

Do you think that works?”

I laughed and replied:

I don’t think so but it does work in as much as people stop and talk to me.”

This was received with a bit of a snort so I continued:

“I have always had this fun idea that allotments should have a scarecrow and sunflowers.”

Much to my surprise she said:

“That is a misconceived idea of town folks don’t you think?”

Which she then followed with:

“I grow vegetables.” as she cycled off!

I know I’m only a beginner and this is my first allotment season, but it made me wonder if I do have a misconceived idea.  When I looked around there are lots of vegetables being grown, in particular an abundance of sweet corn, but only about 3 other plots with sunflowers and no other scarecrow that I could see.  What is your take on this?  Should an allotment be a place for a little bit of frippery or should it be taken seriously under the control of the ‘allotment mafia’?

Now that is off my chest, let me share the goodies growing on the allotment today.

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The blackberries are almost ready for picking – there will be some jam cooking soon!

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The sweet corn is coming along just fine, with at least two silky tops of emerging cobs on each plant.

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After a slow start and the first lot of flowers being eaten  I’m delighted with the sugar snap peas, and collecting a good harvesting on each visit.

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I’m gobsmacked with the pumpkins and how fast they grow.  This one has doubled in size since Sunday.  Something had a little nibble but I think it’ll be ok.  It was recommended that I place the pumpkins on stones or slabs to prevent them from rotting, so I found a few large stones lying about the plot and have used them.

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There is a little apple tree on the plot, but I have no idea what variety they are, or whether they are cookers or eaters, but I expect I’ll find that out soon.

I’m happy with what I am doing, although I have made a few rooky errors, having a scarecrow and sunflowers are not one of them!  What do you think?