Wednesday 26 August 2015

A rant and calming pretty pictures

Today is La Tomatina in Valencia, Spain and, as with every year, I feel my heart breaking at the wastage of all those beautiful red tomatoes in a world were we had an aphid apocalypse in our greenhouse and too many people are truly starving to death or have illnesses like scurvy.

Yep, I'm a spoil sport and I hope everyone who takes part in the festivities today gets hit - whack bang!, in the bum at least once. Damn it.

Deep breath

So I've been ill again for a while and to be honest I still am and the exhaustion accompanying it has had me sleeping whole days away. For you though, I have imbibed much coffee and here we go with a calming post of all those photos I just haven't got around to sharing; I'm also hoping that this will wake up my resolve to get the lottie and use my new Fiskers SmartFit pruners and bring some more flowers home ..... I also have a new book to review on flower arranging crafts so...

forget-me-not ~ '' - an allotment blog
mushroom ~ '' - an allotment blog
climbing french beans - '' - an allotment blog
climbing french beans

blackberries! - '' - an allotment blog
Blackberry bush is covered in fruits = fingers crossed; it's us against the birds!
perfect white cosmos - '' - an allotment blog
White Cosmos - I love them so
mangetout - '' - an allotment blog
last handful of mangetout
allotment cut flowers - '' - an allotment blog
white cosmos, white dahlia, yellow dahlia, pink rose, yellow poppies, red poppies
ittle red peppers - '' - an allotment blog
little red peppers (some have dried tomato flowers petals on them)
Right, I did it, I wrote a wee post and now the whole idea isn't so daunting! I shall be back soon with more photos (I hope to go to the plots this evening) and reviews :)

Much love

Thursday 13 August 2015

All about those Bs

In good old fashioned 'Sesame Street' style, this post is brought to you with by the letter B....

All I am about to tell you what happened on Saturday, a rare day in my life when I was able to cope and more than that, actually enjoy being at the plots!

This year, (as it is for everyone on our allotments) hasn't been going too well; we have been plagued by birds and the weather has been terrible. Thus it was that I found myself, on arrival, pulling out all our diseased and pigeon decimated broad beans. They were still in the flush of fruiting, some had flowers still to mature, but we had to say goodbye, even to the baby successional ones planted in a wee triangle further along the bed.

broad beans - '' ~ an allotment blog

Beside them, the mangetout are starting to look in a bad state too, though there is plenty of flowers and pods on them. The birds have been nipping off the tops of each plant and every growing tip, they've been tugging at them hard too as quite a few plants were barely in the soil at all and had started to crisp up and crumble away from the bottom up. It really could get you down but I wasn't having any of that.

mangetout - '' ~ an allotment blog

Pretty much all and I mean all (we had about 6 berries left) of our gorgeous blackcurrants were gone on Saturday. Only a day, one blasted night, after the bush had been full and gloriously bursting. Boy was I looking forward to a dark, juicy harvest only to have it snatched away from me by - you guessed it, the bloody birds. They ate every ripe one and took those on the verge of perfection and ripped them off and left them on the ground :( Such sad times.
blackcurrants, gone - '' ~ an allotment blog

I weeded wildly, fuelled by my annoyance for a while but soon calmed down. Andrew was off again to Gleno village for more wood - by goodness there was a netted fruit cage to be built this day! Damnation - thou shall not pilfer our blueberries! *shakes fist at sky*

beautiful blueberries - '' ~ an allotment blog
the fruit cage has been working!
But, I mean look  - bird beaks have gotten to our Kale and the Pak Choi. Plus the Kohl Rabi  and PSB looks so sad. At this rate we would seriously need to consider netting our whole plot; one great big fruit cage!

sad Kale and Pak Choi - '' ~ an allotment blog

So I turned my back and focused my attention on the beetroot, which amazingly Andrew had forgotten about. But then he has been doing everything else and was on Saturday building us a lovely gravelled parterre path on 14b. We really wanted a big tonne bag of the stuff but had to be happy with some smaller bags as the deliveries were over for the day at the depot. However he did a fabulous job.

Andrew's parterre paths - '' ~ an allotment blog

Plus the Blackberries or as I like to call them Bramble berries are fruiting like crazy over there, it really does the heart good to see that one bush so big and healthy this year when so much else is a little disappointing.

Blackberries ripening - '' ~ an allotment blog

Anyway, back to the beetroot, both yellow and red varieties had been sown direct and forgotten about so I thinned them all out, put the really tiny ones straight into the compost and the rest into our harvest bags. Oh did we have a feast! Now the rest will have more room to grow and become big and beautiful.

yellow and red beetroot thinnings - '' ~ an allotment blog

Lastly, I missed my own Blog Birthday. It was on Monday and it passed me by in a whirlwind. So happy belated 7th blogiversary to me - yay! I must remember to eat cake at some time :)

More photos to come from that day and some from Sunday too when Andrew made a quick visit :)
Love and Hugs

Friday 7 August 2015

you say tomato..

If you remember, this is first year we have had a proper little lean-to greenhouse and it's been fabulous. One day we will get a standard sized one (I promise Andrew) but until then, it is amazing the amount of produce you can get from two tomato plants in the right heat and one pepper. Here is a photo of our, I think 3rd little haul from the toms so far and there are many, many more to come. These are Tumbler tomatoes for a change, we usually only grow Gardener's Delight.

little tomatoes - '' ~ an allotment blog

See now, I have actually come outside with my camera to prove to you that these plants are bonkers full of new fruits and really that's just a flavour, a couple of close ups :) Can you tell I'm pleased?
tomato plants- '' ~ an allotment blog

There is also a pepper plant out there, I don't know the variety, I think Andrew rescued it from certain death one day in a nursery. Well that's what my brain is telling me anyway. As far as I can recollect (my memory isn't great today) this is the first successful pepper plant we have had and it sure beats last year's disastrous chili plant attempt - oh the aphids, oh the inhumanity of it all...

We haven't picked any yet as they're still small but they sure look good and so shiny :)

Just whilst I'm on the title of 'you say tomato', I ought to show you the potatoes/potatoes before I 'just call the whole thing off' and go for a nap. 

These are either Sharps' express or Pentland javelin - okay, it's official I suck at remembering things! - but they are great looking and every one is edible. To think back in April we thought we'd never get any planted with the weather so bad, but there's been as good a haul as any year previously :) However not a single plant flowered and I do love me a potato flower photo :(

lifting the last potatoes - '' ~ an allotment blog

So, there we are, just a little more boasting about the things that have gone well, to keep this blog and this summer from sounding like an awful season.

Hugs and Love

Thursday 6 August 2015

harvest time on the allotment

This is a mostly very enjoyable post with much to be pleased about and a fabulous dinner for Andrew and me at the end of it. It's all about the harvest bag he brought home from the plots on Saturday.

Summer harvest - '' ~ An allotment blog

Let's get one point cleared up and put behind us right at the outset. The carrots had carrot fly (I didn't know about this) and when lifted they had carrot fly larvae in them. Oh gross, how disgusting to watch them try to flee their host and to think, it was happening in my kitchen, on my draining board! I have a graphic photo I am going to share in the interests of science, be warned...

Carrot fly larvae- '' ~ An allotment blog

Can you see that in the carrot behind there are 2 more larvae coming out, the longer we watched the more emerged from all the carrot harvest and they were very quickly dumped in the bin - by Andrew, I couldn't touch them.

* We planted a variety called 'fly away' which are meant to provide carrot fly resistance and it did work for a few weeks but then this. We will be doing everything next year, all the tips and companion planting possible - I love me a carrot and so does Maggie.

On with the rest of the harvest. The yellow beetroot, ugly even after a good scrub, but super tasty..
yellow beetroot - '' ~ An allotment blog
I love the beetroot 'dye' that comes out and disperses into the water after scrubbing with our Mr Carrot brush.

The kale is still going, though not for much longer, which is really sad as I love it and it seems to be one of the best foods for you too, if you believe the hype around it. Superfoods, why must there always be something in fashion - good food grown organically and picked at the right time is always going to the best there is for you!

Kale - '' ~ An allotment blog

Not a thing wrong with the beautiful newer harvests of scallions, mangetout and green garlic, long may we eat these glorious fresh veg. For a summer snack, mangetout dipped in hummus is a tasty and much healthier nibble than crisps any day! Plus the garlic is drying in the shed so we'll have it for months :)

Scallions, mangetout and garlic - '' ~ An allotment blog

Our pak choi is coming to an end now, only one left and yes they all had little holes caused by flea beetle but that's harmless enough.
Pak choi and all the other veg - '' ~ An allotment blog

Then is was time for a stir fry with added chicken and rice (which we can't grow on our plots). YUM.

Goodness I started writing this post way back on Monday but I've been going through one of my sleepy periods where I sleep nearly all day and night. Getting back to normal now though (in time for more action on the plots this weekend!) and have so much still to share and blogs to read... Plus it's going to be my blogiversary on the 10th - I can't believe it 7 years!

Hugs and love

Sunday 2 August 2015

I weep to no avail....

I am cloaked in hysteria, saddled with despair.   My apple is gone.

Look do you see it in this photo?

bare red goosberry bushes - ''

No.  All because some greedy little bugger of a bird ate the most of it and left the rest on the ground. He (I am sure it was a he) didn't even do my prized Ecklinville the decency of being savoured at all; he didn't take it home and make a miniature French style 'tarte tatin', so carefully, without wasting a juicy morsel. That was my dream.

Ecklinville apple - ''
memories of my apple
I eye each bird now with suspicion, any one of them could be my nemesis. Damn them all - I shake my fist at the sky. Why?? You heartless winged demon!

We did have 2 gloriously bountiful red gooseberry bushes but the birds took those too. every. last. one.

And last, but not least, my ornithology related tears continue to fall as I gaze upon the mangetouts. Is nothing sacred? The tops are all nibbled away despite Andrew stringing up some mildly annoying pots and bottles to deter such villainy.

bird pecked mangetout plants - ''

I must rest now. Happier news shall come soon...