Friday, 1 July 2011

Allotment competition

The allotment competition is next Tuesday so I thought that I would give it a go and see where my allotment is compared to other allotments in town.  I have no idea what each of the categories mean because there is one for parsnips and my parsnips will not be anywhere near ready by next Tuesday.
Still I decided to tidy up the allotment starting with the top pea and bean bed.  Although there was a five week gap between the first sowing and the last, my peas seem to have caught each other up and they are all producing peas now.  I don't mind at all because I will freeze them anyway but for the competition you need to demonstrate  succession.  I picked the first of them today - 100grams.
The climbing French beans are recovering from the devastation that the slugs and snails wrought.  They are cheerfully climbing up the supports or the netting that I put up for the sweet peas.  Beneath the French beans are a row of courgettes or as the Americans insist on calling them Zucchini. (I only put this in because an American website said the opposite about the English.  Courgette is a French word meaning little marrow - it's not even an English word)   The courgettes are about 5 cm long now so we will be harvesting them soon.  
I hoed up the Brussel sprouts again and removed yellow leaves to tidy them up.  There was very little weed under their canopy so there was no need to hoe.  
The winter cauliflowers are growing well and I removed any yellow leaves and hoed these up as well.  The ones that I planted under the broad beans have not had the opportunity to thrive and look very bedraggled.  Half of the broad beans were taken out and stripped of their pods. This will give the winter cauliflowers more light. I have to show succession of cauliflowers for the competition and these cauliflowers will demonstrate it very well.  
The turnips are just getting to a reasonable size for using in salads.  I tasted one yesterday but in my view it did not taste like a melon at all.  The seed packet said that it would! 
I still need to take the yellow leaves off the brocolli but there is little weed underneath them and they will not need to be hoed particularly.  
The summer cauliflowers were recovered with 1cm netting to keep the cabbage white butterfly off them.  I put some larger plastic water pipes bent into an arc into the ground to keep the netting off the plants.  I cannot stand having cauliflowers with loads of green caterpillars entwined deep within the floret.

Bye the bye it was  time for tea and I took the broad bean pods down to the shed.  While the tea was on the boil, the broad beans were depodded and put into a blue plastic bag.  They taste much better if you use a blue plastic bag.  

I had a good cup of PG tips tea and two or three chocolate hobnob biscuits.  Several pea pods were opened and the contents consumed as an aperitif - or should that be the tea?

I picked a few more pea pods to take home.  The squashes are coming along well and have flower buds on them.  I doubt that I will see any squashes until August though.

I will continue to tidy the allotment tomorrow.  The brassicas just need their yellow leaves removing because they have all formed a canopy that excludes light to the weeds underneath.  This means that there are few weeds if any.
Everyone that goes past seems to get a bunch of sweet peas but I am not too worried because the sweet peas are really flowering well.  They will get a good sorting and watering tomorrow.  I will also pick more of the raspberries or they will go over before I have a chance to eat or freeze them.

It is a horrible thought but I think that potato blight is back with us again.

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