Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Looking forward to the new season

We finally had some snow, a couple of days before Christmas, and the boys made a snowman. Rather an evil looking character I thought...

Christmas day was beautiful, with the snow still fresh and bright sunshine and blue sky, so we went for a walk down to the canal, which was frozen solid.

I did manage to produce some Christmas vegetables after all, although I had to clear away the snow first, locate the position of the parsnips, chip away at the 3 or 4 inches of frozen soil on top, and then it was fairly easy to get the spade in and I managed to unearth 3 good sized parsnips. I also produced the tiny brussels (below left, on the right are the supplementary ones from Sainsburys!) I gave up on the idea of digging up the remaining carrots, or the leeks, as by this time I was both soaked and frozen, and I had already bought some carrots as an insurance policy. The Cara potatoes had stored well and we were able to use them for roasties. Quite a success story on the whole, given the circumstances.

I am now starting to think about next season, and I have just been through my seed stock to see what I need to buy. As it turns out, I don't need much, and I'm hoping to be able to get all or most of it from the local hardware shop. Apart from seed potatoes and onion sets, for which I will go back to the marvellous place I went last year: masses of choice and very cheap.

My big dilemma at the moment is whether or not to 'fess up to the allotment lady that I have moved. If I tell her I am on another waiting list she may not mind me keeping on the old one until the new one comes up. On the other hand, there may be a very strict policy about it, and I might end up with nothing. Tricky.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Getting Festive

We got our Christmas tree yesterday. We've gone for quite a big one this year, it being our first Christmas since we moved, and having such a tiny little one last year on account of being away for most of Christmas. The tiny little one is now in a pot outside the front door, with solar powered fairy lights on it!

I have been strewing greenery here, there and everywhere and fairy lights here and there. (You'll have to use your imagination). Presents have been wrapped, a cake made and regularly and liberally 'fed' with brandy.

The plan is still to supply all the Christmas dinner veg from the allotment, but I can't say I'm much looking forward to harvesting it. We have had the least amount of snow in the whole country by the sounds of it, but it is still extremely cold and the ground will no doubt be frozen, so I should probably have a Plan B.

As I haven't posted for almost a month it seems unlikely I will do so again until after Christmas, so in the meanwhile I do hope all your festivities go merrily and that you will all have a very happy and productive 2011.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Boast Post

I ceremoniously cut open my huge butternut squash at the weekend. It's difficult to guage the scale from the photo but the cafetiere in the background should give an idea. And when I tell you that half of it made a curry and a large pan of soup, while the other half went into the freezer, perhaps you may understand why I am shamelessly bragging about it. While we are on the subject, perhaps you could indulge me in blowing my own trumpet for a bit longer, as I share my pride in my very first ever parsnip...

I know many of you will have seen, and grown much bigger ones than this, but I'm sure you will agree that it is perfectly formed?

But don't worry because I have been brought back down to earth with these exceptionally pitiful celeriac specimens.

I have never yet managed to grow a celeriac bigger than a tennis ball, maybe now is the time to admit defeat. Perhaps I should stick to parsnips from now on instead. Only problem is, nobody in my family really likes parsnips... but then again they're not mad on celeriac either....

Monday, 15 November 2010

Garlic goes in

Here are two bulbs of this year's home grown garlic, which, for the first time ever I have harvested enough to be able to spare some for replanting, which is a very satisfying feeling. They say that if you repeatedly replant your own garlic year on year it gradually adapts perfectly to your soil and microclimate. That would be great, except that I'm still waiting for my new plot in my new location. I found an hour on Saturday to go and plant this garlic, but I have decided not to do overwintering onions this year. Partly because they didn't do very well last year, and partly because I haven't got much space for them in their designated patch because it is still occupied by winter stuff, such as parsnips, celeriac and kale. Neither am I doing broad beans now, I'm going to wait until January/February, after last year's November-planted failures. It's not just that though, I am also very short of time at the moment. I have spent the last two Monday mornings with my son at Walsgrave hospital, after he broke his arm during half term. Monday is one of my non-work days, when I can 'get things done', so needless to say I have not been getting too much done recently, but now I have completed some more decorating, the allotment might just start to get a look-in, before the Christmas rush begins...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Jelly Beans

Not really. Runner beans of course, but they do look so much like sweeties. I've saved these to plant next year. Having grown two types of runner next to each other this year these are probably the result of cross pollination, but I don't think it will matter - I clearly don't have a very discerning palate because as far as I'm concerned runner beans are runner beans.

I haven't been to the plot since before the frost, and now I've got another stint of decorating to do over half term, before I can give any more serious time to the allotment for a while. I left the last of the butternut squashes to see if they would get a bit riper before I picked them, they were all very small, and I covered them all up with leaves to protect them but I doubt if they will be usable now. I did have a couple of sessions last week, and I will probably go up to do a bit of harvesting soon.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The finished cabin

As promised it is! Now I need to landscape around it!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

It's been ages....

We have been so busy lately, the wooden cabin above (to be my husband's office) is the latest in a string of projects. We built this ourselves, from a kit, and we are very proud of ourselves. It is now finished - except for the second coat of paint - I will post a picture of the finished article once that second coat is on. All this has left precious little time for the allotment, but today I managed to spend a whole afternoon on it. I have got so behind with it, the hedge was all overgrown and the weeds down that side were making it almost impassable, so today I have cut back the overhanging branches of the hedge, and cleared the worst of the weeds, nettles and dead borage and marigolds so that I can walk along it unimpeded.

Earlier this week I spent an afternoon weeding the leeks - behind them you can see how lush the green manure (clover and tares) has grown. I don't think I will cut it down, it is not showing any signs of flowering, so I'll probably leave it over the winter and cut it down in spring, and then dig in a few days later.

To the left of the leeks is my strawberry patch. It's a very sorry sight. It is totally overrun with weeds, most worryingly, some kind of perrenial weed which is steadily spreading its way down the plot. I haven't been able to identify this weed but it doesn't really matter what it is, what I need to know is how to get rid of it. It can't be dug out, because you can't pull or dig it up without leaving most of the root behind. Also I would have to dig up everything in the area in order to get it all, that includes not only the strawberry patch, but most of my fruit bushes as well. Secondly, even if I got it all out from my plot, it has also spread a long way down the plot next door, which nobody is cultivating at the moment. And if they were, they would have to dig up all their raspberries to get rid of it. I suspect the only way to get rid of it is to glyphosate the whole patch. And lastly, not knowing exactly how much longer I will have this plot for, (as I am waiting for a plot on a different site) it's hard to know how much time and effort it is worth putting into it. Hmm. It's a conundrum.

That particular problem aside, I have done lots of other tidying/clearing jobs today, resulting in one full dalek compost bin, and a bulging compost bag. There is still an enormous amount to do... there always is isn't there?

Monday, 13 September 2010

Annual Review

I've just been reading last year's review to see how things compare this year. Well there haven't been any particularly noteworthy improvements, but not too many failures either. Overall performance: satisfactory.
Starting with what I would normally grow in the greenhouse, except I am without one at the moment, tomatoes and chillis.
have been a bit disappointing. They haven't had ideal conditions, and have been moved from pillar to post all summer. I should have grown them in bigger pots, and fed them more. Yields quite low. 'Atomic' varieties not atomic at all. Tomatoes all grown outside, Ferline F1 and Legend, both blight resistant, have done well, but one or two are just beginning to show signs of blight. I wish I had labelled them properly, because now I can't remember which are which. Half of them are very short, the rest grew up to the top of the canes. They were the better ones. If I knew which ones they were I would probably stick to them next year.

Summer cabbages were fine until I went on holiday, when I came back they had all exploded. We only managed to eat about four of them. Winter ones doing well. Purple sprouting brocolli- had a huge setback when I was away, from a severe attack of aphids. Ditto Brussells sprouts, which I have never grown before. I have lavished them both with tlc and the ladybirds have really helped with the aphid problem. They have responded well but I think they are behind. I think I can just make out the beginnings of sprouts forming. Kale - never grown it before and I don't think I will bother again. We haven't really been eating it, and it's covered with whitefly now.

Lettuces and spinach both did really well in spring and early summer, but I just don't seem to be able to grow them after midsummer. Next year I will try some in pots in the garden [by which time of course my garden will have been redesigned and redeveloped and will be looking beautiful. At the moment it's a building site]

Carrots have done well, have kept them covered and carrot-fly free. The second sowing I did around June I didn't think had come up, but I can see some of them now. Still quite small though, hope they will grow before winter. Celeriac - haven't had any yet so don't know how big they've got. Somebody told me to remove all the outer leaves regularly, which I have been doing, so we'll see if that makes any difference to their size. Parsnips - another first for me. Again haven't sampled one yet but the signs are promising.

Earlies were a bit disappointing, I put this down to the very dry late spring/early summer weather, just when they needed the water most. Maincrops have produced much better yields. These are Rooster potatoes - good for mashing and wedges. I always find the skins of baked potatoes very tough and hard, compared to shop-bought ones, I don't know if this is something to do with being freshly dug?

Squashes etc:

Courgettes have been disappointing. I did a new variety plus the same ones as last years. But only the new variety came up so I had four of them but they have not done very well. Maybe one courgette a week between them. Pathetic really. Won't bother with that variety next year. Top prize has to go to this butternut squash, which I estimate to be about 10" long. There is one other of good size, but the rest are very small and I don't know if they will come to anything. Out of about 6 plants it's not great.

Two fairly respectable pumpkins, and a selection of small Blue Ballets, Crown Princes and Potimarrons. No more than one per plant though.

As I have already mentioned the sweetcorn did not do well, which I put down to the toilet rolls. Lesson learnt.

Peas - the usual story, not much return for all that effort. Next year I will try dwarf ones under enviromesh, and if that doesn't come up with the goods it's goodbye to peas for good.
Runner beans - better than last year, plenty without being too many, and there are some in the freezer as well. French beans - did quite well, but we missed most of them due to being on holiday. My second sowing is only just starting to produce beans, so I hope there will still be enough good weather for them to produce a decent yield.

Garlic - best so far. I am going to replant a couple of the bulbs for next year's crop. Overwintering onions suffered from the very cold winter, and didn't do very well. They certainly didn't crop any earlier than the spring planted ones, and were smaller. I don't think I'll do them this autumn, just spring ones. Leeks are doing really well, but we haven't eaten any yet, although some look ready.

Strawberries - dismal. Either the plants are coming to the end of their lives, or it was down to the very dry period when they're normally ready, but I only got a couple of pickings out of them, certainly not enough for jam or anything like that. I haven't had the late summer crop I got last year either. Loganberries got attacked by raspberry beetles, and I had very few currants. On the plus side, we did get the unexpected bonus of plums in our new garden, a few blueberries and the bowl of cherries in June.

I wonder if anyone has ever had a year when everything has been a success? But isn't it great that there's always next year to try again?

Monday, 6 September 2010


The allotment has been very neglected lately. It was all I could manage just to get there and keep harvesting things. However I have managed to do a bit of preserving and storing. I have been rather confined to the house because the children are still on holiday and we also have builders in, but this is what I have managed to do:

The onions are hanging inside the legs of tights, strung up in the shed. When I want some I just cut below a knot and out they come. It as a bit less fiddly that making strings, besides, they hardly had any stalks left for tieing to the string.

The sum total of my loganberry, blackcurrant and blueberry crops was made into just three jars of jam! It hasn't been a very good year for my fruit. I went out blackberrying, but somebody had beaten me to it and all the good ones had gone. But there were masses of elderberries, so I have made elderberry jelly in quantity. It does contain a couple of handfuls of blackberries, some spice and cinnamon, and the juice of two lemons and pectin sugar, as it seems elderberries are pretty low in pectin. It has set well and is surprisingly tasty.

Finally I have blanched and frozen several bagfuls of runner beans.

This week I am back to work and it's forecast to rain all week, but maybe the weekend will be a good opportunity to catch up a bit at the allotment.

Friday, 20 August 2010


My sweetcorn has been a bit rubbish this year. The plants grown in plastic pots were fine and produced really good cobs, but they were in the minority. Most were grown in toilet rolls and were stunted from the start. The kernels have been very patchy and in some cases so sparse they weren't worth bothering with. But look what I found attached to the base of one cob:

A mini cob! You wouldn't get one like that in Sainsburys.

The allotment has been very neglected recently. The weather has been rubbish and I have been busy decorating. Nearly finished (one room) - just waiting for someone to come and build us some shelves next week, then we can do the finishing touches, AND finally finish unpacking our boxes. I am planning to go over this afternoon, if only to harvest a few things, but wouldn't you know it - it's just started raining again. I'll have a cup of tea first, then maybe I'll just have to get wet.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Back from holiday

We had a bit of a 'holidays from hell' disaster, with the Evil Easyjet at the heart of the problem: set off at 3.30am, arrived at the airport in good time - well within the time we were told to, but because of the chaos and understaffing at Luton airport we had to queue for such a long time we missed our flight. They grudgingly replaced our tickets (ie admitted responsibility) but there weren't any flights until 3 days later. The worst thing was their extremely unhelpful and unsympathetic attitude. We wanted to strangle them actually - a classic case of 'computer says no'. Anyway, we got there in the end, but we missed three days of our holiday and we're still waiting for a response to our complaint.

Got back last Saturday, and found lots of these lovely ripe plums, ready to pick. They are very tasty just as they are, but we have also made a crumble. When I went up to the allotment to see how that was faring, the worst thing I found was the sprouts and psb completely overrun with whitefly and woolly aphids. Some plants look as if they might not pull through. The hearty bit in the middle looks as if it is a fuzzy grey flower. I considered spraying but when i went back with the spray there were so many ladybirds and hoverflies all over them I thought I might just leave them to it. There are so many they may have a good chance of getting the upper hand eventually. I haven't seen so many ladybirds since the famous 'ladybird summer' in 1976 (I think). I have been collecting them from the other end of the allotment and depositing them around the brassicas to help with the war on aphids.

This is the biggest of the very few butternut squashes that are just beginning to develop. I've only spotted about two but I'm optimistically thinking there must be more than that, that I haven't spotted yet. The ones up by the fruit were looking a bit pathetic so I have laid lots of compost around them to boost them a bit.

I have dug up all the onions and to begin with I left them where they were as the forecast was for dry weather all week. But then it rained. I have brought them back home now and spread them on my wire trolleys so they can go in the shed when it rains. I weeded the empty patch and sowed clover and tares for overwintering. Today I picked our first runner beans. They are a bit late because they got off to such a late start, but the first lot of french beans are beginning to slow down now so the timing is perfect. I have another row of french beans which will hopefully be ready for when we are sick of runner beans.

Back home in the garden I have mowed the lawn for the first time and we have cleared out the sheds. The previous owners have left lots of stuff behind, including a spare lawnmower, long handled pruners, and lots of other tools. One of the sheds has clearly got a mouse problem, so I won't be able to store much veg or seeds in there.

Next job is to strip the wallpaper in one of the downstairs rooms - wish me luck!

Monday, 19 July 2010

What's going on at the allotment

I haven't got many flowers this year, they have had to fend for themselves while any watering has been reserved only for veg. But these marigolds have manged to thrive nonetheless.

The runner beans have enjoyed the recent rain and are now approaching the top of their canes, and are flowering. With any luck, the beans will start to be ready just as we return from our holiday. Not so the french beans, which are just starting to produce now. We had our first picking last night for supper.

Likewise the tomatoes, just beginning to ripen in time for someone else to reap the benefits of all my hard work. Harrumph. Oh well, hopefully they'll leave some for us.

And at least the leeks won't be ready for a while yet.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

New house update

While I wait for my new greenhouse, my chillies are living in luxury in the conservatory. They are doing pretty well but somewhere along the line I must have got the labels mixed up, because the ones I labelled 'Heatwave' look just like the 'Meek and Mild' poblano ones in the seed catalogue. The fruits are much bigger and fatter. The 'Heatwave' fruits are the same shape as the 'Ring of Fire'. I won't be able to tell which is which until they ripen, because the ring of fire are all red whereas the heatwave are all different colours. Hey ho, all will be revealed eventually. They have been suffering a bit from greenfly - but I have found a way to deal with that particular problem - hoover them up with the vacuum cleaner!

While exploring the garden, I have made an exciting discovery: we have a greengage tree! There is quite a lot of fruit on it too. We also have quite a few fruit on a Japanese quince 'Chaenomales' which is growing over from next door, but I'm not really sure what to do with these. I take it they are edible?

I have dug up all my garlic and autumn sown onions, and my shallots, and this bright utility area turns out to be the perfect place to leave them to dry. I am chuffed with the garlic, less so with the onions and shallots. The spring sown onions look a lot more promising....

It is drizzling today, and there is more rain forecast, which is all good of course, but it does mean I am not so inclined to go to the plot. I got quite a bit of weeding done on Saturday morning, and planted out my second lot of leeks, but there is still quite a bit of weeding to be done. And I still want to sow some more french beans.

I have a cunning plan for growing peas next year... I have done a bit of research and found a couple of dwarf varieties which I could grow under an enviromesh tunnel. They are small enough not to need much (if any) support and as peas are self-pollinating, I can protect them from both pea moths and pigeons right from the start. We'll see. My children don't seem to mind shelling peas, or broad beans, but I'm sure it would make the process quicker and more enjoyable if they didn't have to closely inspect each pod for creepy-crawlies.

I have spoken to the allotment man about my new allotment, and apparently, now that I am living in the area, I have moved up to around number 15 on the waiting list! I don't really know what that means in terms of waiting time - how long is a piece of string?

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

We're in

We have now been in our new house for nearly five days. Now that we have unpacked most of our things it feels quite like home. There is still an awful lot to be done of course but it's fine for the time being.

Needless to say I have hardly been able to get to the plot for some time, I have just about been able to do some essential watering and a bit of harvesting, but there is a lot to be done there too. This is the first year I have had the plot where I have actually had to water regularly, the last three summers have been so wet, and I have found it difficult to find enough time to water sufficiently. I am having to prioritise - I am now ignoring all the things that are nearly finished, or well underway, like the broad beans and peas, and putting all my efforts into those that are yet to produce anything, like runner beans, french beans, squashes and sweetcorn. It isn't really feasible to water everything. Certainly not potatoes, I'd be there all day and all night. And it still wouldn't soak in much below the surface. I've had a very poor potato yield so far, only about 3 - 4 potatoes per plant, sometimes 5 if I'm lucky. Plenty of courgettes and broad beans, and some peas. I'm definitely not doing peas again. They have been decimated by pigeons and they are so time consuming to get out of the pods. I know they are delicious but I have so little time at the moment.

On our last night in our old house we had a chinese takeaway followed by all the cherries off the cherry tree! It was a whole bowlful, which was amazing compared to last year when we had a grand total of four, only one of which was actually eaten by a human being. This year I covered it in a sort of veil made of white voile, which made it look very bridal, and protected the fruit from the birds.

Sadly I have not been able to keep up with the sweet peas, which is a real shame because they really are beautiful. I managed one vaseful, which you can see above. I am going to try and pick some more, and hope that I am not too late to stop them all from going to seed. I finish work tomorrow so after that I am going to devote a few hours/days to weeding and other plot maintenance, so maybe I'll get a chance then.

The other thing I have not had a chance to harvest is the blackcurrants. They are mostly ripe now so I must get on with it before they shrivel up. There are lots of loganberries coming too. And the blueberries are beginning to ripen. Shame there isn't a pause button....

Monday, 14 June 2010

It's all happening....

Half way through June and the season is well and truly underway now isn't it? Everything looks so lush and promising at the moment.

Not long before we will be eating broad beans by the looks of these pods, and courgettes as well.

I have finally got my runner beans going, one or two of the original direct-sown seeds came up, but most of these are pot grown ones that I have transplanted.

I was baffled to keep turning up and finding that someone or something had untied all the string from my carefully constructed bean and tomato frames, and all the canes were flapping about untethered. The only culprit that seemed likely was birds, and sure enough yesterday I arrived to catch one red-handed (or maybe red-beaked?) I didn't think birds were that daft, you would think that one peck would be enough to make it realise that string is not very palatable, but no, they keep on pecking until it's all gone. I have had to re-tie them all using wire this time.

I am so pleased with this spinach, although it has well and truly bolted, we are still finding the leaves delicious in salads, neither tough nor bitter. I have sown some more though, just in case it does start to deteriorate.

The spring planted onions are beginning to bulk up, and they are doing so much better than the autumn planted ones. Below are the leeks I put in on Saturday. These are the early ones, and I have another box of late ones to go in in a few weeks.

It's now less than three weeks until we move, and I have started clearing out my workshop, where I have been making curtains and blinds for several years now - so there is plenty of clutter. I will be keeping E-bay and Freecycle busy over the next few days. I will not be continuing with this business once we have moved; there's not much point replacing the workshop because once my youngest son is at secondary school in just over a year's time I will be thinking about going back into full time work. Will I still have time for an allotment then I wonder? .... anyway that's still some way off yet. Our boxes are being delivered this evening and then we will have no excuse not to start packing .. or at least to start clearing out cupboards etc.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

After the Rain

Finally, we have had a bit of rain. We did have some on Wednesday but by the time I went up to the plot yesterday you wouldn't have known it as it was already dry as dust again. This is how it was looking this afternoon when I went to inspect, but it only goes down about an inch and it's still dry and dusty underneath. We still need a lot more wet stuff. Above (bottom left) are the first two courgettes and two pumpkin plants I planted out yesterday. There are still two more courgettes and lots of squash to come. The sweetcorn is still looking a bit yellow. Onions and garlic look ok but no sign of the onions starting to swell yet. In the background you can see my loganberry bushes, which have plenty of flowers on them. Behind that you can just about make out that my new neighbour hasn't really got to grips with his plot yet. I still haven't set eyes on him, but there are signs of activity so he must be there some of the time.

Above are lettuce, kale and spinach (back) - we have had a few salads with lettuce thinnings and baby spinach leaves. In front the broad beans are looking very promising.

Below is my Heath Robinson brassica cage which will protect my brussels sprouts and purple sprouting brocolli. I wanted to make something a bit taller than the blue pipe tunnels, and also with something for the plants to lean against when they get very tall and top heavy. I hope it doesn't collapse.

We now have a combination padlock on the gate, so I really do feel that my little patch is quite secure now, otherwise I think I might not have gone to the trouble of making this cage, it would have been an open invitation to the vandals.

I think my runner beans have failed. I sowed the beans two weeks ago and still no sign of germination. I have started some more in pots, they will be slightly delayed but will probably catch up. The french beans are mostly up so something has definitely gone wrong with the runners. Either something's eaten them or I put them in too deep. I have dug away some of the soil on top so they might come through eventually.

I have taken out all last year's psb to make room for the tomatoes, which hopefully will get planted out over this weekend, along with the rest of the squashes.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Hardening Off

I have been hardening my tender veg out all week, and I am planning to plant some of them out this weekend. That may seem rather rushed, but my logic is that it has been as warm outside the greenhouse this week as it was inside last week, so the plants won't have noticed much difference. Tonight is the first night out in the open though. The only slight problem is that the psb is still sprouting, and is where the tomatoes are going to go. Normally it would all have been over and pulled out by now. I think the tomatoes can wait another week or two, whereas the sweetcorn....

is getting a bit desperate. See how much healthier the plants grown in pots are, compared with the toilet roll grown ones. I think this has convinced me not to bother with toilet rolls again. I know it's all green and good recycling, but they are more use chucked straight into the compost. It gets worse when you plant them out as well, as the cardboard decomposes, the plants go even yellower. I will be adding lots of well rotted chicken poo to the soil before planting, which I have been saving for just this reason.

This is the Stevia (the sugar substitute herb) which is starting to do quite well. I'm going to try cooking some rhubarb with it at the weekend, see how it really compares to sugar.

And lastly, here are my two blueberry bushes, which I have just repotted into these terracotta pots today. The pots are lined with plastic and filled with ericaceous compost. There are quite a few flowers, but I wonder how many of them will turn into blueberries.

I have had to do a lot of watering at the allotment, we haven't had any rain here for several weeks. The rain everyone else has had has just passed us by. Consequently the soil up there has turned to dust, so fine that it repels water and I have had to go to all sorts of lengths to get the water to penetrate, eg making holes with a fork, scooping little trenches either side of the row, etc etc. It is all very time consuming, and to make matters worse, one of my water butts is now completely empty and the other isn't far off.

Last Saturday I sowed runner beans, french beans and another row of peas, all direct outside. As yet there is no sign of germination. I gave a friend a pot of french bean seeds for her birthday, which I had just sown so she could watch them germinate - that was on 5th May and apparently they have still not come up! This is not very encouraging is it? I have sown some more as I am determined to infect her with the veg-growing bug!