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!