Saturday, 28 June 2008

New potatoes

The Pentland Javelin have finished flowering so time to dig up the first plant, always an anxious moment: will there be anything there? Will they be full of wireworm? So I was well pleased with this booty, I suppose these are the moments we go through all this nonsense for. Lovely and clean and tasty and with the promise of no more shop-bought taters for months to come now.


This turned out to look really nice and has been smothered in bees so it's a shame to have to dig it in but that's what its for so that's what's happened!

Summer cabbage

The Greyhound are ready for eating now just as the Durham Early are coming to an end, which is brilliant timing, although more by luck than judgment if I'm being honest, which I suppose I ought to be.

Sweet peas flowering


I'm trying to eat this as fast as I can before it bolts.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Rubbish weather

Well the solstice has been and gone and I have to say that for growing the weather in June has been absolute pants. It's been much cooler than usual, and I don't mean in the trendy sense, often windy, and we've only had one decent day of rain. Still, you have to keep plodding on.

Not much to do this weekend: I've resown the gaps in the rows of maincrop carrots and planted out the purple-sprouting broccoli. All things considered the plot isn't looking too bad. The early peas are flowering, I've picked the first sweet peas, and the early potatoes are nearly ready - it's too windy to take any photos so you'll just have to take my word for it. I've started feeding the tomatoes too, now that the first trusses have set. Try saying that after a few drinks.

Strawberry jam

I usually get the mother-in-law to make this - I provide the fruit, she buys the sugar and we split the produce - and it's kind of appropriate as she gave me the original runners of my plants years ago, but anyway she's a bit bad at the moment so I thought I'd give it a try myself. I mean how hard can it be? So I cooked up the fruits and the sugar but after about half an hour it still didn't look as if it would set and I was getting a bit bored so I've bottled it up and am hoping for the best.

Jam-making: messy but fun.

I've learnt since that you're meant to add some lemon juice but lemons don't grow for me in this climate.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

All done

The plot's about planted up now, except of course it never is: there's still the leeks to go in and the sprouting broccoli and I've sown some more cabbage - "Golden Acre" to follow the "Greyhound".

I'm still eating spring cabbage, the first broad beans are ready for picking, always a treat, and the strawberries are cropping well now.

Snapdragons (antirrhinums)

I'd sowed these back in the middle of April and planted them out today:

First broad beans ready

Early peas climbing nicely

Grapes coming along

Friday, 13 June 2008

Fame at last?

We've had the BBC on site today, filming for a segment on frugal living for the regional current affairs programme Inside Out.

I got to have a chat with presenter Ray Gosling about being an ex-hippie, strawberries, the meaning of life, etc. etc. I also got to walk up my garden path and wash a cabbage about six times from different angles for the camera.

Fame at last? I don't think I'll be giving up the day job any time soon but it made for an an interesting afternoon. Apparently it takes six days of filming and editing to make an eight minute segment. So now you know. As Homer would say: "What a world we live in".

The Inside Out team: director Rob Whitehouse, presenter Ray Gosling, cameraman Darren.

Ray interviewing our Clare on her plot.

The programme goes out some time in the autumn.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Slacking off

The plot's nearly planted up now so the pace has slackened off a little, which is just as well, wouldn't want to miss The Derby.

In between slacking and losing money there's still been a few jobs to do: I've been planting out the carnations, settling the tomatoes into their growbags, potting up next year's purple sprouting broccoli and generally weeding and keeping the place looking ship shape. Or allotment-shaped. A-ha.


Arthur's turned in my clover and plonked his courgettes in:


The tomatoes have filled their bottomless pots now so I've planted them in growbags:


I've planted out the carnations I sowed back in the middle of April:

Sweet peas

The sweet peas are climbing their support nicely:


The first strawberries: