Saturday, 30 June 2012

After the Deluge

Apparently the weather is discussed 282 times per second in the UK, which isn't very surprising when it's as mad as it has been in Newcastle over the last few days.  See here, here and here for three of the more dramatic vids of the downpour.  We were down the allotment earlier in the day when it was raining a bit, though there was no suggestion of the drama to follow.

The View from the gate on a damp morning

Anyway, we decided it was time to pull up our remaining Japanese over-wintering onions before they rotted, especially as the ground is so sodden.  These have worked out great and we'll definately plant them again.  They're quite mild, so will be great in salads, and the green parts can be used like spring onions.
I love that something as humble as a spud can have such attractive flowers.  Our first earlies have flowered.  Was sorely tempted to pull up a plant to see what we've got but resisted.  For now.
A delightful and rare orchid A potato plant

The broad bean plants are doing great, they're our star performers so far.  I've heard that they can get obliterated by greenfly, but our are an aphid-free zone so far.  We picked a few to give to Kasia's folks, which, considering the amount of digging Kasia's mum has done on our patch, felt like a somewhat paltry offering.  More in the future, hopefully.

Jackpot, baby
Our one surviving healthy courgette plant is trucking on, and threatening to produce some flowers and who knows, perhaps even some courgettes.  I've christened it "Will" after Will Smith in that crap film I Am Legend where he's the only person left alive.  Hopefully our courgette plant will become a legend of courgette production, but won't donate a whole bunch of cash to scientology.  Which, considering it's a courgette plant, seems reasonable to hope for.
Will. Not a scientologist.

In less good news, pretty much everything we tried to plant direct into the ground - beetroot, radishes and the like - has been a total wash out, either not germinating or succumbing to flea-beetle.  We had a word with a bloke called Jim on the allotment, who has been in the veg game for yonks, as his beetroot are phenomenal.  Turns out he started his in seed modules, as we will next time round.  Great to have people like Jim around the place, with his hard-earned vault of veg-knowledge.  Also, ALL our carefully nurtured climbing beans have been eaten by something, leaving us with a carefully constructed cane wig-wam, with nothing to climb up it.  Boo.
Do you see any beetroot, radishes or turnips? No, me neither.
In pest news, I caught a couple of slugs red-handed on one of our pointed cabbages.  Honestly, the brazen cheek of it.  I took some satisfaction in summarily dispatching them to a watery grave, lobbing them into a water butt.  "That's for what you and your pals did to last year's cabbages" I muttered, as they met their end.  I haven't sussed out which slugs (because there are some) don't damage your crops; until then, they're all suspects.
An horrendous git
Also found a massive snail under a wooden board.  I dunno what it is about snails, they just seem a bit more... sentient than slugs, and I couldn't bring myself to drown it.  Kasia was happy to stamp on the thing, but I didn't want to see that; ended up carrying the thing to the nearest park, where, presumably, he/she/it will leave out its days in peace.  I need to toughen up.

Got home and cleaned up our tiny bulbs of garlic.  They'll keep us going for... well, not that long actually, but never mind.  They look nice using depth-of-field on the camera, and that, clearly, is the main thing.

We then had a fab night in the caravan near Warkworth, before heading back home, half expecting to see the allotment completely washed away.  Happily enough, things weren't too bad, with only some red onions suffering as the soil they'd been growing had been washed away.  Our strawberries had been covered in soil too, but I just dug them out.  Having seen our allotment buddy Toni dig up some early spuds I gave in to temptation and dug up a plant.  They were mostly tiny, but at least all healthy looking, and they hadn't been attacked by any slugs.  How will they taste?  Well, they're for tonight's dinner, so I'll leave it on a cliffhanger. Come back next time to find out!


  1. Wow - amazing!

  2. Hey Lee...thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. It seems like you're doing well with your allotment. I start as much of my veg as possible in the greenhouse...brassicas and such in trays and root veg in paper potters so as not to disturb the root when planting it out.

    Hope you enjoyed the spuds and I will pop back and see how things are going. The vid's of the storm were's amazing how wide spread it was!!

    If you ever need advice then feel free to ask...I'm not saying I'll know the answer but I will gladly try to help out!

    1. Hi Tanya, thanks for looking in and thanks for the offer of advice, I may well be taking you up on that! Spuds were magic, as tiny new potatoes are wont to be. Yeah, of all half-plots we were offered, this one was by far the most turn-aroundable, especially now there is someone one the other side of our plot who is taking their patch by the scruff of the neck; it was galling early on when our absent neighbour's thistles were constantly seeding all over our beds! We got 4 tonnes of manure for about £40 which seemed ok to me; I don't have much experience of buying crap by the tonne. Wish we could have chickens on the plot, we have them at my folks' home; once really rotted down, the manure is great stuff. Thanks again, Lee

  3. Snails are just as destructive however fascinating they are to look at and by the way are both he and she in one.

    We haven't suffered as much as you thankfully - you really have had some dramatic conditions to put up with! As for beetroot - we have had success growing in modules too although this year we are going for direct sowing. Most years the problem is making sure we keep the seedlings damp enough but this year that isn't a problem!

    1. Snails and slugs being hermaphrodites is just the final insult- as if they wouldn't be hard enough to contend with if they had to stick to being only one sex or the other. You're blog really looks great, I'll have a proper look around later. Thanks for checking us out, Lee

  4. Katie Teasdale1 July 2012 at 20:50

    Our chicory exploded and we left the rocket too long. Lovely strawberries now but not a huge crop. I'm growing lettuces, carrots and radishes at home first- then transplanting. I did that with beetroots and tomatoes too but neither as successful. Our broadbeans are growing but no crop yet. Fingers and toes crossed. Mainly finding the bramble onslaught a horror. So sorry re the rains!

    1. Sounds great! You got a garden or are you a fellow plotter? Hope your broad beans work out dandy-o, they're well tasty when fresh out the pod. Kasia was mentioning you might be headed this way in Oct, so see you then!

  5. You can check out your spuds by part forking a plant up and having a look. If there too small heel them back in

    1. Will do. Think will leave the rest for at least a couple of weeks longer to grow a bit. You pulled any up yet?

  6. OMG... those wheelie bins!!!!

    Pleased you're enjoying freshly picked broad beans (shop bought ones give them a bad name)

    Agree with 'Dad' ... you can rootle around and find spuds big enough to cook as a 'gardener's treat' and leave the rest to grow on. There is nothing like a freshly dug new potato with butter and salt to cheer up a rainy day.

    And looks like you guys need it!



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