Monday, 26 November 2012

Weird and wonderful plants under threat

Bird of Paradise plant
Some less than happy news from the horticultural world: I nipped from having a look at the fine construction job being done on our fence yesterday to a meeting at Moorbank Botanical Gardens which is just round the corner from our allotments. Newcastle University has decided not to renew the lease on the Gardens which has placed their future in jeopardy. You can read a piece about it on Sky Tyne and Wear here, and another in the Chronicle about the meeting here. I attended a session about marketing and fundraising ideas in a future apart from the University and then had a walk round the Gardens to have a look at some of the amazing and interesting plants they house.

Causing o' fence!

Our allotment's front door. No tipping, alright?
Not much going on in terms of gardening for us this weekend. We're waiting for onions and garlic to sprout, there's some tidying up to be getting on with, but not enough for it to seem worthwhile to go out and get wet and cold in weather like that which we've had this weekend. However, don't think for a minute that the allotment excitement stops with the gardening, no sir. Kasia took a wander down on Saturday and - drumroll - our new fence has started to go up!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Last of the turds, and the smallest vineyard in the world

Ooo, what a lovely day!
Well, the manure pile is no more. About this time last year we took delivery of four tonnes of the stuff, and we've been slowly adding it to newly dug-over patches ever since. The last of it went on today. All sections of the plot , apart from a few bits that still need tidying, are either now planted with something, or covered, awaiting the spring, which is quite smug-inducing.

Recipe: Chinese Style Knackered Sweetcorn Soup

Rescued corn
Since we harvested the underdeveloped cobs of corn  from our sweetcorn plants nearly a month ago, they've sat in a cupboard awaiting instruction. The need to do something with them became a bit more urgent yesterday when I noticed fluffy growths of mould growing over some of the cobs. Most of the cobs were retrievable; the smallest ones were like baby corn and I chopped the whole things up. I stripped the corn off the larger ones, it came away quite easily. If you don't have any knackered old sweetcorn for this recipe, I'm sure fresh stuff would be just as good...

Parsnip harvest, and help from a mercenary digmaster

newcastle blog
The leaf-strewn path to the patch
A fine day followed a soggy evening in Newcastle yesterday, making for good conditions in which to continue the slow work of tidying up and preparing the ground for next year's planting. Except that actually, the work done yesterday wasn't so slow at all, thanks to the phenomenal digging abilities of Kasia's mum, who visited to help us out/ put us to shame. All the remaining un-manured sections of the plot, both on our side and Toni's were dug over and most of the final dregs of the manure we acquired last year were spread over them. Today we'll get them covered up to suppress the weeds until spring.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Planting out, feeling grim

allotment blog
Long shadows as the mercury sinks
We staggered down to the plot on Sunday after an evening of making very generous and fulsome tributes at the temple of Bacchus, feeling none too great. This has, at least for me, become a bit of a regular weekenderly routine. The existential woe and grim foreboding that comes with any hangover worthy of the name is definitely ameliorated slightly by spending time around food that you have grown yourself.
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