Sunday 13 September 2009

Thanks Guys!

Lots of largesse on display down the plots this week. Look at the size of that turnip, says Damien, take that one with you! You'll have to top and tail these beans, advises Gerry, there you go. And Tomato King Mark shoves this lot over to me - and the same amount for Kevin! Thanks a heap, fellas, much obliged. If you're wondering how the Golden Wonders might taste, wonder no more, cominatcha!

Sunday 6 September 2009

Latest on the Property Ladder

Cyril finally gets a roof over his head on the Allotment with his shiny new B&Q shed. Wonder what the combination will be? We're all waiting for word of the shed-warming occasion...
(Architectural Digest please do not copy!)

Wednesday 2 September 2009

A Treat for the Palate

Noticed this original dining suite yesterday down the line from me. Ingenuity or wha?

Done Spraying

Well that's that. We munched our way through all the Sharpe's Express, steamed right on through the Queens and fretted nightly about the fate of the Wonders and Pinks. All over now. Clipped all the haulm yesterday and threw a bit of clay over the drills. A fortnight now till we lift them. Let us pray.

Sunday 30 August 2009

Too Many Queens?

Our poetic-hearted Gerry has come up with another literary parallel for our allotment lives:-

After Apple Picking

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Robert Frost

Ready to drop

My Sungold tomatoes have been changing colour over the past week. Must be ready so. Going to chance one tomorrow.

Sunday 16 August 2009

The Fingernail Test

Dylan checking the ripeness of the pumpkins he sowed way back when.

Friday 14 August 2009

A bit of culture - Thanks Gerry


Lifting through the broken clouds there shot,
A searching beam of golden sunset-shine.
It swept the town allotments, plot by plot,
And all the digging clerks became divine –
Stood up like heroes with their spades of brass,
Turning the ore that made the realms of Spain!
So shone they for a moment. Then, alas!
The cloud-rift closed; and they were clerks again.
(Richard Church 1893-1972)

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Start 'em Early!

Dylan (3 next month) getting stuck in. Digging the spuds with Daideo!

What Smashing Spuds are these?

This crop looks particularly healthy in light of the many blighted specimens in the field. Late blossom as well, I notice. Is this one of those Hungarian Sarpo varieties, I wonder?

A Fresh Flag

Looks like new management at the Fisheries. Place looks wonderful. Wonder how this will impinge on Allotment Life?

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Keeping Up Appearances

First Coat of this one-coat stuff - gonna need at least another!

Sunday 9 August 2009

HOTBOX Part Deux

So Flan came up with some sheets of glass - the posh kind, double-glazed and away I went to the Kilkock Sawmills to purchase some more of his wonderful treated timber - enough for two cold frames. Safe enough on the roof rack all the way home but disaster struck while bringing the planks in around the back. I left the first two pieces up against the pergola and went back out to fetch the rest. A sudden gust of wind blew up and I glanced back to check if they had shifted. They hadn't budged but the garden door had and I walked into the edge of it full tilt. Now I have a nice shiner on my forehead, a massive multicoloured bruise on my stomach from the hasp, a gouge out of my right arm thanks to bashing it off the windowsill and my ribs seem to be not totally connected at the back. So - what happened to you? "I walked into a door." Yeah, right!

Saturday 8 August 2009

I love Broccoli!

I'm astonished that I never thought to sow broccoli seeing as we use such a lot of it. Too late now, of course. On the list for next year. This here is a gift from my globe-trotting neighbour. Thanks, Seán.

Green is the colour ...

of ENVY! Green is also the colour of my own poor tomatoes. These are not mine, alas! They are gifts from The (green-fingered) Brother. Sunny SouthEast. It's all true...

Wednesday 29 July 2009

First Cauli

Begob, I wasn't expecting this one. Just lifted the net to check the cabbage and suddenly noticed the cauliflowers are ready for lifting. No one more surprised than myself. Great stuff. Mind you, we started on the British Queens today and they are not a patch on the Sharpe's Express we've been gorging on for weeks. Herself had a go with the courgettes today - poaching them with garlic for 10 minutes, then olives on top with mashed garlic, basil, thyme, lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning and into the fridge for hours before finally topping off with Parmesan cheese. Hmmm....

Sunday 26 July 2009

Barrel out of business

Seems the monsoon season opened just about the time Sean installed this state of the art water barrel. Coincidence? You think?

Saturday 25 July 2009

Tomato House Update

Dunno if it's Mark's Magic Mixture or Richard's Red Tomorite but something is working!

Monday 20 July 2009

First Carrots

Kevin suggested parking my Carrot-Fly Phobia so we lifted the fleece and found Good Stuff! We went on to discover edible Parsnips. One of the Kerr's Pinks looked a bit dodgy so we investigated and they're eating new Pinks at No. 46 tonight!

Friday 17 July 2009

Don't cramp your Caulis

Cauliflower was fighting with the netting on the hoops so it was time for the Trip to Kilcock to pick up some more timber from the sawmills out the old Galway Road opposite the Trim Turnoff. Knocked up another 2X1 frame, 27 inches high, draped with netting, home for lunch.

Thursday 16 July 2009

Damn those New Spuds!

This is what happens in the potato press when the new potatoes come onstream! All those totally dependable Tesco Roosters abandoned - thrown over for the latest bright young thing. Ah, the injustice of it!

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Tuesday AND Wednesday

These white early turnips were supposed to be picked at tennis ball size but this one escaped notice. Enough for two days. Five minutes boiling is as much as this kind can take. A few transplanted thinnings is all that's left of these boyos. High time to sow the swedes!

Sunday 12 July 2009

It's Not Just Cabbage, you know.

Great to see a bit of art and colour about the place and hang the Recession! I note that some mulch has been spread about since last week - could this be the work of the longed-for "young lads"?

Bring You Back?

Yeah well, we're back from beyant and it's a damp welcome we got last night. No need to water anything then, just as well. And today the first pea-picking expedition. Must be fifty years since we ate them fresh from the pod hunkered down in the rows. Muise.

Saturday 4 July 2009

Ok lads, we're away!

And we are Cumbria Bound...Jim Mac says he'll throw some uisce on the green stuff if there's a drought. Good man Jim. I left the blue barrel full of water for you. Hope it showers enough so you don't have to bother. Best. Paddy.

Friday 3 July 2009

Sharpe's Express sa mhála

There's your dinner now. First Earlies. Sharpe's Express. No Blossom ar all, seemingly. The blooms I saw belonged to renegade Golden Wonders! Forget the Cholestrol - Bring on the Kerrygold!

Saturday 27 June 2009

Special Delivery

Kevin the Cabbage Man rang the bell at noon to hand over this fine specimen, causing a dash to Tesco for the centre cut ham and a forkful of new spuds. Ah lads!

Lament for a lost lid

Alas, the Tommy Connolly Memorial Hotbox is no more.
A barrow borrower regrettably reversed into it and made smithereens of the famous table top plate glass. Fortunately he lived to carry on weeding and promising to go home soon and enjoy the dab of Dettol! No harm done, buíochas le Dia!

Now THAT's a Windbreak

Those Runner Beans are gonna love this smashing shelter.

Friday 26 June 2009

Tá siad ag teacht!

They're here! The promised Water Tanks have arrived onsite and should be ready to use any day now. Well done, Roger!

Fine Crop

Unfortunately, these are very prolific weeds - I think they are called Redshank - and they are about to flower and set seed! Anybody home?

Abandon Hope...

And here is the Finished Article. Looks smashing in the evening light, Mark. Blends in lovely with Tomato Central. You'd need to be Eating Your Greens to lift that massive lid!

If You Go Away...

This is the kind of thing you may expect to meet upon returning, right Seán?
But if you have the Diarmuid Gavin Gloves it'll take you no time to sort it out!

Monday 22 June 2009

Don't Bleed on the Carpet

A few thinnings of Beetroot to try out this evening. A straightforward 30 minute boil, I think, nothing fancy. Just twist off the tops, scrub and dunk.

Getting Edgy

I used to think that a hoe was like a spade or a fork - you used it and put it away. Not so, I learn. You carry a file with you and sharpen the working edge EVERY 15 MINUTES! That' s Uncle John's (RIP) old file there and it still brings up bright steel on the push hoe and the draw hoe. Makes a huge difference to the weeding business!

Kevin's Cabbage

Kevin's cabbage patch is looking well since he cleared out the bolted radishes. Hearting up nicely. Time to be looking out for a nice bacon joint...

Sunday 21 June 2009

First Spuds ...but

Yeah well, here's a few of the First Earlies. I hadn't intended to pick them until Kevin pointed out that two of the potato plants did not look well. So I pulled them out and got rid of the haulm just in case. Now we have NEW POTATOES for tomorrow's Father's Day Barbie! Going to keep a sharp eye on the rest of the Sharpe's after this scare.

Saturday 20 June 2009

In the Gutter

Saw this notion on Gardeners' World -
grow lettuce in guttering.
It works a treat. I just pop a small pot on each end of the guttering temporarily to stop the compost falling out while transporting. Two weeks or so in the Hotbox and they're ready to slip into the raised bed.
First time I tried it they didn't slip so easily but Mark gave me a hand and saved the day. Now I run a sliver of wood along the bottom first to break the grip and then they slide right into place. We're on our third round now. That's Lollo Rossa and Webb's Wonderful growing there.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Pisum sativum 'RONDO'

Flowers on the peas. Wahoo! Here's to a bumper crop!

Radishes on the Run

Looks like Kevin's radishes are trying to fly the coop. They must be getting tough and stringy by now. Should have sown their replacements earlier!

Sharpe's in Bloom

Finally my First Earlies are waking up. I expected to be sampling these on this day - it's 12 weeks since they went in. I'll wait a fortnight more, I think.

Love Your Weeds

If you take your eye off the plot for a minute those weeds go mad. Nothing for it but down on the knees and start pulling. It's quite therapeutic really once you get started. Wish I'd bought those kneepads when they were in Aldi.

Bring Your Wellies

Could do with a good load of wood chips, huh? They're on the way, according to the grapevine.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Changes We Can Believe In

A new hothouse has been spotted under construction down near the hedge. Looks like R&M may come in for some tomato competition.

There's that Rotovator again - wonder where The Ploughing is on this year?

Innovation is the order of the day when it comes to Compost Bins - Perfectly acceptable pallet-based bins (as recommended by Gardeners' World) have been dismantled by the neighbours in favour of a massive solid single box. What next?

And here's a Scarecrow. Does it work, I wonder. The brother put up one at home that moves in the wind. Might try that.