It was pointed out to me recently that my old theme wasn’t as user friendly as I thought it was, so I have changed to this theme now which by the looks of it is a lot easier to view and use for everyone
I hope you like it and I would welcome any feedback regarding this 😉
Anyhow I haven’t done a personal post in a while, quiet simply because due to the lack of a Scottish summer this year my mind has been engulfed with pain. This has got to be the wettest summer in a long time, that I can remember anyway!
Due to this I haven’t made it up to my allotment as often as I should or would have liked to as on the very few dry days I’ve been too sore and when the pain has started to ease its been pouring with rain, which is just typical. But hey I’ve learned something from it as you will see if you read on…..
I finally made it to the allotment two days ago after roughly a month of inattendance (is that even a word?! Seems like it is but a bit brain dead with the pain as I write this! Maybe not the best time to write a blog lol ) anyway I was expecting my plot to be a hot mess, which it was, but not on the level I was presuming. Lots of weeds to get under control but I was pleasantly surprised with the produce as for one there was tons of it and two the slugs hadn’t got most of it! This was especially surprising for the strawberries! Ok some plants like the tomatoes aren’t doing as well as they have in previous years as they haven’t been mollycoddled as I normally would. Usually in past years they would be fed every week alternating between seaweed solution, comfrey liquid and organic tomato feed after having a healthy dose of manure dug in prior to planting, whereas this year they have only had the manure and comfrey, only because after planting I lay comfrey leaves around the base of the plants – this has two benefits one as the leaves decompose they feed the plants and two as the plants are in the greenhouse, it stops the soil drying out too much so decreases the need for watering. Hopefully I’ll be able to get up more now and give them some late pampering to coax the fruits to ripen. Potatoes have been a hit and miss for the first time as well as I hadn’t earthed them up or fed them with seaweed solution and this is one thing that the slugs haven’t left alone.
I was very surprised to see my turnips though, I have grown turnips every year since 2 years prior to Me getting my allotment and they have never grown larger than tennis ball, many being smaller. So you can imagine my surprise to pull this from the ground, this being the smallest of the three growing!
Other success stories have been carrots, this is only maybe a quarter of the amount still to harvest!
This is a huge surprise to me as for the last three to four years I have really struggled with carrots with at least two of those years getting none with very sporadic germination and it didn’t seem to matter how many times I re-sowed them they just wouldn’t germinate. I had never had this problem previously and after my first year of growing vegetables I read in a gardening magazine or book that carrots were difficult to grow and I had actually scoffed at this – Well no more! This year as germination was the problem I used a trick that I had learnt for parsnips, which also can have sporadic germination as the seeds are only viable for one year in most cases , although I have managed three years out of a packet. The trick I used was to fold kitchen roll into a small rectangle and dampen it with water then place half the rectangle into a lidded Petri dish or a small lidded receptacle then place the seeds on top of the damp kitchen roll inside the dish then fold the top half over to cover the seeds then place the lid on to the dish, placing the whole thing into a heated propagator or warm window ledge/airing cupboard check daily that the kitchen roll remains moist, but not wet and check on the seeds every few days. Once they start to germinate plant them in root trainers or long pots and place in a cold frame until the first or second lot of true leaves appear then plant in their final positions. You gave to time this perfectly as you don’t want to disturb the tap root or for the tap root to start circling the base of the pot as they don’t like their tap root being disturbed which is why it is the norm to direct sow them. If you leave it too long before planting and disturb the taproot you will get some funny shaped parsnips and/or carrots which won’t win any prizes on the show bench but will taste just as good as the perfect ones and might give you a chuckle in the process like these parsnips from a few years ago did to me!
The thing I missed the most in those years where I was lucky to get one carrot is the smell as you pull it from the ground, it is intoxicating, the most potent smell of fresh dirt and strong carrot makes you feel healthier from just the smell! You really are missing out if you’ve never pulled a carrot!
Peas and broad beans have done well as well
But out of everything the thing that has done the best has to be the fruit! I have tons of strawberries, blackberries, tayberries, Loganberries, raspberries, rhubarb, honeyberry, redcurrants, blackcurrants, whitecurrants, red & yellow gooseberries and blueberries! Apples and grapes are also doing very well and I can’t wait until they have ripened.
None of which taste anything like the ones you buy in the supermarket, the only problem ( I have the same problem with peas ) is them making it to the kitchen, many are eaten as they’re picked! But even with this ‘problem’ my freezer is still stacked full of fruit which I have frozen to store them as if I’d ate another strawberry this year I may have turned into one! So I have frozen them to make jam in a couple of months which will see me through the winter. As there is no more room in my freezer, I will be trying bottling the remaining fruits.
I have tried making blueberry jam twice now and each time I have overlooked it which I’ve never done with any other type of jam only blueberry which is Extremely frustrating as blueberries are my favourite fruits and having the restraint not to eat them as I harvest them takes a lot of will power so when they are then wasted it’s annoying so this year instead if being vigilant and freezing them I’m giving into temptation and eating them fresh. They are the largest, sweetest and juiciest blueberries I have ever tasted so this year I will buy frozen blueberries from the supermarket to make jam with as the sugar in the jam making process masks the true taste of the blueberries anyway and nothing beats the taste of homegrown!
So the lesson I learnt? Not to pamper the plants, let them get on with it themselves and achieve great results! Now just the weeding to get on top of and I’m sorted well apart from thinning the bunches if grapes growing and harvesting but that’s not work, that’s snack time lol
Please remember feedback on the new theme is more than welcome xx