Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The big watering can in the sky goes on strike

It was time to wage war on the weeds before they took over the allotment and smothered the crops.  I had a mega two day weeding session on Saturday and Sunday, and the plot looks a lot tidier.

Hopefully the plants will benefit now that they're not competing with the weeds, especially as water is very limited, now that the big watering can in the sky has gone on strike, and the hosepipe ban came into force on Friday.  On Thursday night Chris filled up as many containers as he could and made the most of our last night with a hosepipe.  Apparently the ban could last into next year as it's been one of the driest years for a long time.  Climate change!!!

I planted out the leeks into the new raised bed.

We've got some tasty looking lettuce.

The sunflower has flowered.

It won't be long before the peaches are ripe.

The first melon has appeared.

We've got a few marrows already.

The courgettes are coming thick and fast, and I picked another two on Sunday.

Despite Chris assuring me that he doesn't like courgettes, I asked him to give them a chance, and followed a recipe from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook for Italian Stuffed Courgettes.  This was hollowed out courgettes stuffed with fried courgette, tomato, onion and basil filling and topped with chopped capers and melted cheese.  I enjoyed them, but Chris didn't really give them a chance, and just picked the cheese off the top.

For pudding I made rhubarb crumble (fresh off the plot too), and also following one of Mary Berry's recipes (like a normal crumble but made with self-raising wholemeal flour).  Admittedly the rhubarb could have done with a bit more sugar, as it was very tart, but it still tasted lovely and I had a big portion served with custard.

The sweetcorn is thriving and people can't seem to believe how big the plants are.

There's one baby pumpkin growing so far, it's about the size of a tennis ball.  I fed the squashes with some tomato feed to encourage more female flowers, and I'm hand pollinating any that appear.

There's a few baby aubergines on the plants in the greenhouse at home.

Some of the Sungold cherry tomatoes have started to go red so I ate a couple and they tasted spot on.

The cucumbers and melons just keep getting bigger.

So do the tomatoes.

I picked a vase of sweet peas for my Mum who was just back from her holiday.

We've been to view some premises for the shop.   Over £4500 has been raised in shares so far, so it's looking promising that we'll get things off the ground.  

My Revo Pico Radiostation digital/internet radio came on Friday.  I've mostly been listening to BBC 6 Music which is a great station, with none of that commercial rubbish that I can't stand (like Beyonce and Robbie Williams - aaaarrrgh!).  I caught the end of Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Session and he played some great tracks including one called Om by Alan Watts - which I really need to listen to again.  Jarvis makes a great DJ, he's got the perfect voice for it.

I've been craving macaroni cheese all week, so I made this for Friday night's tea.  I opted for the Cotes du Rhone Villages wine, because it's not too pricey and I know I like it.

It was the first meeting of the allotment association on Sunday.  This coincided with plot holder Christina's birthday party.  It wasn't the most well run meeting, as we didn't talk about the allotment association at all, but somehow I still got nominated as secretary.  We did manage to have a nice buffet though and Lynne baked 2 delicious sponge cakes, which may well have been the tastiest Victoria sponges I've ever had.  She uses Delia's recipe and Stork baking spread.

We picked an onion and had a cheese and onion butty down on the plot - very tasty.

On Sunday night I mustered up the energy to give the front and back gardens a thorough water and seaweed feed, and I deheaded all the flowers and tied up the sweet peas which are more than halfway up the fence now.  The garden needs more attention next week, but this was all I had time for this weekend.

Congratulations to our friends Stef and Jo who had a baby girl last week called Ember.  Baby and mum are doing well.  I need to finish knitting the hat for the baby.

I've ordered a Virgin + HD box and it's due to arrive this Friday.  This means we can pick up some HD TV channels, as well as being able to record programmes onto the box.  So we should always have a back up of things we want to watch, rather that just having to watch whatever's on.  It's only costing me a fiver a month extra, so it seems good value.

My new onion hoe and torch arrived from Amazon on Monday night.  I'm hoping the onion hoe will make it easier to weed under the tomatoes, and the torch will help when I'm out in the dark searching for slugs.

My latest book purchase is 'The Permaculture Way'.  I went to visit the permaculture project at Offshoots in Burnley last year and I was really impressed, and I think the ethos of living in a self sufficient way is going to become more and more important in the future.  So I hope this book will help me learn more about designing a lifestyle that follows the principles of permaculture.

Well, I bit the bullet, and I've applied for the Foundation Degree in Ecology and Conservation Management.  I posted my application last week and I'm waiting for them to get back to me to let me know if I've been accepted.  I'm desperate to go back to college and learn something new to improve my career prospects, and this course seems like the best way forward for me.  I'll let you know what they say!

And finally, how cool is this?  The global doomsday seed vault http://www.croptrust.org/main/arcticseedvault.php?itemid=211

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