Thursday, 16 July 2015

An allotment wonder list...

I got to spend some quality time on the plot today and spent most of it just staring at things with a mix of awe and bemusement. The autumn flowering raspberries confused me because I'm pretty sure it's only July but there's definitely fruit on it already...not that I'm complaining!

 I have no idea how my borlotti beans that only a few days ago looked like they just might not bother, have suddenly shot to the top of their supports and now look pretty annoyed that there's nothing for them to get to the moon on...


My pea plants have literally fallen over themselves with the number of pods. It's been lovely to be able to give them straight to small boy to eat like sweets though I'm still not sure he'd choose them over chocolate:)(what am I saying.. of course he wouldn't, he's 4 and he's my son!)

I got very excited when I saw this beautiful's quite small still and the leaves have been got at so it's not perfect, but to me it very first Romanesco broccoli. Think I might be growing it for the wrong reasons...I don't want to eat it....just to admire it's spiralling symmetry;)

This is also a first for first artichoke starting to form on a plant that I grew from seed last year. I have 4 plants and they are all getting huge. I knew they were big plants so I've given them plenty of room but it's like when you realise your children aren't little any more when they invite their friends round and suddenly your house is filled with teens, they take over and their shoes in the hall are just enormous. My artichokes have become teenagers, they just don't talk to me any more!

My asparagus peas which I have brought home proudly then realised quite quickly that I haven't a clue how to cook them and neither has any of our vast collection of recipe books! If you look up recipes online for them you get recipes for asparagus and peas...not helpful! I'm just going to simply steam them I think and have them with a tiny amount of butter. many ladybirds! I can only think it's why the blackfly that had just discovered my broad beans suddenly, mysteriously disappeared. It's like when I was little in the summer of '76...sounds like the start of a song...don't worry it isn't;)...all I can remember (because I was quite young...honestly) were the ladybirds, they were everywhere, literally because I loved to collect them in jars (to the horror of my grandmother) so they were in the house, my bedroom at school...everywhere....I sometimes forgot to put the lids back on. I'm really happy to see them on my plot and they are the ladybirds from my childhood...little black legged, 7 spotted ones, not those enormous harlequin ones with the brown legs. It amazes me how those funny ugly little juvenile bugs become the instantly recognisable adults. Every time I lifted a leaf today I found the remains of the pupae sometimes with the adult newly emerged right by. I still find them fascinating but I might just keep my empty jars for jam;)   

My beautiful but spikey Borage...I wouldn't be without it, even though brushing passed it to get to the peas is not such a lovely experience! You can eat the flowers, I'm quite tempted to freeze them into ice cubes...they'd look great in a mojito;) Lots of flowers, lots of ice, lots of mojito...what's not to love?

My celeriac was a bit of a disaster last year, they just never formed the bulbs and I left them for such a long time ever hopeful. In fact I've left them so long that they have turned into, not really but they look very similar and now they have flowered. They look quite spectacular actually and they are buzzing with all kinds of insect life so I will leave them until the flowers fade. They might not have fed me but they are now feeding plenty of others, not such a disaster after all;)

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Picnics with tea and...frogs...

I had one of those days yesterday which just make you happy. It started with a picnic on my allotment with all the people I work with. I'm very lucky to work with a great team with the added bonus that they can all cook really well too:) so we had some great food, not a dry cheese sandwich in sight! Must admit I was a bit worried when the idea was first suggested about having a picnic on the allotment...where are they going to sit without getting stung by nettles or throttled by bindweed? Shouldn't have worried, we smothered the weeds with Chelle's beautiful quilt (there's no way if it was mine that I'd let it out into the dirty outdoors!) They were also lovely enough to be very complimentary about my little plot that has been quite seriously neglected lately (it needs more than the few snatched hours I've had recently). It is bursting with peas an beans though which made me very happy, they obviously don't mind a bit of neglect...and my first asparagus pea pods are forming which I'm ridiculously excited about trying. There is one bonus of having a bit of a wilder plot...the wildlife, in a past post I excused my long grass as being a haven for frogs, and what should I find today in my long grass frogs!

We went from our picnic to a tea tasting session at the truly fabulous Birdhouse Tea Company in Nether Edge and had a great time tasting some loose leafed teas I would never have considered trying, I'm just ever so slightly suspicious of flower petals in tea. It's a lovely shop and Rebecca knows her tea...she's got me drinking something called Milk Oolong, pretty sure not many people could do that and it's delicious;)

As we were leaving Amy just happened to look into her bag...and found...a baby frog! He must have crawled in thinking it was a great place to hide out of the sun, not sure he was as impressed with his unexpected journey and ending up miles from home in a shop of tea. So me and daft dog had a great excuse to go back to the allotment and release him by his pond. He jumped so quickly out of sight I never got a photo of him but I'm glad to know that there are most definitely frogs on my plot even though they've got a bit of growing to do before they can help tackle the slugs!