Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The British weather .....

never ceases to amaze me, no wonder we spend all our time talking about it! A week ago on Sunday we were shivering in our winter woollies with temperatures of about 13c. This Sunday just gone, it was on with the sunscreen and seek out a bit of shade, as the temperature reached 26c!

The really cold May means that plants on the allotment seem to be about a month behind. The rocket potatoes, which should take about 10 weeks from planting to harvest are nowhere near ready. However, the recent hot weather means everything is growing and the plot is changing almost daily. These photos were taken a few days ago, but already things have grown!

Monday, 21 May 2012


The rhubarb seems to have enjoyed the wet weather we have had recently and has produced a bumper crop. Lots of rhubarb therefore to make some delicious desserts. Firstly, crumble - can there be an easier or more delicious pud?! Secondly, rhubarb with orange, ginger and vanilla ricotta cream. Sweeten ricotta cheese with icing sugar to taste then flavour with vanilla paste, orange zest and a little juice and some finely chopped stem ginger. Serve with the cooked rhubarb.
Whilst the rhubarb has flourished, the gooseberries on the other hand have suffered from the damp and have a bad attack of mildew - really not sure what to do about it, except maybe hope for a better crop next time.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

ne'er cast a clout till may is out

I should have heeded the old country saying, for as it turns out I was too hasty in planting out the bean seedlings and four of them have succumbed to the very cold nights we've been having.
However, all is not lost, as one advantage of having an allotment next to a recycling centre is that from time to time we are able to pick up useful items for next to nothing and a while ago we got an old window which mr digandweed 'upcycled' into a cold frame. I had left some spare pots with bean seeds in them in the cold frame and had forgotten about them as nothing seemed to be happening, however, when I looked a few days ago they had germinated and produced lovely little plants so I now have some spare plants to replace the lost ones!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

the accidental melon

On closer examination, I realised that the courgette plant bought from the garden centre was in fact a melon! A  sweetheart, charentais type to be precise - the result of being in too much of a rush!
On discovering this, numerous questions quickly sprang to mind. Would a greenhouse be required? How to grow - along the ground or up canes and would I need an old bra to support the maturing fruits?
Some time spent researching on the internet gave the following answers:
no greenhouse necessary although a cloche of some sort might prove handy. The sweetheart melon has been bred specifically for colder climates apparently.
along the ground/ up canes- my choice
and no I probably wouldn't need an old bra.
Armed with this knowledge and brimming with optimism, I am viewing this as a fortuitous mistake and will give it a go. After all, mr digandweed and myself are very fond of melon.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

frosts in may?

Worried that I may have been premature with planting out my bean seedlings, we took a trip down to the allotment yesterday to check on them, but all seems well. The rocket potatoes are doing well and the charlotte and maris piper are also poking through. The spring onion, beetroot and spinach seeds that I planted before Easter are slowly showing. Progress seems very slow- it can't be lack of rain so it must be the cold! But there is a hint of summer to come, with lots of flowers on the strawberry plants.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

runners and climbers

A small window of opportunity yesterday in the form of some dry, sunny weather, allowed a trip down to the allotment. Mr digandweed lived up to his name and did a spot of weeding, although the unseasonably cold weather means that even the weeds seem to have somewhat given up. I planted some bean seedlings ( a climbing french bean blue lake and a runner bean galaxy ) which were getting very leggy whilst waiting patiently on the windowsill at home. Today, the 1st May and it is back to the rain and although we badly need it, all this rain is beginning to get a bit dreary.