Week 27 – Booths and Brussel Sprouts

We’ve spent most of the last week oop north (you have to say it like that – I checked)

Unsurprisingly, it rained – a lot. This did mean, though that I wasn’t worrying about my plants not having enough water.

We had a lovely few days at my sister’s. Louis enjoyed seeing his cousins – although all three of them are at an age where they simply acknowledged each other on our arrival and then all buggered off to separate rooms to play on their respective electronic devices. Aah – teenagers!

While I was there my sister introduced me to a lovely supermarket called Booths. It’s in Ilkley and imagine, if you can, Waitrose but just a tad posher. They sell these amazing fabric shopping bags. My sister had previously given me one as a present which I use as my gardening bag (what do you mean you don’t have a gardening bag??) and I wanted another one. I ended up buying four. Three for me and one for our friend, L. who, not only appreciates a well proportioned shopper but is also a huge fan of puns.

We drove home Thursday afternoon – not a great journey (I would argue any journey that involves almost the whole length of the M1 is never going to be great!) but we made pretty good time. We had a meeting on Thursday evening (yes, it was in the pub) so I didn’t make it to the plot until Friday. I popped down on Friday afternoon. I didn’t spend very long down there. I just did a quick weed and water and harvested another marrow (I’m running out of people to give them to!)

Today was a better day. I walked down to the plot just after lunch and spent a good couple of hours down there. I finally started digging again today. What with holidays, the wedding and all the harvesting, it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to spend digging. I didn’t actually do as much as I’d hoped but it was a start. I’m still working my way along next to the carrot and parsnip bed. Lots of bricks and rubble – no surprise there. What was a surprise though was a huge, heavy, metal object that a very helpful follower on Instagram identified as a tamper to tamp the soil when filling in a hole. It was really bulky and heavy and, not only did I struggle to lift it but it also broke my fork! I am absolutely not looking forward to carrying it to the car to transport it to the tip and I can totally understand why someone buried it rather than remove it.

My poor fork!

And this was all I managed to dig.

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I think my heavy ‘pruning’ of the squashes and courgettes may have caused a bit of a problem. I’m not convinced I’ve actually killed them but they’re not looking too great. I have a horrible feeling I may have done irrepairable damage. Having said that, they haven’t stopped their slow progress across the path towards Rhubi so maybe they’ll be ok?

I have a pear. A single, solitary pear (not even a pair of pears!) I have absolutely no idea what variety my pear tree is which makes it almost impossible to work out when it should produce fruit. According to the internet, it should fruit any time from mid August (Bartlett pear) to mid October (golden spice pear). So, I’m left wondering is this an early pear and there are more to come? Or, is it an on time pear and the tree is only going to produce one pear? If it does produce only one pear – why? and what the hell am I going to do with a lonely pear?!

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The brussel sprouts are a total catastrophe. AA suggested Cabbage White caterpillars as the nibbling culprits. I’m going with his far greater knowledge and expertise on this one. He told me (after the event!) I should have covered the plants with netting. Not much good now – the caterpillars have had their fill and, according to google are probably comfortably pupating on the fence or my shed by now. I have taken the opportunity to read up on how to prevent them in the future and it seems I need to cover the plants with netting and plant nasturtiums close by as a decoy.

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The peppers are doing much better than the brussel sprouts.

The sunflowers are just lovely. Still not very tall and the taller of the two still hasn’t flowered. I’m looking forward to being able to show you them when they both flower. Really happy to see a bee on the shorter of the two today.

I harvested some carrots today. None of them were particularly big but I’m ok with that. I planted them very late and I didn’t thin them out so I’m just happy they’ve grown atall. Due to not thinning them out I may have lots of small carrots instead of fewer, bigger carrots. Next year, I promise I’ll be better at this gardening lark!

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Rhubi is looking lovely! Considering she was the very first thing I planted I really feel like she’s the one thing I’ve got right. She’s growing well and I think I chose a good spot for her.

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I had a look at the shared plot. So many veggies growing. The aubergines look wonderful – definitely something I want to grow on my plot next year.

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Some of our tomatoes have turned red. I didn’t pick any – I’ll wait until I see Dan as I don’t want to take them before they’re ready. We really are going to have a lot of tomatoes!

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The leeks and onions look great. Again, these are plants I want to grow on my plot next year. I cook with leeks and onions all the time so it makes sense to grow them. I’m definitely not going to grow so many courgettes next year!

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When I had finished at the plot I popped to the local garden centre and bought a new fork. I know I didn’t need to but the bent one was annoying me. I tried to bend it back again but it wouldn’t budge. I’m sure I’ll manage to straighten it out at some point (or I’ll cajole someone stronger than me to do it) but for now it can sit in the shed and I’ll use my lovely new one. While I was at the garden centre I was sorely tempted to buy the special hoe that Dan leant me a while back but I managed to resist (next time!)

Another week where I feel like I haven’t achieved very much.  Louis went off on a canal boat holiday on Saturday – he’s away all week so I’m hoping to be able to work on the plot every day next week and make some real progress. I’m already thinking about what the plot will look like next year – I think I need to make a plan!

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