Week 29 – Peppers and Plans

This week, in the UK we had a bank holiday. Bank holidays are, traditionally rainy (despite the fact lots of them happen during the summer months) but, as Brits we are quite used to a bit of rain and we, generally don’t let it put us off. We had planned to spend this bank holiday at a vegan fair in St Albans and, following on from the wonderful summer we’ve had this year, the weather was looking very un-bankholiday-ish so it would have been a lovely day out. However, by 11am I had a headache so bad it had me crawling back to bed. I think it was a lack of caffeine headache (I hadn’t had any for a couple of days and I normally drink A LOT of caffeine)but the pain was so bad I was worried, at one point about not yet having written a will! The headache subsided a bit during the day but didn’t really go until Tuesday afternoon. This is my incredibly long winded way of explaining why I didn’t get to the plot until later in the week! However, despite the disappointing start I’m quite happy with what I have achieved this week.

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Firstly, I’ve finally covered the brussel sprouts. A friend, who moved house recently gave me some gardening bits n bobs including a small polytunnel. If I’m honest I thought it would just sit in the shed until someone showed me how to use it but, I decided I just couldn’t leave the christmas brussels to the ravages of the caterpillars anymore so I dug it out from the back of the shed and set about putting it together (I even looked at the instructions!) I’m actually really pleased with the result. I didn’t use the plastic covering  that came with the polytunnel (it had holes in it which I was sure even a butterfly could work out how to get through.) I’d bought some garden fabric the last time I was at The Range so I used that instead. The polytunnel came with plastic ties to secure the covering but, as an ex girl guide I’m much happier with tent pegs (which I also happened to have in the shed!) I can’t tell if it’s doing its job yet but I can say I haven’t seen any cabbage white butterflies in there and I’ve watered the brussels and the structure has remained upright so that’s all I can ask from it at this stage. Home grown brussel sprouts for christmas dinner is looking more and more likely.

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I am super excited to tell you one of our peppers has turned orange! How cool is that? Genuinely, this is more than I could have hoped for. It’s only one pepper so far but, hopefully the rest will follow suit. I have started to give them plant food, as instructed by Julie in the hope it will encourage them all to keep growing and ripening. I know it’s difficult to see because it’s right in the middle of the plant but it’s definitely there.

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I totally forgot to mention mine and Dan’s tomato harvest last week. The tomato plants on the shared plot became so heavy they were falling onto the carrots (poor carrots  – on my plot they’re invaded by squashes and on the shared plot they’re squashed by tomatoes) I had no idea what to do with them so Dan rescued them and harvested a huge box full. Quite a few were stilll green and have been ripening on our windowsills and Dan’s shed. Dan took this cracking shot of them in his kitchen.

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We harvested another batch today which are, again ripening in my kitchen. I’ve tasted the ones from last week and, I have to say they taste bloody amazing – much nicer than any I’ve tasted from the supermarket.

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Having seen loads of people on Instagram posting photos of all the half price seeds they’ve been buying I thought I’d join in. So when we popped into The Range the other day I had a look at their (half price) seeds. I’ve made the decision, next year I am only growing vegetables we eat.  I know that sounds weird (why would you grow things you’re not going to eat, right?) but in the 6 months of having my plot I’ve discovered allotmenteers like to grow things just to see if they can, regardless of whether they like them (hence why I’ve been trying to give away marrows for most of the summer!) So, with this in mind, we bought onion, leek, parsnip, pumpkin and cauliflower seeds. I’m going to try not to over buy seeds (we all know I will!) but I would also like to grow some more potatoes and some aubergines and cucumbers if there’s room.

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All of the above, obviously depends on me cracking on with the digging. Aah – digging. That really interesting subject I love to write about and you can’t wait to read about. It’s even more boring this week, if that’s possible as there have been no interesting finds. No shoes (is that the end of them?!) no building equipment, no dead bodies (seriously, I really wouldn’t be that surprised!) nothing except bricks, stones and bind weed roots.

I’ve continued to dig along from the squash and courgette bed. I hit the point on the plot where I felt the path should go (it felt like the natural walkway) so I had to make a decision to either carry on digging across the path and into the extension or start digging somewhere else. I spoke to Dan today about the path predicament and, as expected he came up with the answer. Now he’s pointed it out, it’s completely obvious. Where I wanted to put the path would have left me with quite a small, unmanageable patch at the back of the plot. With just a couple of suggestions from Dan I now have a plan which I think leaves me with an easy to manage plot. I just need to keep digging.

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As per Dan’s suggestions I am going to widen the pepper and brussel sprout beds so I’ve moved across and started digging there. I made good progress – in just a couple of hours I’ve extended the length and width of the bed and created a line to continue digging to.

In the last 2 days the taller sunflower has flowered. It’s now taller than the shed roof and it looks wonderful.

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Rhubi, I think is just getting a bit cocky now! She’s starting to produce enormous leaves and grow quite high. I’m really hoping I’ve left her enough space. I think I have but I thought I’d given the courgettes and squashes enough space and look what happened there!

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We’ve had some gorgeous sunsets this week and I’ve seen a couple on the allotment.

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This is how I left the plot last week…

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…and this is how I left it this week. Not a huge amount of change but even a small amount of progress is still progress!

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One thought on “Week 29 – Peppers and Plans

  1. How do you think that your climate compares to the Pacific Northwest? The weather seems to be similar, and even the abnormal weather seems to match the abnormal weather for the Pacific Northwest. Washington and Oregon do not get as much rain as most outsiders think they do, but almost everyone who lives in there happens to live in the rainiest parts. Even Seattle gets quite a bit of rain because it is west of the Cascades. (Seattle gets more rain then the east coast of the Olympic Peninsula that is just a few miles to the west, right across Puget Sound).

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