Quite a strange week this week, from a weather point of view. As I write this I’m looking out on beautiful sunshine but this morning we had heavy rain (I know this because I was standing in a field trying to sell stuff!) This seems to have been the pattern all week- one minute bright sunshine, the next, storm clouds and downpours. Great for the gardens but not quite so great when you’re trying to enjoy the summer holidays (or stand in a field and sell stuff!)
Unfortunately we’d chosen this week to drive to the coast for a couple of days. Myself, Louis and my mum often take a short break away together in August. This year we chose Worthing in Sussex (a few miles up the coast from Brighton) – no particular reason other than we hadn’t been there before. Our timings could not have been worse! We left on Tuesday morning in glorious sunshine and drove home on Thursday in equally glorious sunshine – the bit inbetween, however was anything but glorious. It rained all day on Wednesday, and I mean ALL DAY – it just didn’t stop. We enjoyed ourselves though, did a bit of shopping, had fish and chips for lunch and wasted some money in an arcade (a visit to the ‘slotties’ is a must when you visit the seaside!)
As ever, the allotment was never far from my thoughts so I was pleased to find this book in a local charity shop. It looks like it has some interesting recipes in it – as you know, I’m always on the look out for recipes for the allotment fruit and veg.
We’d hired a bungalow through Airbnb which was lovely – small but had everything we needed. It did mean we had to tidy up after ourselves and I’m pleased to say I now have photographic evidence of Louis drying and putting away the dishes! Believe me, this doesn’t happen very often.
We’d planned a relaxing couple of days so I took pencils and some paper with me. A few weeks ago I’d bought a beginner’s sketch kit which had 6 sketching pencils and a faint line drawing to use as a guide to draw over. Having had a go with each type of pencil I thought I’d try to copy the picture freehand. This is what I ended up with. The top picture is the faint line drawing and the one underneath is my freehand copy. I haven’t drawn since I was a teenager so I’m actually pleased with how this turned out.
The other really lovely thing about using Airbnb is the personal touches. You don’t get this when you stay in a hotel!
I’d popped to the plot on Monday, knowing I wouldn’t be down there for a couple of days. It was all looking good. I noticed 2 fruit on the strawberry/raspberry plant. I think I’ve decided I’m going to call it the rawspberry plant from now on – bit of a mouthful I know but it was either that or rasrawberry which just sounds silly! I picked one later in the week and I’m slightly disappointed to report it tasted exactly like a strawberry.
I met Michelle on the plot on Friday morning. We spent our time harvesting and weeding. I picked cucumbers, cucamelons, tomatoes, a pepper, rhubarb, blackberries, my first ever (slightly disappointing) rawspberry and Michelle gave me a lettuce from her plot.
Something’s eaten one of my pumpkins. Look at it! It’s been decimated. Whatever’s been at it has had a proper good go although, to be fair it has, at least just stuck to the one pumpkin. It’s super annoying when you find all your strawberries have had just one bite taken out them – why can’t they just eat the whole strawberry rather than a little bit of all of them! It’s infuriating. I did a quick online search to try and find out what might have eaten it and it looks like the most likely culprit is a squirrel – because we don’t see many deer, racoons or woodchucks (the other suggestions) on the allotment! Not sure how I stop it eating my pumpkins. I removed the pumpkin next to the chewed one and it’s now in the shed so at least it won’t be able to start on that one.
The ladders are working well – there’s one small pumpkin growing at the top of the newer ladder. I’ve had to train the stalks up the ladders by weaving them round the legs – it’s taken a fair a bit of manouevering but worth it because it seems to have done the trick and the plants are beginning to grow up the ladders.
The cucamelons and cucumbers are a continual source of joy! I love the tiny telephone cord like tendrils which wind their way round anything that stands still for long enough. The extra wire and piece of metal I installed a couple of weeks ago seem to have worked – the cucamelons are growing up them. We’ve had so many cucumbers I’ve started to give them away as we just can’t eat them all.
The tomato plant was continuing to go rogue! Despite the bamboo canes I’d put in next to it, when I checked it this week it was growing out not up. Michelle to the rescue! Michelle appeared from her shed with a tomato growing support thing. It’s 3 plastic canes with some connecting pieces. I’ve stuck it into the ground around the tomato plant and pulled the stalks up through it. I hope this will encourage it to grow vertically from now on.
Rhubi is flourishing. I’ve harvested quite a lot from her in recent weeks which is noticeable in her size. I’ve started to notice thicker stalks coming through though so I think the thinning out I did a few weeks back was the right thing to do. I made another rhubarb crumble cake with her for the cafe this week. This is becoming a firm favourite and, after some feedback I added a lot more rhubarb this time.
I couldn’t work out why, in mid August I feel like there’s not really much to do on the plot at the moment. Chatting to Michelle I realised it’s because we haven’t had to do much watering. We’ve had so much rain we haven’t had to worry about making it down to the allotment to water every day. While this is great it does mean more weeds and, although not massively obvious in the photos I’m a bit ashamed of how weedy my plot is at the moment – something I must tackle next week…or maybe the week after!
Here’s how I left the plot this week. Another short break for us this week – this time to visit my sister and brother in law in Norfolk. Here’s hoping the weather is a bit better than our time in Worthing.