For those of you paying attention you may have noticed there was no blog last week. I normally write the blog on Sunday afternoon and publish it either Sunday evening or first thing Monday morning. Unfortunately, last Sunday I didn’t have the energy to even pick up a pen (yes, I go old school and actually write out my thoughts before typing them up) I’d been feeling pretty low all week and by Sunday I was, pretty much unable to function and spent the day in bed. The problem with depression (one of the problems!) is, despite me being fully aware a walk down to the allotment and a few hours spent pottering would do me the power of good (it’s one of the reasons I have an allotment) it’s almost impossible to muster up the motivation to get myself down there when I’m feeling low. I’m feeling much better this week and I have 2 week’s worth of allotment news to tell you about.
The first thing I feel I must tell you is I am writing this while drinking rhubarb gin! Yes, it’s finally ready! I removed the rhubarb this week and was left with a glorious pink liquid which, I have to tell you, is bloody lovely. I even have some allotment grown cucamelons in it. As a volunteer at a food waste cafe I was loathed to throw away the gin infused rhubarb so I made a cake with it. I took it to the cafe to share with the volunteers (obviously I couldn’t put it out for the customers) and it was a roaring success – just hope they don’t expect gin rhubarb cake every week. There was even a piece left for me to have a cheeky slice in bed on Saturday night while watching Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing – don’t tell me I don’t know how to live!
Rhubi is looking good. She’s still producing lovely thick stalks.
This time of year is pretty quiet on the allotment in terms of jobs that need doing. Obviously it’s super busy when it comes to harvesting and in the last 2 weeks we’ve had 7 cucumbers, 4 pumpkins, 6 peppers, spinach, pears, rhubarb, cucamelons, strawberry/raspberries, a few tomatoes and over 7kg of potatoes. Not bad for someone who’d never planted anything 2 years ago.
Last week we made pumpkin soup using a pumpkin we’d harvested that morning. Louis helped, not only pick the pumpkin but also make the soup. We both had some for lunch – it was very nice (and I’m sure it tasted better knowing it was made using one of our pumpkins)
Louis goes back to college tomorrow. It’s been a long summer holiday (11 weeks) and I think we’re both ready to return to a normal routine. We’ve tried to make the most of the last week of the holidays so on Monday we spent the day at Woburn Safari Park. Louis has an annual pass and we’ve been countless times over the years. It’s always a great day out but this time was, from my point of view one of the best because a Red Kite landed in a tree directly in front of us. I absolutely love Red Kites. So much so, when I drive through the lion enclosure I spend more time looking up at the Kites than I do at the lions. So this was a real thrill for me to be able to capture these close up shots, then watch it take off.
We also visited a sunflower farm which was something we’ve never done before. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we spent the morning wandering through a sea of sunflowers with allotment helper no 2 and his 2 year old sister – I’m not sure life gets much better than that!
I spent a few hours on the plot this afternoon – the longest time I’ve spent down there for a while now and it felt nice to be back. I mainly spent my time weeding. It felt like the weeds were taking over so I’m pleased I was able to spend a couple of hours really tackling them – and as an added bonus it was sunny.
I noticed this in my strawberry patch. You could be forgiven for thinking it’s a strawberry plant but it’s not, it is infact a plant called Blue Mallow which is definitely a weed and poisonous (according to my PlantNet app which I used to identify it) So I dug it up. Which took a lot more time and effort than I thought it would because the root on this thing was huge (obviously helped by me leaving it to grow for weeks)
The other thing I did today was prune the tomato plant – another plant which has not benefitted from being ignored for weeks. There were shoots everywhere, so I went a bit bonkers with the secateurs. I may have got a bit carried away because I took a lot of greenery off it. Inevitably I managed to lop off a stem that had baby tomatoes on it but I think it was just the one so, overall not so bad. It looks so much better now – much more manageable. There are quite a lot of tomatoes on there, I just wish they’d hurry up and turn red.
I think I may have killed the spinach. It’s looking very sorry for itself. I suspect it’s lack of water but I gave it all a good soaking today so it may well perk up.
Still lots more pumpkins to harvest and I haven’t even started picking the squashes yet.
The taller of the 2 sunflowers is now very tall and we have a sunflower head. So, I’m holding out hope we’ll see it open while it’s still summer.
This is how I left the plot. Feeling much more positive this week – ready to tackle any lingering weeds!