Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Summer on the Vegetable Patch.

I am sad tonight. But I am not going to bore you with the ongoing saga of teenage bolshiness. Instead I am going to bore you with share with you some news of my vegetable patch. There you go.

We are currently bathing in the delicious warmth of a summer sun I thought had gone away forever. With the grey skies and cold temperatures banished for now my allotment is waking up and beginning to flourish.

Not long ago the earth was hard and cold, hostile to seeds and seemingly sterile. With the glorious summer weather the soil has turned to rich, warm chocolate that nurtures new plants and smells of happiness. I tell my husband that I have to go down there to water or weed or plant. I guiltily make it sound like a chore ... but really its a joy. The vegetable patch is the place I go to be alone with the sun and the breeze and the birds and the bees.

Especially the bees ... how many types are there? There seem to be so many. Just behind my compost heap is a bees nest now. I don't know what type of bees, but they live in the mound, bumbling in and out of tiny tunnels and buzzing drunkenly to the raspberry flowers, oblivious to everything but their love of nectar.

I have learnt so much this year so far. I bought a pot of leeks from the garden centre, planted them, but realised something was wrong. Having spoken to my allotment angel Len I learnt how to set them. (That is a technical term I like to drop into a conversation ... setting seeds, setting leeks ... ) 

I dug up the big clumps, separated them and then pinched out the roots and stems. Then I laid them out as you can see above. With my dibber I made a hole, held the leek in it, poured water onto the earth around and there it was, bobs your uncle, planted.

The scent of leeks ... oniony and rich was delicious. I can't wait for the time when they will emerge from my oven, bubbling in a cheesy sauce, sweet and tasty.

One of the clever things Len has taught me this year is how to make a cheap frame for my netting. He looked at my neat, garden centre bought hoops that cost a fortune and suggested canes and hose pipe ... I tried it for my Brussel Sprouts ...

In the net tent above I didn't have enough netting to create a box shape, but the canes still allow for a much higher enclosure than hoops. This gives the plants more room to grow. You just use a short length of hose pipe to connect canes as you can see above. Its so very simple!!

Autumn Gold raspberry ... yellow when ripe ... sweet & delicious.

red currants

Everything is starting to look tasty. My fruit bushes are heavy with jewel-like redcurrants and raspberries and the gooseberries and blackcurrants are starting to emerge shyly from the foliage.

Lettuces and courgettes are green and succulent, while my sweet corn and butternut squash are just beginning to wake up and think about putting on a show...

As I said, going to my allotment gives me peace and time to think. There is something about dipping my watering can into the trough again and again, plodding up and down the grassy path to water my plants, that gives me great satisfaction. I took my son down there the other afternoon and we worked together watering and weeding. It was wonderful. I cherish moments like that. I just wish they came more often.


Peg said...

WOW!! your allotment is looking flourishing well done! All the hard work pays off doesn't it. I love how you describe the veg and fruit I can actually taste them. I miss being able to garden I used to love it. I enjoyed your post so much.

Thank you for sharing.

Peg xx

David Kehoe said...

You can sell your Courgette flowers to posh restaurants or astound your family with tempura battered flowers yourself.

Older Mum said...

That is looking fabulous - you are going to have a bumper crop. Those lettuce leaves are so plump!

Urban Cynic said...

Gorgeous. The weather has been lush lately so hopefully they're doing a whole lot of growing! Your Fast Diet post is popular huh?

Inkling said...

Oh, Sarah, I get so much peace and joy and inspiration when you write about your allotment. The netting solution with the canes and hoses is brilliant! Thank you for sharing, as I will definitely have to try that!

My spinach is bolting, sadly, but most everything else is doing okay. I've been sick with pneumonia for the past few weeks, so today was the first I could visit my own little plot at a friend's farm. She has kept it alive for me, and her stepfather was kind enough to stake my beans. Our black raspberry bush in our own backyard had a beautiful harvest this year - not enough to really make anything, but plenty for eating fresh. Gardening always suprises me with its healing power. I don't think I'll ever grow tired of it. Even when I fail and a plant dies or doesn't produce well, it still always feels so worth it. It's like we're making the world a better place just by digging in the dirt and loving on our earth. And I suspect it loves back on us in some magical way.