25. JUNE

When I went to the allotment last time I noticed that some raspberries were turning pink. I knew it would be just a few days before another harvest would begin. I was correct. I think I had the last of the strawberries, I had only a small box so when I finished I took the nets off, leaving the beds exposed for the birds to help themselves.

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The loganberries are getting going as well but I’m not going to use them to  make jam, we’ll eat them as I pick them. They are delicious, we have them on our porridge or even as a topping on a sponge tray bake.

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Finally it was the raspberries’ turn.

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The final result was two kilo of the delicious berries and by the evening I had another lot of jam ready.

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20. JUNE

Today was going to be a harvesting day and I’m very pleased with the result. I have a little routine when I get to my allotment. First I open my four greenhouses to get some fresh air in, perhaps water the plants if it looks like a hot day ahead and then start the real tasks I had in mind. This was exactly what happened in the morning. As soon as the greenhouses were done I started harvesting the currants, red and white ones. Both bushes are in the fruit cage, safe from thieving birds so I don’t have to hurry picking the fruit. I picked two large boxes of the red currants and one of the white ones. I already had a big bowl of gooseberries at home, they were from yesterday. I always try to thin the fruit on the bushes so in the end I get some nice large gooseberries. This took most of the morning and I was quite glad to lock up and go home.

Picking the fruit was one task, the next one was removing the stalks and weighing it ready for jam  making. In the end I have a lovely lot of red currant and gooseberry jam, the white currants are so delicately flavoured I don’t make anything out of them just freeze them loose, put in a freezer bag to be enjoyed in the winter.

19. JUNE

Only one more week and we shall  have the summer solstice – where is the time gone??

After the brief heat wave we had some rain yesterday and I was very glad, because not only the vegetables liked it but the weeds did too, even more. Today in the morning I had another weeding session in the same place that I did not too long ago. On the positive note though I was able to harvest my very first broccoli and enough new potatoes to have for lunch tomorrow.

This is my first time growing broccoli, I grew the plants from seed and they all look very healthy. The potatoes were just some that my friend had from last year, he didn’t have any more space to plant them so I gave them a good home on my plot. I’m looking forward to our lunch tomorrow.

11. JUNE

A few days ago I decided I would pick my strawberries every second or third day. Today was the third day so I took my empty boxes to the allotment with the view to pick some strawberries. Well, the boxes were filling up so fast I had to go and search in my shed for some more. I was lucky, found one with a lid,  quite a good size as well. It felt I have been picking for ages. After that I just had enough strength to water my four greenhouses and the sweet potato plants, pick a few rhubarb sticks for the tasty crumble and then staggered home. I knew the harvest was good, the bags were heavy but I didn’t expect 7,6 kilo!

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It was a very easy decision – more jam to make and tomorrow I will make a tray bake. It is a sponge base with strawberries evenly placed on tom. It is delicious and any fruit can be used, it was nice with pieces of rhubarb too.

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Another 12 jars of lovely jam. From the farm into the jars in a few hours, not bad.

9. JUNE

Yesterday was a day that we missed for the last two years – the annual meeting of the Allotment society, the AGM and financial report and the most important prize presentation. I was delighted to finish in second place in the annual city-wide competition. I think the next step will be just one category – gardeners, not women and men. A lot of us can more than match men when it comes to digging and growing. Never mind that, my second place is great and that will be my last time of entering, I’ve done it –  came first in newcomers and a few years ago first in the women category, second yesterday, that’ll do just fine. It was a nice evening, the Lord Mayor was presenting the prizes. He and his wife both have an allotment so he can appreciate how much effort goes into keeping a well tended allotment.

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There was an official photographer so eventually I’ll have a photo with the Lord Mayor as well. Apart from the cup I got a cheque for £50, that will go towards buying the seeds for next year.

3. JUNE

I started picking strawberries a few days ago. It started with a few every other day, then a small punnet and today was just amazing. I could see that I’ll have a very good harvest so I didn’t pick any during the last few days. It was worth the wait.

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This lot was just over four kilos. I took two boxes with me in the morning, they filled up quickly so I had to hunt around in the shed for more. I keep no end of things there and found a couple more boxes so I was able to pick all the red strawberries.

The plan was to make one batch of jam and I’m happy to say that we have got 15 jars of beautiful strawberry jam.

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It couldn’t be any more fresh – from the field into the jar within a few hours.

30.MAY

I have decided to visit my allotment with my grandson Jay who is staying with us with his Dad for a few days. He was going to be my official photographer there to make sure we show the plots in the best light possible. I don’t very often include flowers and he took a good number of pictures of all the different flowers I have there.

The day started very well, we went to Kenilworth castle and had an enjoyable morning there. The weather was just right and we were able to explore everywhere.

It is an atmospheric place and I could just imagine how it was in the bygone days. Their gardens are beautifully restored using plants that were growing then.

 

25. MAY

The plan for today was just to go to the allotment to see how the transplanted squashes and courgettes were doing and perhaps just water everything in the greenhouses. With four of these it takes a while but as I did it rather well the other day it didn’t take too long. I wanted to see how the tomatoes are doing and I was very pleasantly surprised that I have a couple of little green ones.

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Not only that, the strawberries are better than ever this year, not sure what I did but it certainly suited them. We’ve already had some over the last few days and they are very sweet and juicy

On my return home I had a very pleasant surprise, a parcel from the Wormcity people. My friend Jill gave me a wormery that she wasn’t going to use and said that the worms have died . I was pleased to get this, it was easy enough to find it online and order some more, also another tier for the whole structure. It didn’t take long to put it all together and now I have a very nice looking wormery.

There ate specific instructions on how to get going, how to set it all up so now I hope the worms are happy under their layer of shredded paper with a handful of their special food. Time will tell how they are getting on.

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23. MAY

Work goes on on the allotment, everything is thriving. I have been moving the seedlings from my big greenhouse in the back garden and planting them where I could find some space. Yesterday I have cleared the weeds from my little orchard in front of the shed – yet again! It feels like painting the Forth bridge – I finish the job and could start all over again. I had just enough space to plant my butternut squash seedlings between the trees, also some pale green courgettes and bush courgettes beside my latest apple tree. Saturday morning myself and Dave went to Bedworth to get some more horse muck – you can’t have enough of this stuff – so I was able to put it in every hole I got ready, it is perfectly well rotted down.

I was leaving my plot when I noticed a swarm of bees hanging on my little apple tree. We’ve had a number of them recently and I’m always amazed how beautiful it looks. The bees were just sitting there, all I heard was a quiet humming noise. 

I phoned Wayne but didn’t wait for him, he can get to our site through his little gate and pick them up.

13. MAY

Today after breakfast myself and Frank went to Barton Green, a part of Coventry I’ve never been to. All this because I was searching on the internet where I could find some horse muck around Coventry. I used to go to a lovely place just on the edge of town, on the way to Fillongley but they have moved and there are houses being built there. What a waste of a beautiful field! As I was searching a facebook page suddenly appeared, appropriately named Muck and Manure UK. A very nice lady called Maria said I could come over today and that’s exactly what we did. Managed to fill nine large sacks of composted horse manure, ready to be used, all for the princely sum of £1 per sack.

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It is not going to last very long, by the afternoon I have already used one large sack, put it in my little tomato enclosure that I created yesterday.

After this job came my usual one – weeding. I have got an excellent tool for this called Nunki weeder. It is very good, glides through the soil like a knife through butter and a large area is done almost effortlessly in no time at all. Because of the design it doesn’t damage the young plants at all.

The last job on the farm was just to water the greenhouses and go home. Everything looks great, the tomatoes are ready to flower and there will be some pears on my two pear trees.