TOMATOES

I am very happy with my tomatoes. Most of them are in the greenhouses but some had to be planted outside because I had so many plants. Every seed germinated. As ever, I sowed more – just in case – there was no need this year, but how was I to know?

Anyway, I harvested the first lot the other day and started as I mean to go on – bottling them. Very simply, chopped the tomatoes, put in a small Kashmiri chilli (not very hot, just a hint) and some mixed herbs. Forty minutes in a water bath and all is ready to be used in the winter.

CUCUMBERS AND COURGETTES

My courgettes always did well on the allotment but I am adding cucumbers to the list this year. I have a couple of plants in each greenhouse and they are producing very well. I like munching on a sliced cucumber but there are limits to what I can manage….

and I decided to find something else. After searching I discovered a recipe for ‘quick pickled cucumber‘ and just tried it. Just delicious!

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The next huge harvest are courgettes, every year is the same. I thought I’d like to try something else and after another search found a recipe for fermenting vegetables. I mistakenly thought it to be very complicated. Not this recipe! I will have to be patient, follow the instructions very carefully and try it later. Watch this space.

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I had just enough of the following vegetables: courgettes, dwarf beans, Borloto beans, kohl rabi, courgettes and a small green chili pepper.

 

TOMATOES

It looks like a great harvest is coming – all of a sudden the tomatoes are turning red . These are in the greenhouses so far but I have a number of plants outside, both on the allotment and in the back garden and all are looking very healthy too.

CUCUMBERS

As all my other seeds the cucumbers germinated well in the spring and I had so many plants I had to give some away. But I planted two of them in the greenhouse in the back garden, just two and the harvest so far is amazing. They are the cucumber Perfect – I must remember them for next year, well worth growing. I train them up and then they can run along a string from one end of the greenhouse to the other so any future cucumbers can just hang down.

The biggest one escaped my notice, it was hanging down at the back. I started eating it yesterday, lovely taste and no bitterness. I like eating my cucumbers with the skin on and these are just perfect for it.

I have got more cucumbers in the greenhouses on the allotment, they are just a bit slower, they were planted there later.

WE’RE FULL

This is the final look, for now at least. I have managed to move some seed trays to my overflow plastic greenhouse at the back of the large one, gained more shelf space and placed two more large pots there. Two more tomato plants have a new home.

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The main greenhouse is full to bursting

And to make sure all possible little space and container is used, I have got some first early potatoes in bags in the overflow greenhouse. They are the Swift variety and doing very well.

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RE-ARRANGING

This time it was the turn of the big greenhouse in my back garden. This is where I grow all my seedlings that I later transport to the allotment and either plant them in one of the two greenhouses there or out in the open.

I needed to plant out the aubergines and some tomatoes and peppers so I moved some trays with seedlings into the veranda, ready to be taken to the allotment. The phrase – re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic came to mind. It was just like that but the result is exactly what I was hoping for.

Fortunately I still have some of the large flower pots (that I found when some cannabis growers dumped them), so I filled them with soil and planted some aubergines and a selection of tomatoes.

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As I will move more trays out, I will move more pots in (I still have some in store). I hope for a great harvest.

CATCHING UP

There will be perfect looking gardens and allotments as the gardeners can’t do much else but do the jobs that they tried to ignore. Mine is the case in point.

The drive between our houses was rather full of weeds and it was one of the jobs that I thought – next time when I’m not too busy….

Well, yesterday and the day before were the time I decided to tackle it. There was an amazing load of weeds but I cleared it as best as I could. It looks great, until the next rain and then it will start sprouting. Well, if this situation here is to last a while, I will see to it again.

Under the heading ‘hedging my bets’ came the next task – clearing my little plastic greenhouse that is just behind the big one. It wasn’t meant for growing anything there, just for storing pots, trays etc, to avoid clattering the main greenhouse. It worked but lately it was getting quite difficult to get it. I just about managed to put the trays in and leave it. It was rather cathartic, the space is ready to be used and I did just that. I have got all my first early potatoes there in growing bags and as we’re not going  away any time soon I will be here to keep an eye on them, top them up with more soil and water them.

Cutting down the bamboo is the next job….

18. MARCH

We had another delivery of wood chip yesterday, my friendly tree surgeon has left a truck load of eucalyptus and pine chippings by the allotment front gate. I was hoping for that – after this weekend life will be much more complicated for us oldies. I shall use the proviso – do some exercise or walk, keep away from others – and continue gardening on the farm but shoveling wood chip is another matter. The aroma from the heap was quite medicinal.

The progression of one path renewal. It will make life much easier, no need to cut the grass.

As I had a new supply, I was able to use it on the little paths in one greenhouse and in the net tunnel. I’m very happy with the result.

Now I just have to hope for good weather, the seedlings are doing well in the greenhouse at home.

2. MARCH

After the gales and downpours of the past few weeks it was quite pleasant today working in the sunshine. Blue skies and a gentle breeze, it was a welcome change. Fortunately I have done all my digging already so I could concentrate on maintenance. I managed to finish edging one path, ready for some more wood chip and then started clearing my large patch of raspberries, cutting them down. I usually do it in the autumn but I was too busy last year so left it for now. It will be interesting how they will fruit.

I picked my first rhubarb, not the forced one but the very early one – must be the earliest yet.

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To finish the activities I planted quite a number of lettuce seedlings – iceberg type – in the greenhouses. They should be fine, it feels nice and warm inside. It’ll be nice to have a fresh crunchy lettuce again.

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Another day of work tomorrow, must finish the raspberries and then I will need lots of patience to wait with sowing some more seeds.

ANOTHER STEP

It was another reasonable day, I knew I wanted to do a lot so I started – after breakfast and a nice strong cup of coffee – by going to my local B&Q to get some potting compost. Us oldies get 10% off on Tuesday, only on gardening things though. I got two huge 125 l bags and took them to the allotment.

When I got home there was the small matter of cutting down the rushes in the pond. I have been putting it off but today was the day. Job done, I’m happy.

I have got two greenhouses on the allotment and the work was done in the older one of the two. I put two of the grow bags on the bench there and started filling them up with the compost. To make sure I have got enough I also used a bag of horse muck in each grow bag, to enrich it. These will be used for growing tomatoes – the whole greenhouse will be just tomatoes, the peppers will be in the half of the poly tunnel I am sharing with Simon.

In order to give each tomato plant the best conditions I put some flowerpots with the bottoms cut off in the bed and filled them with the compost too, just to give the tomatoes exactly what they like – deep soil to develop healthy roots.

Also the greenhouse in the back garden is ready, the same arrangement is there.

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If everything grows this year like it did last year I’ll be happy….