Happy days! Home grown chillies are back on the menu. My serving suggestion? Best served with anything and everything.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
A few months ago I made an early start in preparing a special bed for pumpkins. I dug a load of horse manure and home made compost into the bed and then I excavated a short trench down the centre of the bed which, over the course of a few weeks, I filled with kitchen waste from home.
We keep a small plastic bucket with a screw-top lid in the kitchen into which we put various bio-degradable fruit & veg off-cuts, peelings, scrapings etc for composting. Each week I would tip the contents of the bucket into the trench and cover with a layer of soil until I was left with a nice mound of rich rotting waste covered in soil down the middle of the bed. Since then I have left the bed, undisturbed, to rot down whilst I have grown the pumpkin plants from seed in the greenhouse.
I had almost forgotten about the pumpkins until this weekend when I noticed them looking slightly pale and pot-bound fighting for light under a canopy of 5ft high tomato plants. Meanwhile the pumpkin bed had become a mass of weeds which were clearly thriving in the nutrient enriched soil.
A few weeks ago I had noticed that amongst the weeds there were two or three bushy growths which looked very much like potato plants. I assumed that there must have been some potato peelings in the kitchen waste from which potato plants had sprouted. I paid no attention to them; as far as I was concerned they were weeds. In April and May when I tenderly wrapped my first earlies and main crop potatoes in fleece I ignored these pumpkin plot invaders. In May and June when I have given an almost daily drenching of water to my official potato bed the pumpkin bed has been left parched. Any weeds which have dared to raise their heads above neat rows of potatoes in the regulation potato plot have been quickly yanked out and thrown onto the compost heap whereas the weeds in the pumpkin bed have just been left to get on with it.
This weekend I removed all the weeds from the pumpkin bed in readiness for planting out the pumpkins and was surprised to find that I have accidentally grown a lovely crop of new potatoes some of which were consumed with my Fathers' Day Sunday dinner today.
It does make me wonder if all the careful preparation of the main potato plot is really necessary. Why bother with the double digging, marking out, trench digging, spacing out, mounding up, wrapping in fleece, watering and weeding when you can get such delicious results by simply chucking a bucket full of kitchen slops into a hole.
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
I have got myself a little part-time self-employed sideline of evening work which has been taking up quite a lot of my time lately. The extra income is coming in useful. If nothing else it is helping to finance the horrific fuel costs for my long commute to my day job. The downside is that opportunities to spend mid-week evenings pottering about on the plot have become few and far between.
Lack of spare time is also the reason why it has been a few weeks since I updated this blog. There are quite a few things that I would have liked to have blogged about but I just haven't found the time to sit down and type up my thoughts.
I was going to tell you about the pesky rabbits that I chase off the plot at 7 o'clock every morning when I stop by to open up the greenhouse.
I was going to tell the tale of how the supermarket grade broccoli, which you may recall the local organic farmer gave to me, has turned out to be cabbage. I was going to talk about the black kale which I have been given and the miraculous health benefits which it is reputed to provide. I was going to weave joyous prose on the subject of my beloved vines which have come back from the brink of death.
I wanted to go off on a journey of speculation as to what my neighbour might be cooking-up with this pipe and bucket arrangement which has appeared on his plot.
I wanted to speak in defence of cucumbers; they are not killers. I wanted to tell you about my potatoes, sprouts, asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, onions, shallots, spring onions, carrots, garlic, leeks, garden peas, sugar-snap peas, beetroot, cauliflowers, courgettes, pumpkins, tomatoes, lettuce, french beans, runner beans, raddishes and chillies, all of which are thriving. I was hoping to share with you the recent glorious allotment sunsets.
But unfortunately I have not found the time to do any of this. However, if my suspicions are correct, I will soon be able to afford to retire from work so that I can spend long lazy days on the plot because I have good reason to believe that there is a pot of gold hidden in my compost box.