I was lucky enough to speak to the lady in charge of a local community allotment yesterday, and we went over to take a look at it. It’s right by where my (future, hopefully) allotment will be, although it’s four times the size. They have quite a few interesting things growing there -beans, beetroots, potatoes, etc., but they need people to help out from time to time, just to keep on top of the weeds mainly.
That’s where I fit in, of course! I’ve now got a key to this allotment, so the plan is that if I fancy it, I could pop over for an hour or two after work – maybe for longer during the weekends – and just help out a bit. As a reward, I get to take back food! I’m hoping to help dig up some potatoes, as potato digging is one of my very favourite things to do. They seem like a really nice bunch of people at the allotment too, and it’ll be nice to chat more to people from the area, especially about gardening.
On the home (gardening) front, there have been some developments.
Yes. Two out of the three remaining cauliflowers have given up the ghost, and my colleague made me an excellent picture of an angelic cauliflower enjoying the afterlife to console me. They just got eaten by caterpillars (the cauliflowers, not the colleague). I should’ve done more about it earlier on, but ignored the problem until it was too late, really. The remaining cauliflower looks a bit happier, but hasn’t formed a head as the others did, so I’m not sure what will happen to it. Nevermind, though. I’ve reused the former homes of the cauliflowers – two large sacks. One’s got yet more aubergine plants in (I’m hoping to donate some to the community allotment, because I have a ridiculous amount), and one’s attempting to grow spring onions, although the seedlings really don’t look happy at the moment.
The cucumbers, on the other hand, have been doing really well – we’ve had perfect weather for them over the past few weeks here in Northumberland, with bright sun one day and heavy rain the next. The only thing is, when do you pick them? They seem to be getting noticeably bigger each time I check on them. The only advice I found online for when to pick cucumbers was that by the time they started yellowing, it was already too late. Which wasn’t entirely helpful. My colleagues suggested I pick a test cucumber, so I picked the second biggest today:
I think they’re designed for pickling, really, but they taste pretty good in this salad I’m chomping on now. It’s brilliant to be eating the cucumber knowing that you grew it just two metres from where you’re currently sat. Incidentally, I realised I mentioned rarebit in my last post. I don’t want people to get the impression that I exclusively eat rarebit. It’s just that when you spend 50% of your income* on gardening stuff, you sometimes have to eat slightly cheaper meals. Plus it’s delicious.
I planted the Carlingford tubers – their growbags have now been moved ‘downstairs’, outside my front door. There’ll be less sunlight, but it’ll be easier from a watering perspective (if it’s raining, I can just move them out from below the balcony). Plus, it created a lot of much-needed space on the balcony upstairs. My blueberry bush, having quietly done very little for many months, has started to produce a few berries, which I should really eat before the birds get them. I had to go and buy bigger pots for the butterbushes, which I’m HOPING will now get the hint, stop growing massive leaves, and start growing delicious squashes. Oh, and some of the tomatoes have finally started to blush a bit, and even a couple of aubergines have started making an appearance! Which is just as well, really. It’d be embarrassing to accidentally grow 15 aubergine plants and have nothing to show for it.
I’ll hopefully get a good bit more gardening done this weekend, if my other plans, including cleaning my house and going to an antiques fair don’t get in the way (I like to live life on the edge, you see).
*that’s not quite true, thankfully. Not yet.