Tuesday, 20 July 2010

..... is for Cucumber.

Here's Xanthe's cucumber helpfully teaching her the alphabet. I'm not sure that teaching via vegetables is the way to go though, as it appears to have glossed right over A and B.

Did anyone else tell that silly story as a child, you know, the one that goes "It was a dark, dark night, in a dark, dark house ...." I've adapted it slightly for the allotment, "It was a hard, hard plot, with hard, hard soil in a hard, hard year, watered with hard, hard water by a gardener with hard, hard hands and a hard, hard heart" (all true apart from the heart business)

Our woes have been added to with the discovery that our carrots weren't eaten by carrot fly but by wire worm. A neighbouring plot has lost potatoes to the same pest. Apparently they have a three year life cycle so it could be 3 years before we can successfully grow root vegetables.

However, it's not all bleak. Today I harvested the remainder of our broad beans, we've had about 10 kilos in total so I think that can count as a successful crop. The courgettes and rainbow chard are also cropping well at the moment and the pumpkins, borlotti beans and cavolo nero are coming along nicely too. I am a tad concerned that the sweetcorn isn't growing as quickly as I'd like but fingers crossed.

The courgettes are doing so well that I've been able to kick off the 2010 preserving season with my first batch of courgette pickle (below), hopefully there'll be a few more to come. I've got an exhaustive wish list for this year's preserves, more of which anon but suffice to say I've got my eye on the Rowan berries next .......


  1. Well done Xanthe.

  2. your cucumber is great...I have one about the size of a pickle and that is it....plenty of courgettes and marrows though!!

    Sorry about the carrots...I know nothing about wireworm but if anything crops up I will be sure to let you know.

    Love your story adaptation...think you should get it published!!

  3. Thanks! Went back today and it's got bigger overnight, quite scary really!

  4. Hi Tracey

    I am only a novice gardener but read a lot. How about putting the carrrots in deep planters filled with compost and sand and then surrounded by chive plants. The smell of the chives is meant to drive off the carrot fly if I remember correctly, but at least that way you would be able to get carrots in carefully controlled planting medium. Just a thought until you can get the wire worm under control. I too have my eye n the rowan berries. For the past two years I have wanted to make some rowanberry jelly to use as an additive to gravy to give a little more flavour etc. Mind you seem to have more access to our wild fruits etc living out in beautiful countryside.



  5. Thanks Patty - that's a good idea, I've seen some cheap potato planter bags in our local pound shop so may stock up for next year.

    I haven't tried Rowan jelly yet, we got there a bit too late last year and the berries were going off. The good thing about Rowan though, is that local Authorities tend to use it in their planting so it tends to be prolific in urban areas too.

  6. I shall definitely be following you blog Tracey, it all sounds fascinating and such useful info...I'll let you know how I get on with my 2nd attempt at growing butternut squash...last year it withered away to nothing, this year looks more promising.

  7. I tried butternut squash last year but didn't get anywhere with it. The pumpkins on the allotment are looking much better this year. Have you got any baby fruit yet?