Tuesday 13 August 2013


It's time to get thorns in your fingers and nettled as you strive to read the awkward blackberries that hide in the most awkward places!

The blackberries do seem to be doing well this year, perhaps the cold, long winter has done them good.

WARNING! If you happen to own a Blackberry, please do not try and make jam with it, it will invalidate the manufacturer's warranty, this is unless the manufacturer invalidates its own warranty by going bust first....

We freeze them until there's enough for jamming (which my wife does to Bob Marley on the Walkman...there's a link there I think...), so it is always as well to check for little caterpillars and spiders before doing so.

Once they've fruited they will get pruned right back, and any stray plants tamed or dug up.

My mum saw blackberries on sale in the supermarket the other day - is there seriously anyone out there that would consider buying blackberries, let alone for nearly £2 for a punnet! Have they not got a hedgerow or patch of waste ground near them or something, or have they become so brainwashed by the supermarkets that they don't even know that blackberries are all over the place and can be picked pretty much at will!

Friday 2 August 2013

Tasks for August

It feels like all we need to do just now is pick and eat!

However, there's still a few things that need to happen to keep the allotment in good order:

1. Weed - some weeds are vaguely useful, for instance we let the poppies grow on as plenty of insects and bees like them.

Some are edible, I have tried Good King Henry but don't like it, however it may surprise you to know that I don't like a lot of salad plants either (others in the family do, as do the guinea pigs!).
I have made dandelion root coffee, and coffee made from the seeds of goose grass, both dried and roasted, crushed and infused. Acorn coffee's good as well, but no oak trees in the allotment!

2. Bordeaux mixture and other sprays - I spray the potatoes with Bordeaux mixture roughly once a fortnight from the end of June, to protect against blight. I use an organic garlic spray on the peas to keep pea moths away and prevent maggots. I have had to use Diphane on the black spot fungus on a pear and an apple tree, even though it's not organic, but I understand it is the only thing that gets rid of it.

3. Water - depending on the weather of course, July was very dry and I think even though they got plenty of watering the potatoes have suffered, and the onions aren't as big or as prolific as last year.

4. Put straw under courgettes, pumpkins and squashes, to protect them from the ground and getting nibbled.

5. I will possibly be putting some late beetroot and carrots in, and it will, by the end of the month be time to think about putting over wintering onion sets and some more broad beans in, as well as garlic.

Harvest time

Some of the vegetables we have been harvesting recently: