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Peas, Brassica, Comfrey and New People on the Allotment

Today was a break in the rain, although not quite as the weatherman described on the radio lunchtime forecast. As he referred to sunshine across the country I thought “not if you look through my window!”

It did brighten up later and we had patches of sunshine but very dark patches of cloud kept drifting over, which promised to pour down but actually didn’t.

Having spent a frustrating day on Monday and most of Tuesday morning sorting an obscure technical problem, I thought I deserved an afternoon off. When I say obscure, a google search only revealed 5 entries, one of which was mildly helpful.

Before I left for the plot I had to give the lawn a mow. In places the grass was 6″ high and although it’s really too wet I thought it will be an African savannah if I don’t do it now. Raised the blades a notch and away I went.

Harvesting Peas

Down to the plot around 3pm and started by harvesting peas. I got about half a carrier bag full. This year I really wanted to do well with peas but the fickle finger of fate has intervened. They’re a funny crop, peas. One of our oldest vegetables, a legume like beans they are quite rich in protein and vitamins. Probably our most common green vegetable but what a fussy vegetable to harvest. Picking off the pods is only the first part, then you have to get the peas out of the pods. When you’ve finally done you look at the pile of discarded pods and a little bowl of peas and wonder ‘why?’

Having said that, the taste of a young pea, raw from a just picked pod is wonderful.

Weeding Brassicas

The brassica patch was next on the list. Because the soil is so wet, hoeing is really not effective. The soil just clumps around the blade and the weeds recover from being moved around. So the weeds had grown under the netting to the point where they were almost hiding the crop. Nothing for it but to get on hands and knees and pull them out.

Once revealed, I can’t say I was pleased. Not exactly prime examples of the art of vegetable growing. Still, some result is better than none.

Comfrey Cut

I trundled a wheelbarrow full of weeds down past the paddy field or runner bean swamp to the compost heap and piled them on in layers mixed with layers of cut comfrey. They comfrey is one of the few success stories this year and my compost mine is as productive as ever. Not only will it add to the nutritional value of the compost but comfrey helps activate the heap causing it to decompose quickly.

I’ve also got four plants on plot 29 so they were cut and added to the heaps on there. Jim came over for a look at my plot and asked where he could get some comfrey so I offered him some root cuttings. It’s one of the of the easiest plants to propagate and I think one of the most valuable plants to grow. There’s more information on comfrey in Comfrey the Wonder Plant

Tomatoes not Ripening

The plants in the greenhouses are well laden with tomatoes but most are still green. I managed to get a handful of ripe ones so perhaps they’re starting to move. It’s worrying as there is blight about and one of the outside planted San Marzano plum tomatoes was nearly dead. The two beside it don’t look happy either. It would be pretty miserable to lose the plants in the greenhouses now and just get a load of green tomatoes.

New People on the Allotment Site

Plot One’s tenant has left. Chap’s had some problems in his personal life so the plot fell by the wayside. He managed to give away some of his bits to more than one person and then sold them to Gianni. I should have grabbed when offered! Gianni’s moved the shed he bought to their plot and I suspect it’s better re-built than it was built. The guy’s a wonder at building things.

The new people on the plot have bought the greenhouse and his rotovator, got a good deal as well. It’s two ladies who have taken it on and I met one of them and her son as I was taking a wander around. She’d got the most amazing pink and blue wellies on, decorated with flowers. Told me they were her Glastonbury wellies. I haven’t been to Glastonbury since it stopped being a free festival. Amazed to find tickets are well over a hundred pounds and they’re planning on renting a teepee for £1600 next year rather than taking tents. There will be hippies turning in their purple haze at that!

They’ve got their work cut out clearing the weeds off. I do wish people would leave their plot tidy when they go rather than, as always seems to happen, just leave them to get overrun with weeds before they admit they’ve given up.

Wonder when the next sunny day will be?

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
2 comments on “Peas, Brassica, Comfrey and New People on the Allotment
  1. Brian King says:

    “I do wish people would leave their plot tidy when they go rather than, as always seems to happen, just leave them to get overrun with weeds before they admit they’ve given up.”

    In my experience (20+ years) only a small percentage of people hand them over in a reasonable state. The vast majority who have stopped cultivating their plot (which can be for a variety of reasons) tend to delude themselves that they will do more next year but of course they hardly ever do, and by the time that they eventually acknowledge the inevitable (or are forced to by others) a wilderness has developed.

  2. John says:

    Absolutely right, Brian – a process of denial that they are losing the plot.

    On the positive side, it does mean that the newcomer has to be keen to grow or they won’t take on the task

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