Monday, 15 June 2009

Stormy weather

The met office promised thunder today, and finally it's arrived: it really is stair-rods outside, and the garden is getting a good soaking. Which saves me watering later this evening. When I got back from Skiathos, I found that my rocket, mustards and lettuce mix had bolted, so I've resown with a rocket mix, sorrel and mesclun combination. (Thunder has now returned and there's so much rain, my street is likely to flood. Nature with her claws...just how much rain is there up there?)
Yesterday was quite a different matter - gorgeous sun all day, and I headed up to the allotment for a few hours work. First job was to harvest the garlic. Most of it has done really well. We've stored in the shed to dry out. Close inspection of the plot revealed that there was bad news: the broad beans are really suffering from black fly. A few plants have just given up the ghost. On others, there was a good army of ladybirds, so I gave them a water with diluted stinky but beneficial comfrey water, and resowed some Sutton seeds. It may be too late, but I reason that the seeds don't read what's on their packets.
The good news is that the fruit is doing really well.
The goosegogs are doing fine under their mesh covers, and there's fruit on the new black current bushes.
The onions continue to do well, now swelled to an impressive size. They'll be in the ground for a few more weeks.
And the strawberries! They're a variety called Marshmellow and they may be small in size in their first year, but they taste heavenly. Q and I scoffed those that were ripe.
In the shed, there was more good news: the toms are looking healthy and beginning to flower, and the cucumbers are starting to fruit. This year, I've grown mini varieties, including Zeina, Mirella and gherkins. The fat baby is scrambling hard, abandoning its own pole for a neighbour's.
After weeding, clipping, watering and hearing the latest intrigue about who's vandalised our nearest water tank (why oh why? we all cry), I headed for home to make a picnic lunch.
I was due to meet Jeanette at the Paddock, a small local nature reserve, so it was out with the left-over roast lamb and time to mix up the dressing suggested by Hugh F-W in Saturday's Guardian magazine. It's a combination of yoghurt, olive oil, English mustard, cider vinegar and seasoning. Add loads of chopped mint and your shredded lamb.
The next dish was cous cous mixed with pine nuts, tomato, yellow pepper, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley. I packed up and included a good slice of Turkish flat bread that I'd bought first thing with the Sunday papers. At the Paddock, Jeanette and I soaked up the sun and tucked into lunch. How gratifying is it to hear six of my favourite words from Jeanette: 'Can I help myself to more?'
When I got home this evening, I realised I'd got a surfeit of fruit, so I've rustled up a fruit salad of mango, pineapple, banana, strawberries (thank you, lottie neighbour Laura, for her gift yesterday), orange and a couple of springs of lemon verbena from the garden. I found half a lime in the fridge, so the juice went into the sugar syrup. I'm also cooking up a Greek split pea dip ahead of my first vegan Tuesday tomorrow - but more of that later.


mangocheeks said...

it rained here earlier, but unlike those of you in the London area where weather predictions are storms, its been good here for the plants, so I am not complaining yet, but the weather person today said storm is headed this way, so I will be bracing myself.
Is it quite normal for your street to flood. Not pleasant really.

Your veg seems to be at a similar stage as mine, sorry to hear about the broad beans. You maybe able to get away with another sowing yet, I am planning to sow my last lot of green beans, as I noted I had not planted near enough. Truth is the mice got them.

When did you plant the garlic, I am really impressed, and a little bit envious to read that you have just harvested it.

PS I like the kitty clock

Michele said...

Everything looks lovely! I wish I could have some of your berries!

Scarlett the Heavenly Healer said...

I got caught in the storm while up at my allotment. It was scary with lightning bolts and huge hailstones. I was wearing shorts and flip flops :( !!

Lovely blog and lovely veg. I'll come by for a read often.

fran39 said...

Thanks guys! The rain caused a leak in my roof (sadly not a leek in the roof - that would be cause for celebration!) so Brian the roofer is on the job.