Monthly Archives: June 2011

Shock News – Plot flourishes whilst I’m away!

Just to prove how little value I add with my nurturing of the veg plot in my absence the plot decided to have the best two weeks of the season so far. Thankfully I arrived back just in time to harvest some of the benefits.

The plot was starting to look like a jungle by the time I got back.

It’s the first time I’ve grown Mangetout and they are doing really well.

And the harvest, a couple of large broccoli heads, 3 cauliflowers, a load of broad beans, mangetout, asparagus peas and some garlic. Not bad at all! We were very fortunate to have a friend and neighbour keeping an eye on things although not much watering was needed with the rain we’ve had. And the strawberries and raspberries just keep on coming, definitely the best year for them so far. I should go away more often!!

En Vacance 2011

We’ve just got back from our annual 2 week holiday, this year at the Siblu Bonne Anse Plage site (thank you Tesco’s vouchers!) in La Palmyre which is in the Charente-Maritime region of France, just south of La Rochelle. It was a great holiday, lovely weather, and a nice site with good facilities close to the beaches. The girls really enjoyed staying in the static caravan and there was loads of room for them to run around with a terrace area to sit on and eat dinner.

Among the highlights were La Palmyre zoo, the largest in Europe, which exceeded our expectations and we spent the whole day there, almost 8 hours, the girls loved looking at all the animals. We spent time at the beaches of La Grand-Cote and the Cote Sauvage and also went to the Aquarium at La Rochelle and had a couple of trips to the Ile d’Oleron.

I was also introduced to a new drink, Pastis de Marseilles. I met a group of French holidaymakers in a neighbouring caravan on our first night and ended up drinking and eating with them after they borrowed our BBQ. Their preferred tipple, being from the south of France, was this stuff, made by Ricard, which they heavily diluted with water. After drinking a few of their beers and the bottle of Pineau de Charentes I’d brought over I decided to sample the anniseed firewater for myself. In my best pigeon Franglais (thankfully one of the guys, Jerome, spoke half decent English) I asked if I could sample some and then, to their amazement, proceeded to drink a number of shots neat, explaining that the Brits don’t water down their alcohol! Fortunately (for me) it was their last night as I’m not sure how many times I could have rolled in at 1am and gotten away with it!

Just had a quick look round the garden and I can’t believe how things have grown, there’s been a fair bit of rain here whilst we’ve been away apparently. Bit more on that later. It’s always a shame to have to come back from holiday but good to be back to home comforts as well.

Harvesting in the Rain

At last it’s been raining steadily for most of the day which is much needed for the veg plot. And I decided to harvest a few veg for Sunday dinner.

This is the first cabbage of the year and the best one I’ve ever grown.

And the first broccoli head – although it’s a bit smaller than I would normally harvest as we’re going away soon and there’s plenty more to cut – with a few more broad beans as well.

The cornflower patch is now in full bloom.

I stopped my first Dahlia, a month earlier than last year, as they are growing quite quickly now. There’s another that I’ll stop before we go away and the rest will have to wait until we get back.

Hope you’ve had some rain too – funny we wouldn’t be so grateful for it in any normal British summer!!

In the Back of the Onion Bag Son!

I mentioned last year how disastrous my onions were, some not growing at all, and at best golf ball size! So I wanted to make sure I had a few half decent ones this year. I grow the over-wintering type so I popped the Radar sets in during November into a layer of top soil on top of a decent amount of chicken manure and watched them grow slowly. In spring they developed quite quickly and as you can see from the photo they’re already better than last year’s pathetic attempt!

Elsewhere on the plot everything is growing fast with the cabbage, cauliflowers and calabrese almost ready to harvest. The potatoes are in flower, as is the mangetout, broad beans and asparagus peas. The soft fruit is all netted and we are picking a few each day now which is lovely, although I don’t usually get a chance with the strawberries!

Hope you are all having a great weekend.

Harvesting: Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Broad Beans, Mangetout, Shallot thinnings, Strawberries, Raspberries.