Sunday, 17 April 2011

It's purple, sprouting and I love it!

Anyone for purple sprouting?
I can't get enough of purple sprouting and neither can the family, so this week's top crop has to be the old brassicas. I went down to the allotment yesterday ostensibly to water, you have to keep an eye on things especially in this wonderful hot weather, and ended up spending eight hours in glorious sunshine really getting to grips with outstanding jobs.

I removed the netting from the onions, did a lot of weeding and got me about £30 worth of purple sprouting, some for us and the rest for friends. I can't believe the prices in the shops for this lovely stuff and one of the nicest things about growing your own is that you can eat it in serious quantities not just a few sad little spears. This crop seems to have done remarkably well, probably due to the hard frosts in January and February, which most brassicas need.

I also tidied up the Garden of Rest where our family pets are interred, most recently poor old Nibbles and, as Katie requested, I over-planted his grave with pink flowers. I actually chose pinks as they will attract the bees and should manage in what is rocky soil at the back of the allotment.

I thinned out my salad and pricked out the thinnings into an old blue plastic sandpit with holes drilled in the bottom which I use for the purpose. I sowed some more sunflowers in the Westminster Council recycled grit bin which has a sheet of perspex over the aperture to create the ideal cold-frame. That reminds me of the time when I was in a lift in Westminster Town Hall overhearing a councillor asking a member of staff, "What ever happened to our old yellow grit bins?" Not being part of the conversation, I nonetheless interrupted to tell him where one of them had ended up, recycled and put to excellent use. He seemed pleased if a little surprised.

I have netted both my broad beans and sweet peas because the pigeons might be doing their worst, creating a sort of oak leaf effect, however, I suspect it is the dreaded pea weevil so will go down this morning with some spray. Weevils love dry weather so they are probably the culprit, but the netting can't do any harm.

The allotment really is paradise in the warm weather, there was even a heron sitting in one of my trees when I arrived and some signs of life in my allotment pond. Summer here we come.

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