Monthly Archives: July 2011

The big dig

There are two things going on at the allotment this month.  One the one hand there’s the harvesting of the crops sown in the beds to the right of the photo above – potatoes, broad beans, peas, salad leaves, courgettes and strawberries – and the regular weeding and maintenance of the established beds.  On the other, there’s the big dig – turning over the area to the left and ridding it of bramble, bindweed and couch grass roots ready to assemble the rest of the deep beds (hopefully, in September).

The runner beans and carrots are doing well (above), though two sowings of French beans have come to nothing, sadly.

Already we’re swamped with courgettes.  What to do with them all?  The BBC has some tasty-looking recipes on its Good Food website.

The old shed looks a little brighter with the nasturtiums growing up around the door.  I’ve just been reading that the trick with nasturtiums, to get the seeds to sprout faster, is to soak the seeds, which are large and pretty hard, in some warm water overnight and then plant directly in your chosen spot. Nasturtiums are annuals so plant the seeds in spring when the danger of frost has passed. Once they are established, nasturtiums continue to spread and bloom until the first frost, with very little work or water required.

The iGrowveg website has an article, Five Reasons Why You Should Grow Nasturtiums Near Vegetables.  These are:

1. They are well known for attracting aphid infestations

2. Cabbage White Butterflies like their large leaves.

3. Slugs go to nasturtiums like a moth to a light bulb.

4. They protect your vegetables from predatory insects

5. Nasturtium leaves and flowers are edible.

Meanwhile, beyond the shed, the area behind the raspberry canes has been cleared of standing growth.  We’ll cover it and dig there in the autumn.  Beyond there, I’ve cleared the path of brambles so we can now see clear to the top end of the plot!