Sinking The Bard: William Shakespeare 2000

Having celebrated my 30th birthday last week, a dear friend of mine has given me a rather apt birthday present.

Meet William Shakespeare 2000.

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Since it was his anniversary yesterday, it’s rather fitting that he arrived today.

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He is now sat on the very threshold of Project othello, next to the falstaff apple tree.

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There are two blooms nestled in there ready to explode. Rather looking forward to it :)

Prayer to the chilli gods

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Ye chilli Gods, make my chillies grow!

These are my second more diminutive batch of chillies, bells and super hots. The bengle, Dorset nagas and choc habanero are in the left, assorted scotch bonnets and jamaican jerk in the middle.

These were a later sowing, and they are late maturing Superhots some of them. They sit by a sunny bay window, which helps the boost up when the sun is out. But the current growth seems painfully slow.

Argh, allotment challenge Epi 2

Argh, allotment challenge epi 2

A marginally better episode.

“It’s a bean…why’s it gotta be straight? It’s a bean.” Those were my words, said over and over. “good beans are wonky.”

Straight beans? I had a surprise when the first ever dwarf bean I grew were like little question marks. I have never ever tried to grow a straight bean. I mean, why? I am not growing to model them on a cat walk. And the first mention of pestilence. Blackfly, as I’m glad that Jo squished then. (Incidentally, she is local to me, so hello Jo!) squishing. We all do it! Not so sure about the bean sandwiches at all though. But no, I am never ever going to want straight beans. Mama H’s curry just wouldn’t be the same, I tell you.

Roses, I love. My plot has them all over. Both bushes and climbers, red, white, blue and yellow. So a tad patriotic. A perfect summer rose and a summer wreath. Interesting challenges. All my roses are beautiful to me. Even the purple moon, that only produces one tiny floo’er. But my roses don’t last, and they are on their own ‘do it when I feel like it’ schedule. I could feel myself start to eff and blind as the roses were planted. I don’t profess to have any “skill or judgement’ as the show said. I simply leave them to get on with it. I have yet to kill any pests, thankfully. I can understand why the one pair cloched them. But again, I wouldn’t. Roses are tough, I just wouldn’t pander and pamper them. I always get a bit saddened when chopping roses. For both dead heading and cut flowers. For cut flowers, that actually pains me. They are special, rose are a treat. The king of flowers, a crowning touch to a garden.

The making of a wreath went over my head. If it looks pretty in a vase on the dining table, then that is good-enough for me and for Mama H who generally makes that request. By all means faff with floo’ers, just not my thing.

Last year I made lots of chilli jam jelly. But there is more to using stuff you grow as jam. Relish and sauce were the order of a day. Why not a courgette and tomato quiche, a ratatouille? Jo, saved the day for me and stopped me have a strop, she pushed the boat out, courgettes and aubergines! Woo-hoo! A woman who was being resourceful and doing what the show should. Ratatouille relish, well done :)

The judging criteria for eat.

A chunky relish and ketchup sauce. Try the supermarket.

Glad to see the chillies, a naga viper too.

I know that lots of people grow for The show bench. They have that right. I do feel however, that this missing something of a point. That is the key feature, with the shows that I have seen so far. Missing the point. Far too much of a crafty sowing bee, master chef bake off thing. Not enough about the growing, the trials and tribulations. The slugs and snails were absent, though we had Blackfly.

Now, right at the beginning, fern tells us that the contestants-and that is what they are here-have a list. They choose what they want to grow. I do wonder about this list. Is it all standard stuff? Standard as in expected allotment veg. I was glad to see aubergines and the world’s second hottest chilli. I do wonder how experimental the contestants are. No two allotments are the same; yet the show bench is very token. Carrots, beans. And chutneys next week. Thane’s parting words for a chutney are that it’s not pushing any boundaries.

Well, I could have told you that for free, Thane.

Grapevines: gripping stuff

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It’s not a munty frame, it just looks like one.

There are three vines on the plot, of two different varieties. These would be boskoop glory and madelyne sylvener, red and white respectively. Last year I did try and put builders net between them. This did not prove to be successful, so this year I have put up a cane support framed. I do appreciate that in time these vines could be quite hefty, and that the canes look flimsy. We shall cross that bridge when we get to it.

I have had these vines for approximately two years, so I don’t expect an immediate crop. One of the vines may well have produced leaves last year, another has these rather woody tendrils gripping a cane. Think I’m the only one who has got vines on the site, so I have nothing to compare there. But we do have one at home that produces red grapes and sits in clay. Those grapes aren’t particularly edible.

Dorset Naga #1

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This year for the first time, I have entered the Dorset naga challenge that is set by seaspringseeds.co.uk I have never grown these superhot chillies before, so this is something of a huge experiment. These were sown this year, January -February, I think; using a heated propogator. It was quite traumatic at first, with a couple failing to germinate. Eventually, I have three or four, babies, I think. It is only now that the weather has become warmer that they are starting to pick up growth. They are even starting to look like chillies plants now with how their leaves are shaping up.

I reported these yesterday as they were starting to exit their smaller pots. From what I have read, the Dorset naga doesn’t fruit til November. That’s if it actually progresses in the poly tunnel where it will be homed. I plan to do this in about 6 weeks, but they do look a bit on the small side! That may be an indicator that they need feeding. Hopefully that will kick start them a bit. Most likely that these will be transplanted directly into the ground, rather than putting into pots.

There are three or four babies. As they grow taller I will label each one so that we can keep a record of any fruit that might be produced.

Don’t know as much about the related bengle naga, only that is a bit hot too.

So our Dorset Naga adventure has begun!

Argh, allotment challenge Epi one

Oh, I’m not convinced.

As a rule. I don’t watch gardening shows. I have yet to watch a single episode of Gardener’s world; but have listened to the odd episode of gardeners question Time. There is never enough allotmenteering or GYO’ing, and there is always something grandiose and airy fairy about it.

So we started with Radishes. Simple to grow, a kid could do it. I’ve tried, and sort of succeeded; but also failed and faffed. A radish is a radish, how complex and lofty could be they be? Trimmed, blemish free. Was glad to see the moolis, that is good growing and good experimenting. But really a radish is a radish.

Then there were Floo’ers. I don’t mind floo’ers. I can even deal with singing to the floo’ers. ‘Om’ing at them was interesting. Sweet peas are not my bag; but there was a fair bit of faffage. The Hand tied bouquet was not what I would have used as a test.

I’ve seen those ladies before. Ladies from allotment wars?

There were lovely allotment sites, a lot of hard work has even put in. But we didn’t see it, did we? Not much, at least. Where were the weeds, the cabbage whites, all the real dirt beneath the finger nails?

It really was very pretty. But where was the punch?

Don’t think the challenges were valid, or a real testament with the show bench. Not all veg makes it that far, it gets eaten; isn’t that the real verdict?

My verdict?

No proof in the pudding; and has some what lost the plot a bit.

Family trees of the fruity kind

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On the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I have taken receipt of planted some family fruit trees. These are Braeburn apple, apple Worcester pearmaine, as well as Rochester peach and Sylvia cherry tree. Ma has always wanted a cherry tree!

All of them are British grown and two years old. Suggesting that they may produce something or nothing this year. Think a couple of them did actually have buds forming. There is now a spine of seven fruit trees down the entire plot. Making the plot somewhat quintessentially English with there also be roses. I do wonder about the Peach tree, can’t say I’ve ever come across a Birmingham peach tree or a Birmingham grown peach. So here’s hoping!

Transfer window: chillies and aubergines

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Have taken an epic risk.

The tomatoes are already out in the 4TB, nestled in fleece but at the moment uncovered. Have gone a bit purple stemmed; but have not keeled over.

Since they look greens and leafy; I have transferred some of the chillies and aubergines to the Wendy house. These are sat in tented fleece as it is all a bit precarious still. They look reasonably robust; and will all be going into the polytunnel anyway in about a month to six weeks.

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These are the nine other ones that’s remain. These are significantly smaller, with the two nagas, and two types of scotch bonnet.

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