July 2013

From My Allotment Diary (Tues. July. 30th, 2013)

July 30, 2013 by BigGee   Comments (1)

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This has probably been one of the two best July months that I can remember in 38 years of veggie growing. Sure it's been a bit dry, it's been very hot at times but generally it's been a fabulous month for the crops. There really is no substitute for good ol' UV rays - as long as I can water regularly (that HAS been a chore with over two hours taken up every evening on the lottie to keep down the dust, whilst Josie has been busy doing the same with the flowers at home). Now in the last week of the month we're getting rain mostly as short thundery downpours here on the west coast, with quite long spells of hot sunshine in between. What more can a gardener ask for? It's proper jungle weather and the crops are reflecting it in their growth. All those negative ions from the thunderstorm rains are really perking things up and making everything smell & feel fresh again - LOVE IT! Only one downside, lettuces seem rather keen to bolt at the moment, but on the really bright side (excuse the pun) no sign of blight on the horizon! Who cares about the odd 'panicky' lettuce, besides I have a friend who keeps chickens & they just love bolted lettuce - there were too many to eat anyway, and more will grow very soon.

It's been a hectic month for us 'wrinklies' with over half the month taken up entertaining our grandchildren. Our four year old grandson Cai (he's No. 3 son's little boy) has been to stay on two occasions on his own, & in between we've had our 16 & 17 year old granddaughters here to stay, with our No. 2 son & his wife who live in Birkenhead.

I posted pics of Cai in my previous blog post - here's few of Bethan & Eleanor with our son Damian & his wife Kerry.

imageHere's 'Beth' the oldest cooling her feet in the river not far from our house. She's our oldest grandchild. Quite the young lady by now - it's frightening to think how quickly time has flown by. It seems like only yesterday we were cradling her as a baby!

imageThen there's 'Eli' who's just a year younger at 16.

We get the feeling that we're coming to the end of our time with them as children, but long may it last whilst we can enjoy it!

imageHere's one of them all together (minus me - the camera has an auto function, but I couldn't be bothered to faff around with it, besides with all these beautiful members of our family around who'd want to have the photo spoiled by a 'Shrek' in the middle of it!). The second one in from the left is our No. 4 son - Teifion. The Weimaraner hound is theirs not ours - I couldn't cope with him on a permanent basis - he'd give me a nervous breakdown with his food snaffling antics!

imageHere's one of Josie sandwiched in between sons No. 2 & 4.

The generations seem to get taller & taller - Josie is no dwarf herself, but with our sons around she looks like a midget!


From the left this is Beth, her 'Mamgu' (my mother), Kerry - our daughter-in-law & little poser Eli!

imageFinally, here's a photo of all four generations of us together (notice what I said about each generation being taller than the previous one?).

'Shrek' did find himself in this one! His wife (princess Fiona) was behind the lens on this occasion.

Following on in the theme of comic movies, Damian reckons that Mamgu looks like a Hobbit extra from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Philosopher's Stone! He'd land up being 4' 10" if she knew what he was on about!!


Just for you "tig2dave" here are a few snaps of the produce I picked this week.


Broad beans




Spring onions (scallions)


Lollo Rossa lettuce (they're well behaved & haven't bolted!).

Guess what was on the dinner-time menu yesterday? Yep - SALAD (for a change!!!)



From My Allotment Diary (Tues. July. 16th, 2013)

July 16, 2013 by BigGee   Comments (2)

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Well here we are in the middle of our heat-wave. They don't come very often to this part of the world. It's a real joy to watch things growing on the lottie right now, without having to wear your Sowesters! Last year some scuba diving garb would have been more appropriate - as we waded through our wettest summer in over a hundred years! However memories are short when you're basking in this year's 30°C + weather with blue skies & a cooling sea breeze from Cardigan Bay. One of the little side benefits of living on the west Wales coast - further east people are melting into pools of lard, without a breath of air to cool them down.

It's been a hectic month, added to by the fact that it's too hot to do much during and after midday. Activity is being limited to Spanish & Oz type systems of effort. Early morning rush-about (or lie-in), hide in the shade during the middle bit and then come back out after the sun starts to drop down in the evening - but it's lovely, and it seems there's no end in sight at the moment. I DID say that I had this déjà vu feeling about 2013. It started off very similar to 1976. So far I've been vindicated in my observations! Perhaps I've missed my vocation as a long-term weather forecaster or clairvoyant or something like that!! I don't think so somehow - being a total unbeliever in mumbo jumbo. However observation is something different, and things do tend to have patterns. Well 1976 went on to September - we'll see how things develop in 20013.

We've also had a run on family visits this month. imageWe had our little 4 year old grandson Cai come to stay with us for the first time on his own the weekend before last (doesn't time fly? Including the bits in between my blog posts!) It was a big success - it's always a bit touch 'n go when they stay on their own for the first time. On his departure he informed us that he was coming for 6 weeks the next time! Sounds like a firm endorsement that he enjoyed himself to meimage! In fact he's coming in a week or so to stay for a couple of days in the week - as school has broken up for the summer. It's a case of building it up slowly. His Mum & Dad (our No.3 son) are going on holiday to Turkey in August & he's coming to stay with us - so we need to be sure that he's OK to stay for the longer term without tears!

imageHere's a photo of him with his uncle Teifion (our No. 4 son). Teifion's the one with a black eye & thick lip - we go in for a lot of that stuff here in Wales - as many of our rugby & boxing opponents will verify!

imageAnd here's one of him being taught by his Nan how to misbehave when having his photo taken!!

This coming weekend we have our No 2 son & wife coming to stay with their two daughters Bethan & Eleanor our 16 & 17 year old granddaughters are coming down from Birkenhead to stay. That'll be a whole different experience, but hopefully slightly less stressful!

Talking of stress, summer heat-waves bring their own brand of stress on the lottie. Watering has now taken over everyone's attention (at least the ones who are genuinely interested gardeners - which isn't everyone on our allotment site unfortunately).

As watering is most efficiently carried out after the sun goes down, it's been a case of the late shift taking over. To water my polytunnel & lottie properly takes over two hours, and there's still the regular jobs to be done down there. Consequently, I haven't been arriving home until well after 11 o'clock at night. It was even midnight one evening! Mind you I have an admission to make there, having a flask of tea on hand & your mate to gas to & put the world in it's place in the cool of the evening tends to extend your hours out of doors!

imageEverything has suddenly gone up a gear. Plants are now visibly growing on a daily basis, with things like beans adding inches to their growth every day. With plenty of the cool wet stuff and lots of UV rays from the sky we should be able to make a fist of it this year!

imageFinally, I can't resist showing off my fig tree to Dave. remember the photo you posted of the one you saw on holiday in Spain a few weeks ago Dave? Here's a 'local' version that's lived through everything the UK weather can throw at it over the last few years (although it's cropped every year so far) and this year it's repaying me with interest for my patience!





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