....by Elizabeth, here is a photo of my daughter's patch. As you can see, she goes for prettiness rather than practicality. All her plants are dotted around rather than in rows. Growing on her patch she has borage, French marigolds, mini sweetcorn, beetroot, strawberries, a Gardener's Delight tomato plant which she was given at Gardener's World Live, and a pumpkin which I fear will take over her whole patch once it gets going, but who am I to stop her planting whatever she feels like? The photo was taken a couple of weeks ago so most things are further along now, and the borage is just about to flower. She wants to pick the flowers, which are edible, to freeze in ice-cubes to make her drinks pretty. I think it's really important to encourage children to have an interest in where their food comes from. It does also help them with their studies. My son had a biology exam recently in which he was asked how nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium help a plant to grow. He was able to answer this based on some of the knowledge he has gained through feeding plants.
I have planted three different types of beans at the allotment and they're all doing well. The first to be planted was dwarf French bean - Safari and these are now just starting to flower. The runner beans - Scarlet Emperor were the next to be planted and they are now reaching for the top of the wigwams. The last beans to be planted out were climbing French beans - Blue Lake, and they're putting on lots of new growth.
The first of the peas at the allotment have now been picked and they are deliciously sweet. There are lots of new pods still fattening up so there will be lots more peas to come.
The strawberries are still producing lots of fruit. I'm really pleased with how they've performed. The plants have put out lots of runners so I've dug plantpots filled with compost into the soil and pegged some of the runners down so that I can hopefully bulk up my plants for next year and get even more fruit than I have this year.
I have harvested some of my potatoes. I have planted second earlies so I really should have left them a little longer, however, I really wanted to get my leeks in the bed which have been used by the potatoes. Although there were plenty of potatoes there, they were a little small, which is understandable in the short time they've had to grow, but they're delicious all the same. Some have been eaten already, cooked with mint and covered in butter, and there are still more left. I'm really pleased because the rest of the family aren't really huge fans of new potatoes, but my daughter has taken a liking to them and can't get enough of them. I've still got one and a quarter beds left with potatoes still in, so they will be left to reach full maturity. After removing the potato plants the soil in which they have been has been transformed. I now know why people recommend planting potatoes in soil which hasn't been worked. The texture of the soil is now a lovely crumbly consistency. The leeks have now been planted in the place of the potatoes, and they look really good strong plants. It's been worth holding on a while before planting out.
As ever, the weeds are growing thick and fast, but I did manage to concentrate on getting lots of them cleared over the weekend, giving the plants more room to grow.