Slow painting

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Fallow Period

Slap in the middle of the busiest time of the growing year, I've been ill. Several weeks of illness and convalescence, followed by serious back pain as a result of weeks of inactivity. And then add to that the extreme busy-ness of the end of term, a French exchange visit, and the run-up to this week's joint Scottish/Italian Suzuki music workshop, and the poor allotment has had short shrift.

Things still grew, of course - among them weeds.

Newly planted pumpkins went through an iffy phase, before at last settling down to do some flowering.

I'd had a hankering after autumn flowering dahlias, to create more of a 'potager' effect. My gardening handyman put in the stakes during May and helped plant the tubers.

A few weeks of neglect, and the weeds had taken over.

Underneath all that junk, however, there are dahlias:

And everything else has survived. Spinach, lettuces, beetroot, green peas, onions, shallots, garlic, raspberries, potatoes, French beans - they've all been growing quite happily without us.

The strawberries are in their second year, so we can pick a crop. Only a few were ripe this week, among them this whoppper:

We brought it home and prepared it carefully.

It tasted...of not very much. We hope it's been a case of all brawn and no taste, and that the smaller fruits will be more fragrant.

Still, the first vegetable pickings were worthwhile. A first unearthing of Charlotte salad potatoes. And we've been eating spinach all week.