Sunday, 7 June 2009

Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glenn, we daren't go a hunting, for fear of little men!!

On the bank holiday weekend a rather strange thing happened..Quite unexplainable. We arrived down to plot 103 and inspected the beds to see how everything was doing, and when we got to the pea and bean bed, which had previously been ravaged by the marauding bands of squirrels, we saw this...........
Two full rows of beans!!! Only the week before there was a lone bean plant left and now somehow, two entire rows of beans had appeared and were thriving......most peculiar!! There are two possible explanations to this phenomenon. Either the squirrels felt guilty and replanted our beans, highly unlikely knowing squirrels, or there was another theory to this miracle. William the allotment guru let us in on a secret surrounding the wicklow hills...apparently the hills surrounding plot 103 and annamoe allotments is teeming with fairies!!!! 'maybe twas the fairies, you never know!!' he insisted. Much as I doubt there really are fairies in the wicklow hills, there is a lot of hawthorn which I'm assured will make lovely sloe gin once the berries appear....and according to Irish folklore fairies are known to love the hawthorn, and woe betide anyone who cuts down one of their sacred trees, one of which graces the centre of the car park in annamoe allotments carefully worked around during the building of it!!! hmmmmm fairies or not, it would appear that the wicklow locals know a little more than they are letting on.....and Williams plot is coming on far too well not to have some sort of supernatural help!!
Last week I got my own back on the dreaded butterfly. We inspected our newly planted broccolli and sprout plants to find them covered in butterfly eggs!! Jemma and I took great joy in squishing them before the little caterpillars got a chance to hatch and eat all of our food. We covered both the brocolli bed and the sprout bed in netting to prevent this dreaded pest from getting near them again.
We also planted some potatoes in the 'spare' bed we had in plot 103 under the expert guidance of William the allotment guru who showed us how to plant them. The seed potatoes are roosters and were generously donated to us by Robbie our allotment neighbour up the way.
This weekend was a flying visit to check on things and plant out 5 more cabbage plants, a couple of rows of pea plants which were resown on the balcony and to sow some more beans which grow bright yellow and should add some colour to the dinner plate if the squirrels don't get them, or if we get some supernatural help from elsewhere. Val our allotment neighbour a couple of plots up generously offered us some chickpea seed to try so we sowed a couple of rows of them aswell to try them out.
A quick check on the rest of the plants showed the strawberry plants covered in flowers which had now faded and we're hoping for a good crop....perhaps I should leave some milk and honey by the hawthorn tree as a bribe to our little friends...We also found the chard is coming up which should add lots of colour to the plot.
And now for the verdict!!! We were due to see the results of our experiment with the slug traps we set. Strangely it turns out the slugs didn't like either the Mller or the Tsing tao. We didn't catch a single slug! Having said that there also doesn't appear to be any slug damage at all to our emerging lettuces so perhaps we'll be lucky, although I suspect its because of all the dry weather we've been having. We built a mound of all the sods and earth we had previously dug out of the beds and mixed in plenty of manure to house the pumpkin plants we are hoping will provide us with spooky purple pumpkins on halloween. We had two plants started off on the balcony which are thriving allong with some courgette plants. So they were planted out on our pumpkin mound and will hopefully be successfull.
We are also looking forward to welcoming two more new allotment neighbours in the coming weeks, Noreen and Sandra, who have each taken on a plot in Annamoe allotments and will,I'm sure enjoy the coming weeks of work to be done. Annamoe allotments is also holding an open day on the last weekend of June which will be nice and will give people a chance to have a look around the plots and see what we're all up to. As June is here, Jemma, Eoin, Cillian and I are on the hunt for some elderflowers to make some elderflower champagne. The flowers should be in bloom and now and it will be interesting to see if it works. We also saw a recipe for gorse flower wine on the tv programme river cottage which will be tempting to try. Theres certainly no shortage of gorse around wicklow. Once we source the flowers I will provide a detailed account of our brewing experiment.


  1. Hi Sharon, maybe those beans were just slow germinating and missed the onslaught of the squirrels?I know not nearly as interesting as your theory! Chris ( who was on the Supervalu programme) has been gathering elderflowers to make cordial for our open day which is on 20th June. There is not a very good harvest of them this year probably due to the wind and rain all year.This is my second attempt to leave a comment the last one just disappeared into thin air.

  2. Evening Sharon,

    Since my last visit things seem to have moved on alot. Keep up the good work. I'm going to go with the fairy theory, if there's a few spare one's around, send them on down to West Cork, could do with the help.

  3. Hi Peggy,there doesn't seem too many elderflowers around Wicklow at the moment,although it is usually just a little colder up in Roundwood than in the big smoke, but there are plenty around dublin so I think the next sunny day we have we'll try and gather some. Unfortunately I missed the episode, had it all set to record and it was on the wrong channel, doh! I've found that blogger sometimes does that, I usually have to make 2 attempts to get a comment to show up.
    Thanks veg and flower time, haven't seen you blogging in a couple of weeks. I'll try and negotiate something with the wee folk ;-)