Jun 27, 2011

Long Hot Summers Day In June

What else is there to do in 30c heat I ask you? Sunbathe? Go for a swim in a lake? Or just chill out in the garden? Not me. I went to throw eggs!!!

Sunday 26th June 2011 saw the 6th World Egg Throwing Championships held in Swaton, Lincolnshire. Teams from all around the globe came to participate. The Netherlands and Germany had sent their teams over both feeling very confident. They looked the part to be honest with you. Germany even brought a TV crew with them as they were part of a science tv show and no doubt wanted to prove that the appliance of science can win everything...

First event was the Russian Egg Roulette. A 1v1 event with 6 eggs to choose from with players taking it in turns to do so. One egg is raw, the other 5 are hard boiled. Avoid the raw egg and you progress in to the next round. To find out if the egg is raw or not, you had to smash the egg against your forehead. Classic.

The first German scientist was up. He chose to go first knowing that by doing so, the last egg remaining will be the opponents and will be raw if all 5 previous eggs are hard boiled. He picked his first egg and smashes it against his forehead, SMASH, raw egg flies everywhere. He was in shock, trying to hide it from the tv crew. Very funny. My turn comes up and its against my throw and catch partner Vince Foster. He gets raw egg everywhere and i progress.

64 players are now down to 32 for heat two. I take my seat and again avoid the raw egg. I’m confident my system for choosing a hard boiled egg is working. Heat three awaits. The second player from Germany fails to make it through. Both out after 2 rounds ROFL

16 players left and its the quarter-finals that await the winner of heat three. Again I successfully pick my boiled eggs and progress to the quarter-finals. A wait now occurs whilst the heats of the other events take place.

The catch and throw event was harder than I first thought. With 2 egg lives, I failed to throw long enough at 20m and failed to catch at 25m so out we went, Sorry Vince.

Back to the Russian Egg Roulette then and its the quarter-finals. My opponent goes first and its a raw egg, semi-finals here I come. I’m quite confident now that my system for picking a hard boiled egg is flawless. In the last two rounds I managed to pick out and avoid the raw egg which my opposing players failed to do and proved my system was working. So the semi’s went by in a blur and again I managed to avoid the raw egg. The Final showdown...
I was up against a member from Team Ireland. He won the toss and chose to go first. He picked a hard boiled egg, my turn, I scan the eggs and am confident I have a hard boiled egg, I was right, 4 eggs remaining and Team Ireland quickly picks another boiled egg, 3 eggs remaining. I pick mine confident its boiled and promptly hit it hard on my forehead. SMASH yolk goes flying everywhere. I’m distraught. My system had failed me at the crucial time. Team Ireland wins the Russian Egg Roulette and I get the silver medal. I’m already thinking about how to tweak my system for next year. It was great fun and cannot wait to go back.



Here’s this weeks harvest, 3kg of BroadBeans. 



Thats all for now J

Jun 23, 2011

The Monthly Update

The Greenhouse Effect really brings that Mediterranean feel to the British garden. We’re in to the 3rd week of June and I'm already seeing my tomatoes starting to ripen. They’ve also taken to the longest hours of sunlight this month by shooting up to 7ft tall down the middle of the greenhouse. I’ve had to snip off the growing tip from one of the ones against the sloping roof as it would have just carried on. This in itself would be fine except a lot of tying up would have been needed as the stem would buckle under the weight from the growing tomatoes as it lent over under the slope. Still I'm not complaining. As you can see from the pictures, we’re sure to enjoy lots of cherry tomatoes this year.

Ripening Tomato In June

Tomato Jungle

Lots and Lots of Tomatoes

View From Below The Tomato Plant


We’ve also had our first flower appear on our sweet pepper plants. Nothing extravagant like the tomatoes but still growing progress.

Sweet Pepper Plant


Outside on the veg patch it’s all systems go.  The runner beans are producing lots of flowers although in this months Gardener’s World they say this doesn’t guarantee the beans will come through so i’ll be keeping my eye on them and will water daily during any dry spell (hopefully from this weekend if the weather predictions are correct).

Runner Bean Flowers


The Carrots and Spring Onion bed was weeded out last weekend but its a never ending job so i shall be out their again tomorrow night for their weekly weed.

Carrots and Spring Onions


The Brussels Sprouts have now been joined by the Marigolds to help stem the whitefly. Its not working...

Brussels Sprouts


The Parsnips are in need of weeding but i’ve left them for now because my theory is the Parsnips have deep tap roots that they still get their share of the water. Obviously if the weeds started to cover the leaves of the Parsnips, i would have to take action but i honestly think this is one vegetable that doesn’t mind some weed company. I stand by to be corrected though.

Parsnips


The Onion bed has finally been joined by the leeks. I may have “dibbed” their holes a bit too deep but i’m not too worried right now. Hopefully the stems will shoot out above the ground ready to bask in the sun for the next few months.

Onions and Leeks

Leeks


June is also the month of the Sunflower showing its head. Still quite small, mine have just started to open up.

First Sunflower on 2011


Finally this weekend see’s the World Championship of Egg Throwing and i will be taking part. Spur of the moment thing but i’m quietly confident i will do well. I’m sure i;ll have lots of pictures taken and will post some of the best ones up for everyone to enjoy. And in 26c heat it should be an eggcellent day...

Jun 19, 2011

My First Harvest

Yesterday saw a momentous day in our grow your own venture. We took our first proper vegetable harvest. Over the last couple of weeks we have happily been going through the lettuces, gifting them to family and friends, then more recently i took our first crop of Broad Beans but yesterday saw me pulling up some Early Nantes Carrots and the first of the overwintering Onion's. In terms of growing time, the Onion's went in last September and the Carrots on March 27th, thats just 11 weeks and 6 days from the tiniest seed to what you see below.
Straight From The Ground

All Cleaned Up


Ready For The Pan, 15 Minutes from Ground to Pot 


Yesterday also saw me planting out the Leeks that i have been keeping back in their container. They'll now sit in the ground for the next 9 months with early cropping hopefully as winter sets in. Everything else is coming along nicely although not quite so smoothly. Firstly the weeds are entering their peak season and I still can't get my head around how quickly they grow. Secondly the pests. My Brussels Sprouts have come under attack by whitefly and the cabbage white butterfly laying its eggs. Unfortunately i didn't see any of this until one plant was virtually demolished by big green and black caterpillars ie the cabbage whites. Thankfully all i have to do is keep a daily check on them and pick off any i see. I know i should have put up some netting but thought i would be ok. Lesson now learnt.

As i had said, yesterday saw the Leeks go in to the ground and as such, there is no more planting to do, at least for my plan anyway. The thing is, i want the crops to last as long as possible so im already thinking of plant more carrots but in tubs that i have collected from work. They are 10" deep so i know i'll be cutting it fine but I have 7 packets of seeds to spare so i'll sow them really thinly and harvest them as soon as their roots hit the bottom. Even if i only get baby carrots, that will be fine as hopefully that won't be until after my current bed has been exhausted. One thing to note is i won't be sowing the ultra quick Early Nantes variety :)

The next few weeks will be Weeding, Watering, and Harvesting but i shall keep posting on here as i go along. Thanks for reading.

Jun 5, 2011

Every now and again the unpredictability of life throws you a curve ball.

In the space of 14 short days my life saw that my Dad became very ill, that he then sadly passed away (RIP Dad x), that I was too late to apply for a transfer in work, that I could transfer in work immediately, that my son can now ride a bike unaided, and that I’m now a year older. None of this had anything to do with what this blog was intended to show but at the beginning of this year, I had already mapped out what 2011 would bring me and to be honest only one from the above list was what I knew would happen.

As the saying goes though, life goes on, mixed emotions fill my life right now but there’s always one constant that keeps you on the straight and narrow. For me, it’s the veg patch. No matter what was to happen in my life this year, the veg patch was going to carry on doing its thing. This has meant I’ve found a handy sanctuary during my current stressful life right now. This was demonstrated perfectly a week or so ago when I was so stressed out I didn’t know what to do with myself, my wife suggested I go weed. So I did.

Who would have thought 3 hours of weeding was such a stress reliever. My time on the veg patch took a short break of 7 days which saw a downpour overnight in the middle of that week thus sprouting many weeds. I didn’t manage to weed out all of them in that 3 hour stint but I certainly got most of them and I wasn’t stressed any more. That was a week ago now and that one constant carries on apace and the weeds are starting to take a stranglehold in places but now I know what to do when I start to feel stressed out again.

So then, the vegetables, how are they doing? Well we’ve been harvesting plenty of radishes and lettuce leaves and are looking to start harvesting some broad beans and overwintering onions soon. Everything else is coming on nicely so here are some of them.

Broad Beans

Brussels Sprouts

Carrots

Carrot poking through

Lettuces

Marigolds

Onions

Runner Beans

Tomatoes

Tomato Jungle

Even on these