Delicious Surprises!

Despite having an allotment for over 7 years now, I can safely say that growing plants successfully is still a skill that alludes me. What I seem to be able to grow brilliantly, and without any effort whatsoever, is a wide variety of weeds. Personally, I think they sense my lack of ability and take advantage! But sometimes, just sometimes, I manage to pull off growing something successfully, usually without realising it!

Our strawberry bed which had excellent crops our first two years on site, has been slowly producing less and less. Even when I changed the plants two years ago, we still got nothing. All leaves and no fruit. So dejected had we become that Geoff kindly offered to lend us a raised bed with some of his strawberry plants. Over the past couple of weeks, this bed has produced tons of strawberries! The highlight of my husband’s week was sitting watching Wimbledon with home grown strawberries and cream. But our strawberry bed remained uncooperative.

Cliff helped me sort out the tomatoes in the greenhouse, helping me prune away branches that weren’t needed and using canes to keep the plants upright. Between us, we also cleared away the weeds in the raised bed and along the path. As we worked, Cliff spotted something in the strawberry bed. Taking a closer look, we found some white fruit. I just assumed it was unripe strawberries, but Cliff recognised them as white strawberries. Searching through the bed, I discovered loads of ripe fruit! Fascinatingly, the flesh is white but the seeds are red. They are sweeter than normal strawberries and are absolutely delicious! After a thorough taste test, I decided that I would clear away some of the plants to create more room to plant some of the offshoots.

Down in the main coop, the four new girls are starting to settle in. Cora, Dora and Alba were sitting on the food bins, out of the way whilst Flora was being brave sitting by the food bowl. Tommy was busy keeping himself between Cassie, Polly and Rey and the new girls. Both bantams had more sense than to get involved, sitting high up on their favourite perch.

Up by the shed, Foxy and Roxy were busy sunbathing. Foxy seems to be moulting and their run is full of feathers. One of the jobs for tomorrow is to dig over the soil in their run whilst they free range on the plot. I threw in several handfuls of weeds to keep Roxy happy.

By now it was lunchtime and it was time to retreat from the relentless heat, telling the bantams, I would be back later when it was cooler! As I walked past the greenhouse, I remembered to check on the cucumber plant. To my surprise, there was a lemon cucumber ready for picking! I dashed home triumphantly holding the cucumber aloft.


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