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25 Jul 2016

Allotment Update: July 2016

Fiona Rhodes
So...we have been away for a week and the allotment is blooming. The weather has been close to 30 degrees in Zurich all week with very little rain so I was a bit worried about things drying up and dying in our absence. However, the sun has been much needed and despite a really bad start to the season (rain, more rain, slugs) I am feeling pretty optimistic about having vegetables and fruit to harvest from now until the Autumn.

We picked our first cucumber. This didn't even make it home... I am so grateful that my children are starting their lives with access to food that we have grown ourselves.



The flowers are at their best! An abundance of calendula, nigella, blue cornflowers and a single surviving malope trifida 'vulcan' plant. I picked enough for about three bunches to take home and the garden is still full of them.


 
Despite thinking I wouldn't get any courgettes this year since eleven courgette plants were massacred by slugs, two plants survived and one is producing fruit. Yippee!! There are three tiny yellow courgettes growing which I should be able to harvest in about a week from now. This time last year we were right in the middle of a courgette glut with more than we were able to consume ourselves.


The cucamelons are growing really well and the first ones are appearing. I hadn't heard of these until I saw them online at C. & R. Zollinger, a Swiss seed supplier. They are tiny little round fruits, originating from Mexico, that look like miniature watermelons and apparently taste like a cucumbers with a hint of lime. I can't wait to try these. The are growing alongside our cucumbers and there are about 40 visible fruits growing so far. I guess they will be ready to start picking in a few weeks.


The plums should be ready to pick in about a week. Not sure what the variety are called but they are golden in colour. We have been on holiday the last two years when they have been ripe and ready to pick so I am looking forward to harvesting them all. The tree has literally hundreds growing on it so I think we'll have a load to give away to friends and neighbours.


The cavolo nero looks like it will survive and there are about 8 small plants growing. There are some beetroot and carrot plants almost ready to dig  up. Tomatoes, Swiss chard, pumpkins and turnips are looking good. I am planting brassicas for the first time with mixed results so far. The romanesco plants are still there but the cauliflower has totally bombed. The picture below is an example of how NOT to grow a cauliflower. My allotment neighbour, Ulrike, gave us a beautiful one two years ago. It was really a thing of beauty which i appreciate even more now that I have tried to grow them myself. Sadly she has given her allotment up at the age of 94. Her husband is ill and she doesn't want to leave him alone to tend to the garden. It is just incredible seeing how well maintained and productive the gardens here are, that belong to people of that generation.



Fiona Rhodes / Author & Editor

A blog about running an allotment as a novice gardener in Zurich, Switzerland (with the help of my twin toddlers).

5 comments:

  1. My twins would love a wonder around your allotment :) Look great :)

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  2. Wow, this looks amazing! I just love that your two boys will just munch on a cucumber like that. And those calendula look so beautiful :) I have never heard of a cucumelon -- what a weird sounding name is that?! I'd love to hear how they turn out.

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    1. Thanks Johanna. Well, I had to gnaw the skin off first but that picture would have been a lot less cute!

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  3. Cucamelon, how cool! Our garden was a disater this year, ah well! I live vicariously through those who have done better!!

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    1. I thought ours was going to be a disaster too. SO much rain, more slugs than I even thought possible...all our allotment neighbours say it's been the worst year they can remember for weather/ slugs. Hate the things!

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