Remember I told you about the swan?  It seems to just glide across the surface of a pond with seemingly no effort at all, yet underneath, everything’s happening.Sunflowers!

Well, this has been LEAF this last couple of weeks.  Yes, we’ve had our regular sessions, fairly well attended -despite it being holiday season; yes we’ve been watering like crazy -the rain has been minimal to say the least; yes, we’ve been doing what we normally do, but this last couple of weeks, we’ve been seemingly doing treble shifts.

Anyway, this has all now blown over, so normal service has been resumed.

I arrived slightly before Diane this morning -she was a little late having snapped a bootlace.  This is second only to a flat tire in seriousness!

With all the rain yesterday -it was virtually continuous all day- everything was looking fresh and new -probably because all the dust had been washed off everything.  I wasted no time in opening up the metal shed (…tea makings!), and just had chance before she arrived to have a little wander round, as I’m wont to do, happily taking far too many photos with the new camera. (…which is getting better and better as I learn to use it more.  The little Panasonic DMC-TZ7 Rocks.)Radishes gone to seed.  Having to process each individual photo no less than three times, certainly makes photo-blogging a time-consuming affair.

I was wandering around the top Plot, and came across these in a bed, and for a moment, I didn’t know what they were.  Then I remembered:  These beautiful plants with their brightly coloured little flowers and their unusual seed pods are actually radishes.  The seed pods themselves are quite edible, and on taking a bite out of one, you’re struck with a gentle hint of the radish flavour.  Much more subtle than the full-on ‘Take-The-Back-Of-Your-Head-Off-With-A-Spade’ radishes we’ve grown this year.  We’ve left them to go this way to show visitors what they’re like when ‘fully grown’, but also, we’ll leave some of the pods to ripen fully and dry off.  Elderberries.

Ta-Da!  No need to purchase radish seeds next season.

Up by the kitchen area, majestically overhanging the hedge are these:  Fully ripe elderberries that are just dying to be harvested and made into either jelly or wine.  As we’re a ‘dry’ project, jelly it must be, so I think a little ‘sweet-talking’ to Matt, the expert maker of the superb jams and preserves is in order.

By this time, Diane had arrived and wasted no time in finishing off the tea.  As nobody had yet arrived, we sat for a few moments discussing the plan for the day, and decided that for the main, it would be another day of (late) planting.

We still had seemingly millions of brassicas (…Yes, we planted way too many in our excitement this year…), so we decided that we’d give a final ‘prep’ to a couple of beds and whack them in on the Therapy Plot.Beds prepped up before planting brassicas.

Here you can see them before planting, and you’ll notice a couple of ‘survivors’ from an earlier planting down the right hand side.  These were the lucky ones that didn’t get ‘hit’ by the feral pigeons and the slugs.  We thought we’d leave them in just to provide some company for the new ones.

By now Gary had arrived, and he wasted no time in digging up some potatoes that had been left in by mistake from last season.Potatoes.

Here you can see them, and notice how massive those three are!

Also to note was that these three were very light, but given the dryness of this bed and the fact that we haven’t watered it in ages, there was no wonder there was so little water in them.

Before we planted the new cabbages, I did the trick Ian and myself had mastered for making sure the hoops to support the netting were well into the ground.Hoop hole preparation.

Here you can see the metal spike before it was fully hammered in, and the ‘gentle persuader’, our trusty lump hammer.  Always useful for hitting things hard, and the ‘oh-so-satisfying’ clang! as you use it is a great antidote to the stresses and strains of indoor living.

Ignore the brick.  Quite what its doing there, I have no idea.

So, with the hoops in place and a suitable piece of netting that was a perfect fit found, the whole bed looked something like this:-Well protected from the pigeons.

So, we’ve finally finished off the beds on the Therapy Plot, and the keen and knowledgeable gardeners will quite rightly say that its about time and that these cabbages should have been in weeks ago, but as I said at the top of this post, we’ve just been so busy at this time, this has really been the first opportunity.

Anyway, we need our Plots to look good to the general public because in a few weeks time its ‘Allotment Soup’ -a yearly celebration of allotments and art, and this year its being held down on our Plots.

Its an opportunity to engage local people with the art of ‘allotmenteering’ (…I know, that’s not a ‘proper’ word, but you get my meaning…), and we’ll have local artists on hand to hopefully create unique works of art that will be displayed on plots all over our site.

There’ll be much more news about this exciting event in the coming days and weeks, and I’ll be sure to post them here.

Other news is that we are moving closer to building our own wood-fired clay oven (…for yummy pizzas…), and to this end Diane has organised a trip out ‘for the boys’ to another clay oven in Sheffield this Thursday morning.

I’ll make sure my camera’s fully charged and take loads of photos as we fire it up and hopefully make ourselves some delicious lunch with it.

Should be good for a laugh!