Friday, August 12

A pick axe would have been a better tool.

If you are a regular visitor to Martyn’s blog you will know that our allotment plot and garden seem to be situated in a no go zone as far a that wet stuff that comes from the sky is concerned.

We watch in disbelief as the blue rain areas on maps used by weather forecasters to show the passage of rain across the country, seem to go out of their way to avoid us!

We’ve had a few miserable days where a bit of the wet stuff has dribbled down - just enough to keep us away from gardening but not enough to do any real good.

I’ve mentioned a few times that we planted up a new strawberry bed this year and that the old beds are swamped with weeds. My idea was to wait for some rain to soften the ground so that I could clear these beds for planting. Well I’ve waited and waited and …

I really need at least one bed for planting out the Sweet Williams and some tulip bulbs that we are growing for cut flowers, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and have a go at clearing at least one of the beds.

The bed to be cleared hasn’t been dug for the three or four years that the strawberries have been in residence and the clay soil was rock hard. Couch grass roots were embedded into chunks of soil that could have been used for house building. It was a case of battering the soil to free as much root as I could. The bed is now cleared but needs digging - no chance until we get some rain. 
Notice in the photo the two other beds that need clearing. I think you may just be able to differentiate the beds from the grass paths. The beds are the ones with the longer grass!

Meanwhile the Sweet Williams are languishing in the cold frame shaking to their roots in case the snails get to them before they have a chance to grow up. I guess the slugs and snails are making a bee-line (can they do that?) to our cold frame as it at least, courtesy of our watering can, is a rare damp area

A question
Is anyone else suffering from insect bites? Martyn and I are covered in bites that seem to last for ages.

More courgette recipes

I’m still trying out courgette recipes and have added the Lamb and Courgette Bake that I made for dinner last night 

and the Piccalilli recipe that Martyn makes each year.


  1. Re the insect bites: Yes! The other day I was bitten on the wrist by something very voracious. My wrist swelled up, went red and very itchy. Even after the application of hydrocortisone cream I was still suffering several days later. I didn't see what bit me, but presumably it was a horse-fly or something similar.

  2. Ours don't swell right up are just red and itchy but we both have dozens of them all over. They take ages to go down and even itch when there is nothing to see!

  3. Sue, thank you, I thought it was just me! I am being bitten to death on a near daily basis - certainly every time I venture to do some gardening, here or up at the plot. I always react really badly to them, and quite frankly would hate to inflict the sight of my legs on anyone right now, it would scare small children...

    We appear to be on day 3 of mizzle - enough to put you off going out and gardening but not enough to mean that you can rely on it to look after seedlings well. :-(

    Hope you get softened ground so that you can rescue the Sweet Williams soon...

  4. With me I hardly have to go out - my back is covered, my neck round my middle. Do the things bite through clothes or just sneak under them?

    Mizzle would describe exactly what we have been having too, Janet but today is a bit brighter

  5. No insect bites fortunately just an unexplained very swollen 3rd finger that I must see the doc about. I love piccalilli very much but have no homemade :(

  6. Hope your finger is better soon. Martyn makes the piccalilli outside as the fumes from boiling vinegar takes your breath away!

  7. Now I am wishing hard that we have good courgette harvest next summer looking at your many delicious recipes.

  8. Oh that picallili looks good.
    I have had a few bites this year, managed to get one on the back of each of my knees!
    About this time last year my bf got bitten on his hand and it swelled up all the way to his elbow. In A&E the nurse said that they had had a number of bites which were a lot worse than normal! Im wondering if we ended up with something in the UK that wasnt here before. Or if it was just a set of random coincidences.

    I hope they get better for you. x

  9. If you lived nearer I'd give you some of ours Diana.

    I had bites behind my knees too Knightmare and most other places too!
    They really itch behind knees don't they?

  10. Alot of hard work digging over your beds. I've a wasp nest somewhere near the chimney which was distrubed this week but no stings yet (luckily). Courgette bake looks good. Kelli

  11. Fortunately for the final dig we have a machine Kelli. We have wasps eating our apples so care needs to be taken when picking.

  12. I've had some terrible insect bites and they seem to take a while to go...very aggravating!!

    We aren't getting much rain around here either....I pray for the rain...but when it does come it never seems to last long enough to give anything any oomph...except the weeds of course!!

  13. I just noticed a new batch of bites this morning Tanya


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