aasThe last time I was ill for as long a period as this, I was suffering from blood poisoning. That wasn’t much fun either. So here’s the third week of illness and it is wearing me down. The respite provided by the first lot of antibiotics proved fleeting and I’ve spent the last week coughing like a jackal. A draining side-effect is that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for weeks. As a result I’m feeling a very dark shade of blue indeed.

Probably ultramarine.

Still I should count my blessings. There was a poor woman in the doctor’s waiting room today explaining to a fellow ninny that, because of the credit crunch, she had been forced to go back to work. Not only that, her cash strapped situation meant that she was slaving away for a whopping nine hours per week. Nine whole hours! Per week!

I am being unkind. That’s what happens when you are fed up.

So, in an effort to lift my sprits, plans are in hand for next years plants. I have a notebook somewhere with jottings of ideas/schemes, that I’ve made during the season, for next year’s ornamentals. It’s something I always plan to do, but never quite get round to and if I could actually find the thing, I would be rather pleased with myself.

It’ll turn up, and anyway it’s the veg that I have in mind at the moment.

For many years I’ve looked, where possible, to have colour as an important part of the crops to grow. But of course this should not compromise taste. Following family tradition we’ve had yellow courgettes for many years. They look good, are firmer fleshed and less watery than the green ones. Also they are easier to spot amongst the foliage. A while back I grew the oft-vaunted “Painted Lady” runner beans, but whilst the red and white flowers were pretty, they provided rather a poor crop of very stringy beans, and so the Lady has not been invited back. Other colour staples include rainbow chard, yellow french beans, bronze fennel, plus chive and rocket flowers for salads.

Since Little Boots first ventured into the garden, there has also been a colour impact. Sometimes this has been for amusement, sometimes for more nefarious reasons. For instance this year we grew “Purple Dragon” carrots after Little Boots announced “I don’t like carrots!”. It was a bit of a shocker (especially as it was a lie) so I set about undermining, rather than confronting the situation. It worked a treat and they were a great success. The perisher also has a good eye for this unusual veg and actually spotted the seeds for the pale, grey, “Snowman” pumpkin we have grown this year.

And whilst this season has been the latest in an increasing veg colour explosion I’m determined that next year we will go batty with it all. We will definitely do Purple Dragons again. Also some gorgeously red-flowered broad beans that we grew called something like Windsor Red (I have the packet in a safe place somewhere), and much, much more.

Oh, and I plan to flood the allotment with nasturtiums, if only to drive the flower-hating falangists down there completely dotty.