COMPETITION

Today was a special day down on the farm. Our allotment site came third in the city-wide competition and we are the proud holders of a trophy!

I came first in the Ladies’ category – this is my second time of coming first and third time of winning (I came first in the Newcomers’ section when I first started).

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I will keep the cup for one year, I also got a cheque for my efforts.

A great day was had by all.

CUCUMBERS

As all my other seeds the cucumbers germinated well in the spring and I had so many plants I had to give some away. But I planted two of them in the greenhouse in the back garden, just two and the harvest so far is amazing. They are the cucumber Perfect – I must remember them for next year, well worth growing. I train them up and then they can run along a string from one end of the greenhouse to the other so any future cucumbers can just hang down.

The biggest one escaped my notice, it was hanging down at the back. I started eating it yesterday, lovely taste and no bitterness. I like eating my cucumbers with the skin on and these are just perfect for it.

I have got more cucumbers in the greenhouses on the allotment, they are just a bit slower, they were planted there later.

HARVEST

It is all go on the allotment. This year the raspberries are amazing, I manage to pick a large box every other day. Not sure what I did but whatever it was it worked.

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The same goes for the red and white currants, beautiful. Here I know the reason, I did pamper all the fruit bushes in the fruit cage.

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I also had my first harvest of courgettes and french beans. Both are great, it is amazing how different the taste is when the fruit and vegetables are freshly picked.

 

 

But the biggest surprise are the aubergines. I always thought that they would be difficult to grow – not so. I had one plant last year and it produced some tasty fruit. This year I’m amazed how many I have. It seems that every seed I put in the soil germinated, I have aubergines in the greenhouse in the back garden and in both greenhouses.

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This is the biggest one so far. I have found a few good recipes and am looking forward to using them.

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Not bad for one aubergine. I’ll have to decide which recipe to use….

MASON BEES

I decided to move my mason bees from the allotment to the back garden. Last year was the first year I had them, they only capped one tube so I thought I’d like to offer them something better in here. I have got a fairly large manuka tree, grown from seed near the the place where I fixed the holder with the tubes. I didn’t check for a long time and the other day I managed to get to it, there is a large elderberry bush nearby too. To my delight I found nine capped tubes!

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After reminding myself what to do next I took the inner tubes out and stored them upright in a small jar on a shelf in the sitting room. I replaced these with empty ones and put them back in the holder. I am hoping they will carry on the same way and cap many more. It is well worth the effort, we have to keep the bee population protected.

JAM

Here we go again – as soon as I started with the strawberry jam the raspberries began ripening. I am pleased to say that my jam is made as fast as can be done. I picked two kilo of raspberries partly yesterday and finished today and now the jam is ready.20200616_185237

Yesterday was the turn of the strawberries, just eight jars.

Today’s result is 13 jars, the colour is amazing and the taste couldn’t be better.

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This is when the hard work starts paying off, it is great to see the result.

 

POTATOES

I had some chitted potatoes left early in the spring so I have planted them in some bags, about three potatoes in each bag. They started growing quickly and I kept them in my little plastic-covered greenhouse at the back of my large one in the back garden. They had some protection there, all I had to do was to top the soil up as they grew and water them from time to time. Yesterday afternoon I decided to find out what, if anything, was there.

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There was enough for a tasty dinner tonight with some freshly picked curly kale.

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Both will be steamed and served with some butter, pepper and a tiny sprinkling of salt. What is there not to like?

WEEDS

We had a little drop of rain last night, just enough to soften the surface of the soil. It didn’t penetrate deep at all but was just enough to make the weeding a bit easier. Today was the turn of the brassica cage. I have a number of purple sprouting broccoli, kohlrabi, red cabbages and curly kale there and a lot of weeds. Amazing that they grew so well asĀ  May was extremely dry. It was a job for the whole morning.

A few hours and a stiff back later it looked much better.

It is a pity I can’t make any use of the bucket of weeds…

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And after all the work I sprinkled a good amount of my feeding mix – fish, blood and bone and chicken manure pellets all around the plants. As I am writing this the long-awaited rain came so it should all soak in. Another net cage to weed tomorrow, and another the day after…..

JAM

Here we go again – a fantastic harvest of strawberries in the morning – 2,5 kilos – and 14 jars of jam made in the afternoon.

It was great to be able to make jam, I use Certo so the fruit doesn’t have to be boiled for ages to achieve a good set. I’m happy with the result.

NEW ZEALAND YAM

A little while ago my friend Dave gave me a packet with four New Zealand yam tubers. I have heard of them but never seen them so I was really careful to follow instructions as best I could. I’m hoping I will have a good harvest so we can share it and also keep some for growing next year.

I have chitted them inside the greenhouse and now when is nice and warm planted them outside.

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STRAWBERRIES

We have got our first harvest of strawberries! I have a feeling that it is quite early but for that I shall have to check my notes. No problem, I am grateful for the unexpected bounty. They not only look good but the taste is exquisite. Yet again I think of my Granddad, his strawberries were amazing but I think mine are not too far behind.

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They should be dark red and shiny. Very tasty indeed. Granddad would be pleased.