We seem to have another heat wave so I am doing a reduced amount of work on the allotment. But even the reduced amount takes quite a while before I manage to water my four greenhouses. Of course that usually leads to tidying up inside, picking ripe tomatoes and anything else I might see.
By the time I have done all that I didn’t feel tired yet so I picked my blackberries, some apples, plums and a few courgettes. Then there were the last few potatoes in the ground, got them out and decided to have them for lunch with the few heads of broccoli. By now I certainly had enough and thought of going home. The harvest was so good I had to load it all in my wheelbarrow to take it home.
Of course I had to make something out of all this . On top of that I picked some beautiful long green peppers in my greenhouse at home so I added them to the oven roasted tomatoes and bottled them . All ready for the winter.
I had so many plums I was able to make a number of jars of plum chutney. It will be interesting as I have never made this one.
I knew that today was ‘stay in the kitchen’ day and I was right. The result is wonderful, well worth the time spent chopping and slicing. A few trips up into the loft to collect some more jars for bottling the pickled beans and Kilner jars for the bottling and all is done. The huge lot of jars is rapidly going down, there are no more Kilners there, only the ones I have ready downstairs. Never mind, that can be sorted out.
I used the box of blackberries to bottle them, just packed them in the jars and pressed down, they were so juicy nothing else was needed.
They will make a perfect desert in the winter.
Next on the list were the beans – I had a lovely mix of different climbing beans so I decided to make something savoury for a change.
We’ll have to wait a few months to let them mature but they are perfect, very tasty. I might be making some more, there will be many more beans.
The last but not least were the tomatoes, courgettes and a few of the left over beans. My latest favourite product, pasta sauce.
It was in the middle of the afternoon that I finally did the last lot of washing up and labelled all the jars.
Tomorrow is another day, I’m sure I will find something else to do on the allotment and harvest more goodies.
It was back to a hot day today but I wasn’t planning to do anything too strenuous on the allotment. Nowadays I go every other day to water all the tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouses and harvest whatever I can. It was no different today.
As there are so many blackberries that are ripening so fast I pick them every time I go there. Last time I made some jam and today I thought I would try something else. We like blackberry and apple crumble, I had a fair number of apples under my trees so I picked them. When I got home I sat and very painstakingly cut them up, and chopped them into small pieces, mixed with the very ripe blackberries and over a low heat cooked them. The result is delicious, I didn’t use any sugar but I would add some later if needed. I filled four Kilner jars, one pie dish ready for crumble tomorrow and I still have a bowl of them left to have just with a drizzle of cream.
Of course there were more tomatoes ready to pick and this time I made a huge pot of tomato soup, just added some basil leaves, no water at all needed, the tomatoes are beautifully juicy. This made four Kilner jars as well and a bowl left, enough for supper for the two of us one evening, served with a garlic baguette or some such.
Both lots were put through a water bath, around 15 minutes and I have a ready supply for the winter. Nothing artificial added, just pure fruit or vegetables.
At last the temperature is a bit easier to work on the allotment, however my activities are rather curtailed. I have great plans on the way there – I’ll do the weeding here, collect the cut branches there etc. It is the same every time I go there and it always finishes in the same way – only a fraction of jobs get done. Take today. I was hoping to get on with watering all the plants in the four greenhouses but when I got to the farm I noticed that the blackberries had turned black overnight. I wanted to make some jam so I decided to pick them first and then do the other jobs. This didn’t take too long and I had two full boxes quite quickly.
As I started watering the greenhouses I realised the tomatoes needed picking as well, even though I had a large bag of them a couple of days ago. Another little delay but well worth it, I could make more pasta sauce because I also picked a handful of sweet chillies in yet another greenhouse.
After that I finally got going with the watering and after that came a few more jobs – cutting off some of the tomato foliage and tying the plants to their sticks, weeding inside the greenhouses and here I thought – how come the weeds always grow so well, even if the plants I want growing are struggling. There must be some kind of logic here but I can’t see it.
I was slowly getting round to all the jobs I wanted to do, even managed to harvest some runner beans and other climbing beans. I wanted to make more pasta sauce, this time a mix of tomatoes, peppers and the beans. It all together made a huge potful and I have kept one portion for us for tomorrow’s lunch, the rest is already bottled in my Kilner jars. All will be very nice in the middle of the winter.
As the last thing in the evening I made the jam. I had more than enough so I got two Kilner jars of blackberries as well as all the jam. I’d better slow down a bit with the jam making, there isn’t much storage space left and I’m beginning to run out of empty jam jars.
There are very dark clouds overhead and I’m hoping we might get some rain at night. I think I will work in the back garden at home tomorrow, and I must catch up.
Autumn is here and with it certain tasks that I enjoy. Yesterday I started with the line of loganberries and blackberries. They produced bowls of delicious fruit but now they just looked untidy. It didn’t take long and as I finished that I dug over the whole area; it is all ready now for next spring. I had potatoes here, not sure yet what I will plant or sow next year.
Today’s job was the sorting out raspberries. Slightly more difficult – the bindweed was everywhere. I wanted to start cutting them down some time ago but they were still producing fruit. But I didn’t find any raspberries today so I started. After working on it the whole day I managed to clear about a third.
To be continued tomorrow, if the weather is kind to me.
I don’t have the mason bees there this year, I have moved them to my back garden. But we have lots of bees there anyway; Mary, who lives at the back of the allotment, keeps bees. She has a number of bee hives and we had some honey from her last year. That is one of the reasons why I have some flowers on my plot.
The lupins are wonderful, all grown from seeds and the bees love them. The rose bush was free from a gardening magazine some years ago, it only cost the postage. Well worth it.
It is not only flowers that are in full bloom, loganberries and blackberries are doing well too. I’m hoping for a good harvest, we need some cheer!
I have decided on a different strategy when it comes to jam making. The usual time was in the middle of summer when the weather is (hopefully) quite hot and it is all rather tiring. Not any more.
I always freeze the extra harvest of strawberries , raspberries and blackberries. The strawberries are crushed and weighed in 500g pots and frozen, the other berries are just frozen loose in bags.
Yesterday was a jam making day and it couldn’t be any easier. I selected 4 such packets, added the required amount of sugar, lemon juice and Certo and hey presto
we have 12 more jars of strawberry jam.
I shall make some jam as I harvest the fruit but just enough to keep going and the rest of the fruit will be frozen, ready for future use.
I think I could apply this motto not only to my activities on the farm but also to acquiring land.
When I first started all those years ago – can’t believe it is 9 years ! – I had half of one plot. I thought that would be quite enough. How wrong was I. The other half of the same plot was soon mine and very shortly I had all this land I have now. The secret is to do little and often – or in my case a lot and often!
Today was a case in point. Because it was raining during the night I didn’t want to do any digging. Instead I decided to sort out the original line of blackberries that is half way down my original plot. It was there already and I didn’t do it properly in the past.
And it all looks much better. Tomorrow is another day and another bit of work will be done.
Some years ago I planted a small sage plant on the allotment – it was a rooted branch on my plant in the back garden. I think it liked it on the farm because when I dug it out it did exactly the same again but even more – I managed to split it into a number of smaller plants, all of them with a good root ball. They are now at the side of one of my net cages.
It was still too wet for digging so the next job had to be moving one of my thornless blackberries and a loganberry to their new home.
This is the perfect time for this kind of activity.
I have got a line of blackberry and loganberry in the middle of my original allotment – it divides it in two. The plants were quite small when first planted but now they’re quite vigorous and unmanageable. As I have a square of land with some fruit trees and bushes I thought a line of posts with supporting wires would be just right to finish this fruit set up.
Fortunately Simon was on the allotment and offered to help. I knew there were some metal posts in our lovely clean communal shed. We got them out but found that they were too long. Again Simon came to my rescue – managed to cut all three to the same size. All I had to do was to dig three deep holes and hammer the posts in. We even found a large reel of some plastic coated wire during the shed clear out so I could fix five lines of support.
All I have to do now is to prune the plants and dig the loganberry out and plant it in the new place. I’m sure it will grow better – it is in full sun and will have space to run.