It was another lovely day today, perfect for some work on the allotment. I started yesterday but because it was so windy I just managed to prepare the ground for sowing my parsnips. The seeds would have been blown all over the site.
It all worked out just fine anyway, Simon had a greenhouse to move from one plot to another – he wanted to have a clear run on that plot in order to work on it with his rotavator. This greenhouse we moved to a plot where he has a polytunnel already so the two structures are side by side. He took the glass out beforehand and it was quite easy to move it.
Today was a better day, sunny and the wind was much lighter. I was glad that I had the ground ready so I could start sowing straight away. First it was parsnips – I cannot imagine not growing parsnips. I went for the tried and tested varieties – Javelin and Gladiator. Every year I try to sow the seeds very carefully to avoid thinning out too much but this year I think I have done it just right. I’m sure we’ll have some great parsnip. Also I waited a few weeks to let the soil warm up more – again in the past I was a bit too quick to start sowing and the germination was poor. Let us hope for better results this year.
Next task was to sow some beetroot and chard. From past experience I know that I have to grow these in a net tunnel because the pigeons we have on the site would eat the very first leaves and I would have no harvest. That happened to me a few years ago and I have been sowing always under a net cover ever since. This is inside my very first net tunnel, I had to do a bit of repair work but I’m sure it is good for another season.
The rest of the space will be used for growing brassicas – red and white cabbage and broccoli, I’ve put down some lime on the soil already.
The last two plots that were unused have new tenant, Wayne, our friendly tree surgeon who lives next door. He and his Mum keep bees and he has got two of his hives on the plot next to the fence and he’ll be growing on the next one, next to mine. It was a very overgrown plot and he worked magic on it. It is ready for planting. He also planted a few small fruit trees there, his bees will be busy pollinating.
I was looking at my fruit trees, the pear trees are always the first to start flowering. I just hope we don’t get any late frost.
As usual I started with a number of rows of beetroot seedling but before I knew the birds have tried to strip the leaves off. I was just in time, I put loads of sticks between the rows and used old video tapes to string here and there. It worked, I’m very pleased to say. The harvest has started and I’m happy with it.
As usual I boiled the first lot and ate them just cooked – lovely! The next harvest was turned into my favourite chutney.
This is just about the best recipe, I have been making this chutney for quite a number of years. It keeps well and, like most chutneys, it improves with keeping.
At last, Saturday was a nice day and so was today. A bit colder but dry!
On Saturday I made my little enclosure for the leaf mould – very simple, four long pieces of wood for the corners and a piece of chicken mesh all around. Pinned to the ground and fixed to the posts, then filled with the leaves I collected from the allotment and the back garden. I will just keep filling it up and leave it for as long as I can.
Today, on Sunday, I was spending some time in the kitchen. First of all I had to cook the beetroot so I could pickle it and then, as an afterthought, made some pickled eggs. I love pickled eggs but always forget to make them. All is well now.
My plots were judged for the second time early in September, the usual in the city allotment competition. Now I can try and forget all about it as we won’t find out the result for some time. Today was one day that we didn’t have rain so I went down the allotment, just to see if there is anything else I could harvest. There always is!
My beetroot is just amazing – I can’t remember what I did to prepare the ground but it worked. This is certainly the best harvest I have had in all my years growing veg there.
Not just the beetroot, it is everything else – the last of the sweetcorn, runner beans, giant carrots and the best of all – raspberries! These are the autumn fruiting variety and they keep on giving.
Getting the second greenhouse certainly was worth it – another generous picking of tomatoes.
The weather was rather uncertain today so I got busy harvesting as much and as quickly as I could. Difficult to choose where to start as everything is doing so well. I must have done something right at the start of the year to get this kind of harvest – in just a few hours in the morning. Not only in the greenhouse in the back garden – the aubergines are amazing, the very first time for me.
They made a delicious aubergine parmiggiana. The allotment is producing huge amounts of beetroot, courgettes and other goodies – the fig tree there is only a few years old but has some tasty figs.
For the first time I have so many tomatoes I have been making tomato soup every few days.
It is rather busy now, everything seems to be ready almost at the same time. I wasn’t sure how well will my tomatoes or courgettes would do but I didn’t have to worry. All is doing very well and I started making jams, chutneys, soups… you name it and I make it.
Not only courgettes but beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes and all the soft fruit – the allotment is giving and continues to give.
At last! The weather seems fine – I know a change is coming and I hope it won’t be too great but I thought it was time to plant my potatoes.
The ground was prepared and it took just a few hours in the morning to get the job done.
I didn’t buy any seed potatoes, just used my own from last year. They were really tasty so I shall have them again this year.
Also I sowed a number of lines of beetroot, one half the usual round ones and the other one the long cylindrical ones. That’s just a start, I shall continue in a few days with more beetroot. You can’t have too many!
…is here again. Even though we didn’t have much rain my harvest was great. I kept picking courgettes all the time, then carrots started. Now tomatoes are something else – I haven’t had a harvest like this yet and all of them are growing outside, in net cages. Amazing. I made passata, tomato soup, bottled chopped tomatoes for the winter, you name it and I made it. Even though beetroot didn’t germinate very well, I am picking some great ones, my Asian pears are delicious.
My little greenhouse on the allotment is well worth the money – never had so many cucumbers!
For the first time I managed to grow aubergines – I have a couple of plants in the greenhouse in the back garden and I have fruit on them! For the first time.
One evening on a walk we saw some black grapes hanging over a fence, we picked some and the result is delicious jelly
The only downside of it all is that I don’t have enough hours in the day. I’m feeling my age too.
It looks like the spring is finally here and work on the farm is getting done – bit by bit.
Even though we had a lot of rain our site drains quite well – there are a few clay patches but on the whole all is fine. It was a pleasure to sow my seeds today – 2 lines each of beetroot Boltardy, Chioggia and Detroid 2 and also 2 lines of Salsify. This will be interesting as I’ve never grown this vegetable. One of my plots is finished.
Another plot has 7 lines of carrot Flakkee but some space remaining, yet one more plot has 7 lines of parsnips and a bit more space. All will be filled as soon as I can plant all my potatoes.
All seems to be growing well and I’m busy harvesting some fab vegetables. This must be the first year I managed to grow some decent carrots – I said that before, the variety is called Flakkee and I am delighted!
Not only carrots are doing well but also the beetroot – a mix of types, all very tasty.
The pigeons on our allotment are so desperate that they peck at anything, even lettuce seedlings! The only thing to do was to grow almost everything vulnerable in a net cage – garden peas for one. This is the first year I managed to pick a decent amount – only because I put them in one of my net cages.