HARVEST TIME

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.

first courgettes
and this is the result – tasty chutney

Not only courgettes but beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes and all the soft fruit – the allotment is giving and continues to give.

Happy days!

POTATOES

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.

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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!

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HARVEST TIME…

…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.20180901_192321

One evening on a walk we saw some black grapes hanging over a fence, we picked some and the result is delicious jelly

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The only downside of it all is that I don’t have enough hours in the day. I’m feeling my age too.

The icing on the cake are my figs.

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I bottled them in red wine, ever so tasty!

BUSY DAYS…

….are ahead.

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.

Watch this space!

SUCCESS

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!

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Not only carrots are doing well but also the beetroot – a mix of types, all very tasty.

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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.

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All in all – a great growing year so far.

BEETROOT

It was well worth the fuss in the early spring when I sowed some beetroot seeds in the trays in the greenhouse. I transplanted them later on the allotment and today was the day! My first harvest.

From this……DSCN1895

to this

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…in a couple of hours.

Delicious.

COOKING MARATHON

I managed to harvest a lot of produce yesterday so today was to be a day at home, cooking.

I brought home a lot of courgettes, of course, some beetroot and another bag of little apples. I followed the advice of Bob Flowerdew who said – thin the apples on the branches, go and have a cope of tea and when you come back to the tree, thin some more. I did just that and the result was a full carrier bag of reasonable little green apples – perfect for making jelly.

I was reminded also yesterday morning by my friend that she just finished my jar of garlic jelly. I quite forgot that I made it last year so this glut of little apples was just on time.

I used the recipe for chilli jelly from my favourite book of preserves and use crushed garlic instead of chillies. The result is delicious.

003The next on the list were the courgettes, apart from those I also picked some french beans and cauliflower, so I decided to make Piccalilli. This time the recipe is exactly as it appears in the book. Of course I had to start yesterday in the evening, soaking the veg in brine. It is quite a lengthy job but well worth it. Everybody says that my piccalilli is much better than the bought one.

002It took a bit of organising to fit it all into one day; the courgette chutney needed to start with sprinkling the sliced courgettes with salt and draw the water out but as one lot was cooking the other was waiting to be rinsed and drained. Beetroot was cooked last night and peeled so all I had to do was to make the chutney. These two were made using the recipes I already used, they’re very popular so I didn’t see any reason to look for new ones.

All in all I made 26 jars of preserves, managed to run out of turmeric (fortunately a nearby corner shop sells it) and the hose smells like an oriental spice stall.

CHUTNEY MANUFACTURE

Yesterday was a rather gloomy day and what is best to do on a day like this is – go down the allotment and see what is ready.

There was plenty – managed to pick a huge bag of beetroot, they are growing well this year, good sizes. It was all very wet and when I finally came home I was soaking wet. Of course I wanted to pick some raspberries – like walking into a shower.

After a proper shower at home I started preparing the beetroot for making chutney. I had so many I had to boil them in two big pots.

I have two recipes, my all time favourite Beetroot chutney by Nigella

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and a new one with horseradish and white cabbage for a change.

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One positive thing about this chutney is that I could use a couple of my cabbages and the horseradish grows with gay abandon in a corner of the communal plot. Nobody seems to want it, I grated a lot some time ago and froze it. I wasn’t sure if it would be strong enough when defrosted but all was well.

BEETROOT CHUTNEY

It must be the first time this year that I have managed to grow very nice big beetroot. I grew seedlings in a tray and later transplanted them out in the prepared bed on the allotment. It worked and I picked a very good bunch the day before yesterday. They cooked very well and yesterday, on a hot day, I made the first batch of my favourite beetroot chutney.

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