GIANT CABBAGES

I was given some seeds of giant cabbages by a friend who had a plot on our allotment site. He grew giant vegetables – cabbages, marrows, runner beans – anything and everything and had great results. I must say he pampered his veg and they paid back.

I wasn’t so dedicated. I grew the seedlings in an ordinary potting compost and then transplanted them in one of my net cages – a must on our site as the birds would eat it all. I just put some horse manure in this cage in the winter and by spring it was ready.

The cabbages grew and grew …….

and now I shall have to think of the best ways to use these beauties.

Cabbage soup, here we go…….

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.

COURGETTES AND OTHER VEG

I always think that my courgettes aren’t going to do anything and they always prove me wrong. This year is no different.

The only change is the varieties I grow – yellow as before but very pale green ones I haven’t tried. I made a casserole with the green, yellow and pale ones today and it was delicious. It didn’t look very exciting but the taste was exceptional.

I use my favourite book of recipes, my son Mike gave it to me the first year I ever grew courgettes and I think he was concerned that I didn’t have enough recipes. No need to worry now!

002Not only do the courgettes grow well, I am very pleased to have grown my first perfect cauliflower ! Cabbage and calabrese is not in the same class but I’m happy all the same.

It certainly was worth going to the farm and getting a car load of sacks filled with horse manure!

WINTER VEGETABLES

When I first started gardening on the allotment I didn’t realise that I could have fresh veg almost all year round.

Today is the first day of the new year and I harvested some leeks, swede and parsnips

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and rather surprisingly some spring cabbage.008The ground was quite firm after yesterday’s frost but soft enough to lift the parsnips. They came out nice and clean and it didn’t take too much effort to clean them. All this fresh veg will be made into a thick country vegetable soup, just the thing for a chilly winter’s day.