Even though the spring was nothing to write home about, the harvest was fine. The vegetables coped well with the cold spring and not a very great summer and the harvest was good, apart from the carrots. Germination was poor and I made sure the ground was stone free. I tried three times, in the end I got two rows of reasonable carrots. I don’t think I was alone with this problem, other allotment holders experienced the same. Never mind, there is always next year.
Soft fruit was great, apples also. The figs were rather disappointing, certainly the cold spring affected them. There are countless immature figs on all my trees but I don’t have a chance to harvest them now, even though it is still quite mild. The days are getting shorter and they need the light.
I had so many tomato seedlings I had to put them not only in the greenhouses but outside as well. To my surprise and pleasure the outside ones are doing ever so well. I’m bottling oven roasted ones, making them into sauce and bottling them as well, the possibilities are endless. At the same time I am also using them in making tasty lunches – in combination with courgettes.
These monsters are tomatoes beefsteak, very firm, fleshy and very tasty.
The plot keeps giving, I am amazed every time I start harvesting.
The carrots are the very first ones and we had them steamed today as part of our lunch. Same with the potatoes and with that a piece of fish each, done in the oven very simply in foil with a drop of olive oil.
Very tasty indeed.
It was a beautiful day today, just like a summer’s day so I decided to make a day of it. I made myself a flask of coffee, took a couple of slices of the bread I made yesterday, bottle of water and a banana and went to the allotment. I wanted to do a lot there and I think I managed. I finished sowing parsnips and carrots and also planted four rows of second early potatoes.
2 kinds of potatoes
All this took quite a while, the ground was really dry and hard. I never thought I would be wishing for rain.
After a short break I continued with parsnip sowing – we shall have six lines of them. This year I took my time and sowed the seeds very slowly, fairly thinly so I wouldn’t need to thin the seedlings out. It worked and I made one packet of seeds go rather far. Then I did three more rows of carrots so all in all we shall have plenty of vegetables.
As the last job in the afternoon I decided to tackle the newly erected polytunnel.
This was the sight that opened before me. Not very encouraging but everything is manageable.
This is the better look, after turning the lawn-like surface over. The plan is to get to it tomorrow and clean out all the roots and clumps of grass, then spread a couple of sacks of horse muck, dig it in and wait for the right time to plant some cucumbers there.
I started working on this plot yesterday, did quite a lot and knew that the hard graft will have to continue. I was secretly hoping that I’d be able to finish digging this patch today.
I had to construct one more bean wigwam, that finished the line very neatly.
climbing bean structures
After doing this, some hard digging was due. I already had a strip of land ready for planting leeks – there was used to be a line of raspberries (altogether in the wrong place but I inherited it like that). They were getting past their best so I didn’t mind getting rid of them. I put loads of horse manure there, the soil was a bit starved and the leeks will do well in there.
Everything else is done on this patch, it will be parsnips and perhaps carrots, if I have some space left. I have got some land earmarked for carrots already but you can’t have too many…
plot for parsnips/carrots
plot for parsnips/carrots
I was glad I started nice and early today – soon after 9am – it was 12.20 when I finished and I allowed myself only a short coffee break.
To be continued tomorrow, there is more land to be got ready – after all, I have got three and half plots…..
It keeps me sane
I said it in the past and I say it now – going to the allotment is better than any therapy for me. I can self isolate, even on my way there and back, it is only about five minutes from my house and when I’m there I am in my little paradise.
Yesterday and today were devoted to digging and getting the land ready for sowing. I did my winter digging everywhere on my plots during the autumn and winter but this was to incorporate the horse muck and refresh the land where I had to walk on it (getting the top net for the fruit cage all square etc)
This piece of land was quite compacted but all is well now, ready for planting my potatoes.
Today’s effort was slightly bigger, it also helped that we had a shower of rain last night. This will be for carrots
and the final piece is ready for leeks. My leeks did very well last year, it was the Mammoth variety and they were very tasty.
Today is the second of January, another year gone and I’m ready to start one more year of enjoying myself on the allotment, growing an amazing range of vegetables. I have finally harvested the last of the carrots – they are not perfect but the taste is great. I have to cut and peel them, however they look so it doesn’t make much difference. The freezer is full of chopped carrots, ready to be used in stews etc, also grated carrots ready in small bags just enough for a carrot cake.
I also pulled out some leeks, that emptied one of the beds and as it was a nice afternoon, just the weather for digging, I did just that. If I do a bit each time I go there I will be done in no time.
I am amazed that I still have some carrots to harvest. I know that parsnips and leeks are fine left in the ground but not carrots. Well, I went down to my ‘farm’ yesterday, the weather was very nice, dry and mild, it was quite easy to dig out some more carrots. I had to stop myself from digging as I thought I wouldn’t manage to take it all home. Fortunately Frank came to my rescue and we had two full large bags of carrots to take home. They are not perfect but not bad either. Very tasty they are!
There were some purple and yellow carrots among my harvest and I remembered that my friend gave me a packet of mixed seeds. The purple ones were completely free of any blemish, no carrot fly damage, altogether pristine. The yellow ones were the same as the usual orange ones. I decided to get a packet of purple seeds, put the theory to test. We shall see. Mr Fothergill company has them, they are Purple Haze. Watch this space next year, they are on order.
The leeks are doing well this year too, I have been harvesting them regularly and I still have quite a lot in the ground. The same with parsnips. I know they don’t look perfect but they more than make up for it in taste.
I went to my ‘farm’ today first thing in the morning as the forecast said rain. As it happened, it was quite correct but I managed to do everything I wanted. It started to rain as I was going home.
First of all I put three bags of horse manure on each of my freshly dug pieces of land – I plan to grow sweetcorn there next year and then I harvested some veg for my friend next door.
The soil is great, hardly any weeds.
I also managed to dig in my new little orchard where I grew all squashes and pumpkins so that land is ready for next year too. I have to decide what to grow there next year.
Each time I pull some carrots and parsnips I wonder how I managed to grow them so big. I have been on the allotment for 10 years now and this is just about the best result!
This year my vegetables are doing very well, looking somewhat strange but tasting even better than before. I was sure the ground I prepared for the carrots was well dug over and free of stones but they are very strange. Huge – yes but the shapes…..
Very tasty! The tromboncino is great and keeps well.
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.
You can’t beat a home-made tomato soup!