COMMUNAL TREES

A few years ago we were lucky to get a small amount of money for our site and we decided to buy some fruit trees. They are all doing very well, we planted them at the end of one of the plots. It is actually at the end of my third of a plot, together with a fair lot of horseradish and a few crowns of rhubarb.

The only problem with it is that it tends to get overrun by weeds. This time of year is ideal for some drastic action. It was another nice day today so I did a bit of pruning of the trees – nothing too drastic, just shortening some very spindly branches and cutting out branches that were crossing over. Once that was done, the weeds were next to clear. At the same time I moved Simon’s invention for washing harvested vegetables closer to the tap. He had the clever idea to use an old wheelbarrow, remove the wheel and drill a few large holes in for drainage, cut off the handles and hey presto – a perfect solution to a dirty problem.

AND IT GOES ON…..

I like this time of year. Some people might find it sad or depressing that everything is finishing, dying down, but it doesn’t bother me. There is a certain kind of pleasure in clearing away dead leaves, cutting down raspberry canes and preparing new ground for next year’s planting.

That’s the raspberry patch and rhubarb bed cleared, canes cut down, mulched etc and now they can have a rest. I was picking the fruit right to the end and if I hadn’t done the tidy up they would still be producing more.

Next job was to finish clearing the ground around my other little plot, a half where we have some communal fruit trees and a bit of horseradish. All the leaves went in my next trench for more climbing beans, that exposed some juicy slugs and the birds had a feast.

After this I have just one piece of another plot to dig but I can take my time there, that’ll be the next year’s potato plot.

All in all I’m quite pleased with the result, especially as I have read an article praising the benefits of working on an allotment.

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.