SPRING IS HERE

Finally it all came together. First of all I managed to harvest my very first spring rhubarb – I think it is the tastiest of all the pickings.20210318_111901

Last year in the autumn I have acquired another greenhouse, a very old one at that. It belonged to an elderly lady who lived in a house right next to our allotments. We were very friendly, she was used to come to see me quite often . She had a little gate in her fence as her husband was used to have a plot on our site quite a number of years ago. She died a few years ago and the people who bought her house didn’t want the greenhouse so I rescued it. The structure was sound but as we dismantled it quite a lot of the panes of glass broke – it was very old and brittle. Anyway, with help I moved it all to my plot and stored it very carefully. My friend Dave said he would help me to put it together. Soon after the New Year he surprised me by getting the structure up and in position. It formed a neat group of greenhouses. Next job was harder – sorting out the panes of glass. As so much of it broke I decided to do a bit of mix and match – I ordered eight polycarbonate sheets for the side panels and decided that the rest and the roof would be glass. Had to buy some more glass but it all started to take shape. I’m delighted to say that the only thing to do now is to fix new runner wheels on top of the door – on order – and all is done. Nevertheless I have constructed my raised beds inside, filled them with the contents of one composter bin and a number of sacks of Dalefoot compost. This way I can have one greenhouse for tomatoes, one for peppers and chillies and one for aubergines and the occasional cucumber will be placed where I will find space. I am very happy but all this was possible only with a huge lot of work by Dave. Thank you Dave. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

MORE TOMATOES

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.

TOMATOES

I am very happy with my tomatoes. Most of them are in the greenhouses but some had to be planted outside because I had so many plants. Every seed germinated. As ever, I sowed more – just in case – there was no need this year, but how was I to know?

Anyway, I harvested the first lot the other day and started as I mean to go on – bottling them. Very simply, chopped the tomatoes, put in a small Kashmiri chilli (not very hot, just a hint) and some mixed herbs. Forty minutes in a water bath and all is ready to be used in the winter.

TOMATOES

It looks like a great harvest is coming – all of a sudden the tomatoes are turning red . These are in the greenhouses so far but I have a number of plants outside, both on the allotment and in the back garden and all are looking very healthy too.

WE’RE FULL

This is the final look, for now at least. I have managed to move some seed trays to my overflow plastic greenhouse at the back of the large one, gained more shelf space and placed two more large pots there. Two more tomato plants have a new home.

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The main greenhouse is full to bursting

And to make sure all possible little space and container is used, I have got some first early potatoes in bags in the overflow greenhouse. They are the Swift variety and doing very well.

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RE-ARRANGING

This time it was the turn of the big greenhouse in my back garden. This is where I grow all my seedlings that I later transport to the allotment and either plant them in one of the two greenhouses there or out in the open.

I needed to plant out the aubergines and some tomatoes and peppers so I moved some trays with seedlings into the veranda, ready to be taken to the allotment. The phrase – re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic came to mind. It was just like that but the result is exactly what I was hoping for.

Fortunately I still have some of the large flower pots (that I found when some cannabis growers dumped them), so I filled them with soil and planted some aubergines and a selection of tomatoes.

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As I will move more trays out, I will move more pots in (I still have some in store). I hope for a great harvest.

POLYTUNNEL

I had an idea that I’d like to have another greenhouse – more room to grow peppers and tomatoes. One day I was talking to Simon who has a large polytunnel on his plot. Due to circumstances he found it difficult to keep it in order and to cut a long story short he offered me a chance to use one half of it. Of course I said yes! We shall have peppers there and that way I shall have my two greenhouses to grow more tomatoes.

I went down my farm today in the afternoon and as it started raining I was able to dig the soil inside, water it and spread some horse muck in. Another job done!

Now I just hope for good weather so I can finish all my other jobs.

HARVEST

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.

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For the first time I have so many tomatoes I have been making tomato soup every few days.

THERE’S MORE

During my daily visit I managed to pick some more tomatoes, some cucumbers and put more lids and suchlike under the growing pumpkins and squashes. Needless to say I had to keep up with the weeds – if everything grew as well as the weeds….

I’m delighted with the cucumbers, they are very tasty and it looks the plant will keep on producing. The long shiny peppers will turn red eventually, they are the long sweet variety. Another first for me in the greenhouse. I must be doing something right….

TOMATOES

I am very happy with my tomatoes this year, I have two greenhouses and they are full of tomatoes and aubergines. So far I have only tiny aubergines but the tomatoes are doing great.

So far I made some tomato sauce and soup and will be making more.