Friday, 29 May 2015

Late spring allotment update

What with everything 'springing' into growth (ho ho) I thought I'd have a little update on some of the things happening at the plot....

There are a LOT of strawberries coming, here's the bed where I use stones as a mulch
There's also loads of redcurrants
Gooseberries...(I've tied in the branches to make it easier to pick the fruit later, plus they were getting heavy and drooping on the soil)
Black currants...
Apples on my dwarf trees (A lot of these will fall off)
And quite a few saskatoons
My autumn sown broad beans are podding up. You can just make out one of my nibbled radishes in the middle, boo to the naughty slugs and snails who made the most of the weeds to hide in (I've since weeded and got rid of the said slugs n snails)
Here's the rows
And my spring broad beans are coming along, I gave them a windbreak on the windy side recently but will remove it soon
My garlics are yellowing, I think I might try lifting one or two to see what they're like, it seems a bit early for them to be ready?
Main crop potatoes and onions on the left. These onions I haven't covered but have been sprinkling Rosemary and marjoram trimmings between them to distract the pests (not sure if this will work)
More maincrop potatoes, mulching with grass clippings
Early potatoes, with the first flower, if you look very closely. These are mulched thickly with grass cuttings from the main allotment access path, raked up after the council had been round strimming (my allotment neighbour kindly raked some up for me as I was away)
I've been planting out some curcurbits but still have more to go, here's some summer squashes, with a bean wigwam. This is the spot where eventually I'll put up my greenhouse sometime (It's already been few years!)
Gherkins to grow up over the netting
I've been forking in some really lovely well-rotted horse poo. I went out with a friend on Wednesday to bag some more up and have several bags to keep me going :)
Some flowers to finish, pretty sage
And calendula (self sown)

I should add that not all things are doing well...all my brassica seedlings have been eaten, twice. Some of my carrots have gone too, but on the whole it's not too bad!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Harvest Monday - soupy

We've had another bank holiday weekend, yippee. It's always a bit confusing though, and today doesn't really feel like Monday. I got in a few trips to the plot over the weekend and planted out some of my squashes and courgettes etc. I used up the horsemanure I was saving for my tomatoes because i'm going to be getting a load more on Wednesday, so decided to leave potting-on my toms til next weekend (the squashes really needed planting out so took priority).

The toms really need planting out too though, several have started producing flowers. But I've read before that it's good to let them get to that point before potting into their final places as it encourages more fruit (because they're running out of nutrients and think they will die soon so produce fruit sooner than if they were Molly-coddled).

Toms waiting for attention
With the harvests this week I've made a couple of soups, this one was cauliflower and leek, with my own added greens
There's fair bit of over wintered rocket still growing in the back garden. I think if I keep picking it, it'll just carry on cropping
Rocket, goats cheese and home made coleslaw, plus home grown gherkins
Rocket and egg sarnies
The tub of Swiss chard in the front yard is producing some really big leaves. Although North facing, It gets the sun first thing in the morning
These went into a kind of bolognese, with kidney beans and a tub of my own tomato, chilli and basil sauce from the freezer
I went out for dinner for a friend's 60th birthday on Saturday. Jan stayed in as she wasn't feeling too good still, and had veggie pie and greens (Purple sprouting broccoli leaves and shoots)
I've been clearing out the PSB plants to make way for the squashes etc so harvested a whole load more of the best leaves
And the last few shoots
And some chard and sage
Which went into the second soup of the week, onion, garlic, ground ginger and cumin with red lentils and all the greens. It was good!

And then tonight i made a big pan of veggie curry. Usually I make enough for two meals but tonight I thought I'd make a bigger batch for three meals, adding in lots of chard from the allotment which had started to bolt, and a can each of chickpeas and butter beans.

Yummy yummy! We'll have it again for lunch tomorrow and then maybe lunch the next day too or maybe the evening. We don't have enough mini naan breads for all those meals so I might do some rice one day. Theres's a lot needing to be done in the garden and the plot so any time that can be saved on cooking is very much appreciated.

Linking in with Harvest Monday at Daphne's dandelions


Friday, 22 May 2015

Flying visit to Patrick's Patch community veggie garden

So last weekend I was away for one of my brothers' 40th birthdays (I have a big family and I'm the youngest). Anyway, we went camping in the New Forest and did the lovely riverside walk between Bucklers Hard and the really pretty village of Beaulieu.
Jan and I stayed in the New Forest a few years ago on a holiday with her family and I remembered we discovered by accident this amazing community veggie garden called Patrick's Patch. So, whilst the rest of the gang were milling around (as large groups of people tend to), I nipped up the road to see the garden again. (Jan wasn't there this time round, still too poorly with the thyroid problem).
They have quite a large site, a mixture of very smart raised beds combined with open rows, plus planting around the perimeter too.
Trained fruit trees along one side
Seedlings coming along well. I love the pea/ bean structure to left right, made with hazel poles. They have a big fruit cage in the background too
Good use of mesh, which looks easy to get under when you need to weed
Really good lettuces, so jealous (I have none at the moment!)
More delicious looking lettuces, there were several raised beds of these
There was even an olive tree! Plus you can just make out some pea /bean wigwams in the borders at the back
Well, it was a bit of a rushed visit of just a few minutes, so apologies that the piccies aren't better. I was really pleased to have seen it again though, I didn't expect to ever go back!
And I couldn't leave out a piccie of the New Forest ponies. They roam about everywhere freely and this was at the campsite. Some of the kids from our group were enjoying watching them (though they did get wet bums from sitting on the damp grass)

Hope you enjoyed a whirlwind visit to Patrick's Patch!


Monday, 18 May 2015

Harvest Monday - rhubarb shortbread sans photo

It's a little bit light on the harvests this week 'cause I've been away for a long weekend camping in the New Forest for my brother's 40th birthday, (ponies, birds, very pretty, very cold at night). One day we went to Beaulieu and I remembered from a visit a few years ago that there was a community veggie garden, so I nipped up there for a few minutes whilst the others (several families with many children) were tucking into ice creams (yes, I did have an ice cream too, ginger flavour, yum). The photos are on my camera so I'll try and get them off it this week to share, it's a great place. I was very jealous of their amazing lettuces.

But in the meantime, here's this week's harvests:
I picked some more Purple sprouting broccoli leaves, which are actually really tasty
Which we had with poached eggs (Looks a bit like the grouch from Sesame Street)
More rocket
I accidentally pulled up a little garlic whilst weeding...
So that night, I pulled a couple of chard leaves from the tub in the front yard...
..and made posh baked beans (which is basically, fry an onion, plus the garlic, and some mushrooms, add the baked beans and then the chard. It makes a quick, tasty meal)
Before I went away I picked a big bag of chard from the allotment to keep Jan going for a few days (she's still not well enough to do too much, but is getting better)
On my last night we had noodle soup with some of the chard and one asparagus spear (ooh)
Then whilst I was away she had our new classic, spicy chick pea pie with greens
She also used some chard in a cous cous and chick pea dish but didn't get a pic. The chard looks nice though
I was travelling by train to the New Forest and was limited in what I could carry, but still wanted to take something home made, so I picked some rhubarb and we made Nigella Lawson's rhubarb shortbread, as recommended by CJ from Above the River
I didn't have quite enough rhubarb for the recipe so made up the additional weight with stem ginger. Here it is before cooking.....
...and I have no photos of it baked.....argh! It looked so good and was really delicious. We cooked it a little bit longer than the recipe as the top still looked a bit wet, but it hardened up the next day and cut quite nicely. Well, we shall just have to make it again when more rhubarb's grown.
So I'm a bit annoyed there was no photo of the shortbread (I was sure I took one of it cooling, sigh), so instead will finish with the laburnum tree in our back garden earlier this evening in the sunshine (which followed a miserable after noon of rain, that caught me on the walk home from the train station).

Pretty! And full of buzzy bees.

Linking in with Harvest Monday on Daphne's Dandelions