Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday 6th July 2006 - Weather: Hot and humid with short showers

Well, this morning I had the pleasure of accompanying year two on a trip the Priory Arch. Very pleasant, although the sky was dark and there was a light breeze. Could rain be on the horizon?

By 11am I was on the plot, and all was looking rather wilted, but still growing, just slowely. Glad to see the pak choi and kohl rabi I sowed has all germinated. Nothing yet from the spinach or the artic lettuce, but they haven't been in a week yet. Picked a cabbage and an iceberg lettuce - both have really good firm hearts so the cabbage will probably end up being used as coleslaw and the lettuce as a green salad mixed with other leaves.

First big job was to remove the last of the early onwards peas as they really had finished, and I wanted the room to sow another row of turnips. Look at these beauties that I pulled. These are called 'Snowball' and I got the seeds from Alan Romans website, 50p a packet. The ground was totally dry and crust, so I gave the area a couple of cans of water and waited for it to soak in before watering the seed drill.

Next out were the broadbeans. There were so few pods left, and as soon as they were getting to any size a critter was helping themselves, and as I found a sneaky hiding packet or Red Samuri carrot seeds, they were prompty evicted! I did leave the roots in because I assume as they are a bean, their roots have nitrogen fixing nodules, which will re-release the nitrogen as they break down.

The Alderman peas are now ready, and they are such good value. Huge thick long pods, each one with at least 10 large peas in. I have decided that next year I will only grow alderman peas and forget the shorter ones. I managed to fill my large trug with a mixture of broad beans, french beans, peas, and the first 2 runner beans!

Trying to plan for the winter, I decided to oik out a patch of beetroot and sow a nice row of spinach 'Bordeaux'. The young leaves are great in salads, and the older leaves are handy winter greens.

Right, head down, into the fruit cage! I managed to get stung on nettles, scratched on raspberry canes and prickled by gooseberrys, but my reward was a trug full of rasberrys, strawberrys, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberrys and jostaberrys. I am hoping to make a summer pudding to take with us on Sunday when we go visiting. The redcurrants are amazing, masses of them! The blackcurrants, although black they could go another week really, same with the jostaberries. The red gooseberrys are in the sun, so they have ripened and are fat, squidgy and delicious, but the green ones are still a month or more away as they are in the deep shade of the apple trees. I might think about moving them over the autumn, or at least take a dozen cuttings, so if they take, after the bushes have fruited next year, get them out.

Had a little wander around plot number two. Everything is growing and at last I can see courgettes. Looks like the glut will begin next week! Grabbed the last of the overwintered onions as their stems were bent. Then gave all the tomato plants a good dusting with Bordeaux powder. Hope blight doesn't strike. There are so many young fruits coming, I would hate to loose them all! Some of the tops of some of the spuds have started to really die back now, so I guess I should think about digging those. Thing is, we have sack fulls of new spuds from the volunteers at home, and we haven't even tried the Nadine spuds I dug last week!

It is great this time of year when the harvests are plentiful, but I do seem to spend hours when I get home sorting it all out, freezing and fridging it all! Here you can see my frozen garlics. I do this because the allotment suffers from terrible white rot and usually my garlics rot, and you can't see the damage until you break open a bulb to find all the cloves shrivelled and rotten. I skin the cloves and put them in my little blender, then whizz them up until they are finely chopped. They are then pressed into my flying saucer shaped ice cube tray (it is meant to hold a slice of lemon in your ice cube) and put in the freezer over night. Once solid, they are tipped out and stored in a tuperware box in the freezer for use as and when I need it.


Greenhouse Girl said...

Hi Emma

So you pulled up all the beetroot ... dare I ask what you did with it? I’m beetroot obsessed at the moment ‘cause I pulled up my first ones on Saturday and have since been living off boiled beetroot (much more yummy I think than when its been soaking in vinegar!).

Plus ... I was so jealous of the berries in the last post I dragged myself off to the local PYO and picked some strawberries and raspberries at the weekend ... tasted gorgeous and makes me think plans should be afoot to add fruit back into the allotment ...

Emma Jane said...

Hi Greenhouse Girl, I LOVE beetroot but cannot stand it pickled. YUCK! I always boiled it for hours and ate it cold, but was converted last year and now I eat it raw grated in salads or I chop it up with courgettes, aubergines, peppers and onions, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast slowely in the oven, or, if they are whoppers, I wrap them in lightly oiled foil and bake in the oven like you would a jacket spud. That way really concentrates the flavour and I scoff them hot from the oven!Course, you end up with purple pee, but I won't tell anyone if you won't! ;)

As for the fruit, wow it has been a great year. For me, if I could only grow one fruit on the plot, it would be raspberries as they are just gorgeous. I grow a summer fruiting variety called Glen Ample and would recommend them.

Emma Jane