Such a long time since I updated my blog my ever faithful readers, and I can only humbly apologise. I blame the summer holidays, the kids off school, and us going to West Sussex for a week, and then a couple of weeks later, 2 weeks in the South of France, close to the Spanish border. A fabulous holiday was had by all, but now September is here and life very quickly gets back to normal.
The allotment missed us terribly, and how did it show us, by growing like some possessed tropical rainforest! We visited on Sunday 4th September and came away with 14 kilos of ripe tomatoes, a carrier bag overflowing with runner beans and the same with French beans. We also pulled a couple of turnips, and picked 20 courgettes. There was plenty ready, but I only wanted to pick things which really needed picking.
Before leaving, Darren, another younger allotmenteer, was digging up 2 monster cabbages and I mentioned how we had all been admiring them as they were mahoosive! Just like that, he said I could have them as they don't eat cabbage!! 'Well why grow them?' said I, and he just shrugged his shoulders. The tortoises will be living off the outer leaves for weeks to come and we will be having cabbage at every meal for a month.
Finally, we popped onto Jacks plot and picked some raspberries as he had left me a message whilst we were away telling me to help myself as he is getting sick to death of them. He is filling a bowl full every other day and his freezer is full. Well, how can a girl refuse such an offer.
The children and I popped to the plot again on Friday 9th September for a quick harvest and filled another carrier bag with tomatoes, another with runners, and we filled a basket and large tub-trug with apples. My two trees are so heavily laden I don't know what to do with them all. I have been making tomato soup and tomato pulp for the freezer. I have also done a couple of batches of chunky tomato sauce using courgettes and onions with the toms and freezing that. I have frozen a lot of the French beans as I do find they freeze okay, and have frozen some raspberries. I have juiced a large batch of apples and have about 6 pints of juice which I am going to turn into hot chilli jelly and mint jelly for winter use. I will juice more apples and freeze the juice, and I think husband is going to have a go at making cider now we have found somewhere that stocks home brewing supplies.
Our latest visit was today, the 11th of September, and the main plan was to get my Japanese onions in the ground. Husband dug the last of the spuds - won't be bothering with Maris Piper again as they were scabby and sluggy, so next year I will just be growing Kestrel, International Kidney and Pink Fir Apple. He then picked crates and crates of apples, clearing all of those that over hung the paths and beds. He then cut the branches back and tidied up. Meanwhile I dug and raked over the old spud area and planted my Electric, Radar and Biondie onion sets. The onions were pretty rubbish last year so I am hoping that these will do better as they have gone in a touch earlier.
I picked yet more ripe toms and then we headed for home. There is still masses on the allotment for harvesting during the autumn and winter. Swiss chard, purple kale, savoy cabbage, pointy green cabbage, white cabbage, purple sprouting brocolli, caulis, sprouts, spinach, spring onions, beetroot, leeks, parsnips, turnips, kohl rabi, swede, chicory, chillies, jerusalem (f)artichokes, french beans, runner beans, peas, carrots, courgettes, marrows, cucumbers, various winter squash and tomatoes. I have some radish which have run to seed and I have tried their pods, something which Alys Fowler from the beeb reckons are great with a beer rather than nuts. Don't know if I would go that far, but they aren't bad so I will pick some of them next time as I think they would be nice mixed with a salad.
Next visit, all being well, next weekend.