Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Big Sprout?

No, it's a cabbage! The first of this year's.
There are masses of white fly so we had to remove lots of outer leaves, but there's plenty to have with fresh carrots (carrot fly damaged unfortunately) for our Quorn roast dinner. We're a bit concerned that the parsnips may have succumbed to carrot fly too, but we'll wait till Christmas to find out...
And as we've just finished decorating our Christmas tree I'm feeling Christmassy so here's the annual shot of the lovely Hungerford a Christmas lights - always stunning!
Oh, here's my latest Chainmail article - Hungerford's quarterly publication. I think I wrote it in a hurry :-/

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Soup, but no garlic, yet

A rainy and grey weekend means we still haven't planted our garlic - I think there's still plenty of time (even though I hear Gardeners Question Time are saying it's too late). I understood garlic cloves are planted by the shortest day and harvested on the longest day. I'm just worried that our bulb will start sprouting in the cupboard.
I've had three festival squash waiting to form part of a meal but one went off so I decided to deal with the other two a bit more promptly than intended. So, of course, they're now soup! That's next weeks lunches sorted.
I roasted the squashes before adding the flesh (and a shallot) to the stock, with plenty of pepper. I love my hand blender - my favourite kitchen utensil :-) I may spice it up a bit, but it tasted nice as it is. I tasted a bit of the squash before making the soup - okay, but not as tasty as the Cornells Bush Delicata.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

More Carrots, More Soup

We only visited the wet plot this afternoon to put some kitchen scraps in the compost bin and pull the carrots. We can't remember what variety they were - possibly sugar snap - they should gave been picked small for salads but it just didn't work out that way. Some had grown so large that they split, so they went straight into the compost.
That's the last of the 'summer' carrots - soup for next week, made with smoked rape seed oil. The soup is a bit more runny than my normal gloomy soup, so I hope it will be tasty, it smells good at the moment.
We left in the pouring rain - felt very similar to last Sunday, but no sunshine through the rain - so, a bit of a cheat - here's a photo of last Sunday's sunset as we walked home from the plot in the rain then too!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Colourful Days

The last two weekends have been good allotment weather - weirdly warm for the time of year, even at night. On the last weekend of October we made up the new bed for another row of strawberries. We piled up a mixture of home-made compost and the well-rotted manure. Then covered the row in weed suppressant.
Jamie cleared the Desiree potato rows and disposed of any which looked slightly dodgy, but we got a fair few gigantic ones which make delicious mash and one potato makes plenty for both of us!
We did a lot of weed clearing - there's so much grass which is where all the slugs are hiding. The plot looks much prettier again now! And look at the asparagus peas! They just won't stop growing. 
Our Tundra cabbages are looking good, considering their sad start and are just starting to form heads. We had to remove quite a few caterpillars from under the netting.
So, we left with some pretty veggies including a couple of Hooligan(!) squashes from fellow-plotholder, Jonathan. Thanks!
November arrived and still the temperatures aren't falling but it rained hard overnight on Saturday. Sunday afternoon was ok so we got our eight strawberry plants into their new bed.
The rhubarb plants have died back completely and the area looks good with no weeds and two (Jamie-neat) circles of manure & compost mix.
I picked a lovely bunch of carrots for tea and some lunch soups. I also picked some par-cel which Jamie added to our mash - our flat smells of celery, mmmm, yum!
Some of the carrots have a bit of carrot fly damage.
We left as the sun started to go - too early now the clocks have fallen back. Aah look how pretty and berry-laden the hedge is.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Holidays are Over :-(

We've been away in lovely Tenerife for a couple of weeks. Puerto de la Cruz is in the North of the island and is very beautiful. It doesn't get quite as scorchio as the South of the island, but night-time temperatures were 23°, so not bad for October!
Banana plantation
We had a few hours of rain over a couple of daya; the trees and shrubs really appreciated it but everything dries off so quickly as soon as the sun emerges.
Rainy morning
Here are a few of our flora and fauna pictures - more photos can be viewed here if you're interested.

We visited the plot the day after we got home - just for a quick look. The temperature remains high for the time of year, but there's been a LOT of rain. Mostly last Monday I've been told.
I don't know when the temperature dipped to zero but the plot looks pretty much as we left it - though there's more grass, in the wrong places!
I picked a couple of squashes. The patty pan was okay but the zephyr was going brown on the inside so I didn't eat that and I'll be chopping the plants down for compost fairly soon. The boltardy beetroot was still delicious even though it had grown big.
Oh, and I still got a good harvest of asparagus peas. Most pods have grown a bit too big but there are loads of flowers and new pods coming.
Talking of aspargus; I had some delicious lunches on holiday; asparagus & brie tostado, asparagus and tofu sandwich - mmm, so tasty. It was at the vegetarian restaurant, El Limon in Puerto de la Cruz - if you're ever there, I recommend it - particularly anything with asparagus in it!
Que aproveche!