Sunday, 18 April 2021

Out of the Blue

Here’s a colourful and tasty meal we had in the week - at home (we haven’t decided to join the throngs in freezing pub gardens!). Lovely fried gnocchi with Vivera ‘bacon’ and veg. Delicious.

Fried Gnocchi

I look forward to eating home-grown again but this year seems to be taking a long time getting started. This weekend has been beautiful weather, with blue sky, hot days but the nights are still dropping below zero. We woke up to these Altocumulus undulatus clouds this morning, rather impressive, aren’t they? 

Altocumulus undulatus

They burnt off quite quickly and we spent several hours on the plot. I planted out the Shiraz mangetout and dug a hole filled with manure for a courgette in a few weeks time.

Shiraz mangetout

Our pepper plants were delivered this week: Denver, Milena and Chelsea. We potted them on and they look much happier. They’ll stay at home for a while until they’re a bit bigger.

We also received the plants for the bog garden which I planted up today.

Bakker plants

Some look a bit dead, but I hope they recover and grow in the HAHA wildlife plot bog garden. We intend to sow the wildflower seeds over the rest of the plot in the next week or two, we really want it to rain but it’s been in very short supply so far this Spring. Attempting a bog garden in a dry year - that would be typical wouldn’t it? 🙄

Marsh Lane allotments

Another delivery this week, and the reason for this blog title, was this lovely card from my cousin Jen. So nice to get something unexpected and interesting in the post!

Corncockle

And, the card is even more interesting, because look what’s on the back! What a fab gift. A collection of seeds for the wildlife plot. So thoughtful - thanks so much Jen! I’ve mentioned Jen before, she’s a very creative lady - visit her Freshwinds Garden blog here.

Wildflower seeds

Aah, how lovely it is to be back on the allotment. We’ve had a few lunchtimes there just to sit in the sun. We’ve seen swifts/swallows/martens (not necessarily all three of those), Canada geese and a heron as well as the usual red kites and buzzards flying overhead. There were also lots of Brimstone, Peacock and Orange Tip butterflies today - I didn’t manage to photograph any of that! But I did photograph Diane’s lovely selection of tulips and a few daffs.

Tulips and Daffodils

The song title is provided by Roxy Music.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Cheat

No, it’s not cress. That, believe it or not, is a celeriac seedling.

Celeriac seedling

There are 3 or 4 like that. I'm not convinced they'll survive to planting stage but will keep them going, even though we nipped to a garden centre and they had these. Now they look a bit healthier and will be planted rather earlier than our home-germinated plants. Don't they look lovely and healthy?

Celeriac Seedlings
Talking of healthy, our site is now 100% leased, with most plots looking prepped and ready for the year ahead - a bit different from this time in 2010, when the land developer had withdrawn the idea for allotments on Marsh Lane after 1 year of being set up. Thank goodness the Council were able to negotiate a 4-year lease for us - and that was 11 years ago :-)

Marsh Lane Allotments

We were on the site at the weekend. In between snow showers the sun would come out and it was really hot - as my boss pointed out, the sun is as high now as it is at the end of August! We sowed some teasel seeds on the wildflower plot and I'm pleased to say that our bog plants from Bakker are on their way so it'll be good to get them planted out. I moved the drainpipe of mangetout seedlings outside to a cold frame as I'll (hopefully) plant them out next weekend. The weather is still far more wintry than we want in April - look what we woke up to yesterday - snowy rooftops!

Hungerford

I thought it was going to feel like a soup week, so I soaked some of my home-grown dried beans - I added celery seeds to the water which smelled lovely.

Soaking dried beans

To the stock, I added the few leaves of Cavolo Nero, that we'd grown, plus a few carrots and tomato puree, as per Shaheen's recent soup recipe. I have to admit that my soup doesn't look very pretty, but it tastes good. I wish I had mushed up some of the gigantes beans separately rather than blitzing the whole soup, though there are some whole beans at the bottom of the cup.

Remember our broad beans that got severely hit by the frost in February? They unexpectedly revitalised and now look! I hope the frosts we're having at the moment don't take them out at this stage in the game...

I have to start work now, but just one last thing... You must watch the BBC4 programme: A Year in an English Garden: Flicker & Pulse. It's so beautiful, with time-lapse and other fancy effects and just a little bit of talking - I really enjoyed it, in fact I may have to watch it again (and copy some of their ideas).