Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Years Eve

We went to the plot to pick, you've guessed it, sprouts and carrots :-) This carrot weighed 333g - that's what Autumn King carrots are all about! (Not kilograms as I originally recorded!!)
We spotted a hoverfly in the sprout netting. I didn't realise they'd be around at this time of year, but apparently so.  Not much for him to feed on at the moment, but he must have found something to get pollen from...
Also spotted our little rodent - but it's a vole, not a mouse. He ran between the compost bin and under a wooden trough.

New life is already sprouting - the chives have got plenty of re-growth, and though the chard looks pretty awful there are signs of new leaves. The mint has gone a bit mad - growing round and round the pot and shot off under the paving slab - needs a bit of work next year...

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Runner Bean Chutney

This is the runner bean chutney which Jamie made on 5th September - lovely and sweet. It was our usual french bean recipe but with red onions - looks pretty similar to the french bean chutney but is a bit darker - may have been boiled down for a bit longer.
Made some carrot and coriander soup with 4 lovely big carrots that we picked yesterday - they didn't split this time, so these were probably Autumn King - we sowed 2 different types of carrot in the one trench (where our parsnips didn't grow) and can't really tell the difference between them...

Today it's very rainy and has got a bit chillier. The thermometer on the plot yesterday showed that it was 7 degrees and that was the minimum temperature!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Carrots & Sprouts

That's pretty much what we'll be living on for a while! Jamie's going to stir fry some sprouts tomorrow and I really fancy some baked in a dauphinois-style potato and carrot thing - my preferred method of cooking anything :-)
Though there are cabbages left in the ground they look pretty ropey, so not sure how they'll be - if we ever get to pull them...
The broad beans look ok so hopefully we'll get some early beans this year.

We were the only people on the allotment today. Only went to pick a bit for dinner and deposit coffee grounds, papaya skins, sprouts waste, potato and carrot peelings into the compost but ended up doing a bit of tidying.
I cleared the bedraggled stems of the sweetcorn - birds and mice had completely removed all trace of corn. There are masses of stringy roots left in the ground which Jamie dug up a bit - mostly to get some worms to come out for the little robin who was hanging round.
We put the sweetcorn remains in the compost as they were quite dry to use as 'brown'. Whilst turning the compost we saw a mouse run out and then back again when we'd finished! Really is worth stirring up the compost and not just leaving it to become a mouse sanctuary!

Christmas Eve

We went to the allotment on Christmas Eve morning before visiting our relatives. Many of the usual suspects were there, picking their produce for Christmas dinner - which is what we were doing too.
Shame this year, the only home-grown food we had to show was carrots and sprouts to go with our Quorn roast! We had to buy parsnips and spuds.

Having said that, we've had lovely chilli pickled onions and pickled beets to go with our cheese and biscuits snacks! The sloe gin and raspberry vodka has also gone down extremely well :-)

We got a couple of lovely allotment books for Christmas so are enjoying looking through those. We also got a couple of journals - one for both us to record what we think is important through the year. Most of the info gets put in the blog, but it's handy to have a book to record some stuff too.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Eventually got to the allotment

We managed to get to the plot before the cold rain started today.
Not much happening, only a couple of other people were there.

Since our last visit the minimum temperature had been -5° I've had to scrape frost from the car a few times in the last week - brrr. Good for the sprouts though!
We picked enough to for two meals. They look really good; some are huge. The enviromesh did its job stopping most pests before they did too much damage.

Picked some lovely carrots too and pulled the last potatoes (Kestrels). They had started growing but look ok, although there weren't as many as we'd hoped - we ended up having to buy some from Tescos to have enough for the two days (which is always disappointing!).
The carrots split whilst being peeled/cut. This happens quite a lot - probably because they'd been left in the ground too long. They should have been Arctic King so shouldn't mind the cold weather... Anyway, they tasted lovely. As did the sprouts, even the biggest ones and no damage beyond the outer leaves - excellent! Now we know they'll be good for Christmas dinner.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Mmmm French Bean Chutney

Before going up to the Hungetford Victorian Extravaganza we needed a snack, so...
We started on the first of the chutney. It was the batch we made with our first harvest of French beans on 30th July this year.

Really sweet and delicious with cheese and crackers.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Marsh Lane Allotments

Wish Google maps would update so we could see the plots from the sky!
Marsh Ln, Hungerford, West Berkshire RG17 0, UK

Thursday, 1 December 2011


We've been sunning ourselves in Tenerife for the last 10 days.

Can't help thinking what it would be like growing veggies here! We've decided that carrots would appreciate the sandy soil; potatoes would be blight free; tomatoes and peppers would be abundant and there'd be lots of squashes and melons. Only trouble is the lack of water - really would need to get that sorted! Here in the North of the island they do get some rain so it is lovely and green, but still even drier than Marsh Lane.

The veggies in the shops are pretty weak looking, the spuds tend to look like seed potatoes. Haven't seen too many bugs apart from butterflies, so there must be some caterpillars about, though I'm surprised any get past the lizards!

Aah, back home tomorrow to see if we've had any frost....