Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Pictures from today

                        Winter crops in tunnel cauliflowers, Chard, Fennel, Pak Choi and lettuce

                                      Sweetcorn on new plot surrounded by weeds!
                                          Harvested butternut squash some are an odd shape.
                                            Harvested gardeners delight in fridge
                                                Cosmos flowers blown over but still looking good.
                                                               Leeks cant wait to tuck in to these!
                                                     Butternut Cobnut romping away.
                                              Celery giant pascal doing well I think?
                                                     Globe emerald artichokes.
                                           Planted out today hungry gap kale.
                                           Jeruselem Artichokes cut down they were over 12ft
                                               Scarlet and Curly Kale planted out today.
                                             Zuchinni not as prolific as last year.

                                                       Leeks again oops!

                                     Offenham spring and January King ready for planting out!
                                                  Tumbling toms still going strong.
                                                               Patio sizzlers chillis
                                                            Peppers and Basil.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures our allotment will continue to be productive even during the winter months.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Batten down the hatches!

Today we have had the remnents of hurricane Katia across the country, here in Bristol its not been as bad as Scotland where they have had gusts of 87mph our biggest was 50mph. Still with winds this high you do need to make sure your crops are ok and be prepared to lose some, after checking on the plot tonight I am pleased to say the runner beans and climbing French have survived but we have lost a few sweetcorn so on the whole not bad. I am also pleased to see the polytunnel held up well but its still blowing hard outside so I am not going to count my chickens just yet.

When you are erecting your bean supports in the spring you forget that come September they will be fully grown and in full leaf and taking winds like today. I always make wigwams as supports but add extra support at the ends for weather events like today. The trials and tribulations of growing fruit, flowers and vegtables in the good old British weather is what makes what we do so enjoyable be it frost, wind or drought we love a challenge.

My next big challenge will involve trying to beat the elements as I attempt to over winter the peppers and chillis we have growing in the polytunnel. This will involve cutting them back to around 30cm height at the end of the growing season and trying to protect them from frost, I am going to do this by having cloches within the tunnel and then hoping they regrow again in the Spring. I will sow some in January just in case my overwintering fails.

Come wind, rain or shine there is always something to do at our allotment until next time goodbye.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Goodbye Summer

Autumn offically started on September 1st and for once this year the weather seemed to know what season we were in. Gale force winds and heavy rain showers plus the nights drawing in faster than Usain Bolt on a false start got me realising I need to think fast for Winter/Spring crops. Hopefully this weekend I will sow some pak choi and winter lettuces for the tunnel and will plant out what I already have in modules January King 3 savoy cabbage, Scarlet Kale and Florence fennel. The fennel will hopefully grow inside tunnel everything else will be outside under netting to protect from pigeons. This weekend I will also take some more photos to show you how things have progressed.

Due to the high winds I cut down the artichokes which had reached at least 12ft tall as last year they all got uprooted in the high winds as our allotment is exposed. I did not want to do this but they were leaning so much I did not want them ruining my neighbours plot, a shame really as the flower on them is lovely. I guess by doing this they can concentrate all their energy in to the tubers rather than producing flowers. A work colleague buys the ghastly daily express and according to their headline today we are in for a cold, wet and windy Autumn followed by another cold Winter, I take everything that paper says with a pinch of salt though.

This year looks like being another good year for butternut squash and I think there should be some ready now for picking as soon as I get a chance I will harvest and take some pictures. I will leave you with a lovely recipe for a warming buuternut squash soup just in case the express are right this should warm you up.


Serves: 4

1 Onion

1 Carrot

1 Small/medium Butternut Squash

1 Red Chilli

Pinch Salt & Pepper

2 Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)

1.5 Liters Vegetable Stock

1 tablespoon Olive oil

1 teaspoon Butter

Preparation method

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins

1.Chop roughly the carrots, onion, butternut squash and chilli. Pour the oil and butter into a large saucepan, add the chopped vegetables and sweat for four minutes. Crush the garlic cloves and add to the pan, allow to cook for a further one to two minutes until you can smell the garlic cooking, take care not to burn the garlic as this will leave a nasty bitter taste.

2.Add the hot stock to the vegetables along with salt and pepper, allow to simmer for twenty minutes until reduced. Once reduced, take off the heat and blend with a hand blender or pour in a food processor and blend until all lumps are gone.

3.Taste and add salt and pepper if you feel it needs more. You will be left with a silky smooth soup, simply served in a warm bowl alongside some crusty bread to dunk

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The year so far

On our allotment has been a funny one, I think mainly due to the seasons being all back to front . The year started with an extremely dry January, February, March and April following on from a exceptionally cold December this also coincided with very warm weather March and April. We followed this with a dull cold summer which has resulted in very different results with each indivudal crop.

The winners for me this year have been the peppers and chillis grown in the polytunnel due to the unseasonal warm temperatures they were planted out earlier than would be normal and the result is very large plants full of lots of fruits. This is the same for my tomatoes as well they were all sown indoors late Januray early February and were in their final posistions March/April. To say I have had peppers and Tomatoes coming out my ears this year would be an understatement.

As for courgettes they have not been as productive this year due to longer dryer periods as the watering can does not have the same affect as a good old pour down of rain. Runner beans also have not been as abundant, still very good cropper though and enough to keep the Wife and myself plus lots of neighbours happy.

What I still need to learn is successional sowing and not to plant everything at once I think this is an art and even the most seasoned of vegatble growers ends up with a glut of something. Our allotment has served us well again this year with lots of things still to look forward to like parsnips, sprouts, butternut squash, carrotts, leeks, celeriac, more cabbage, beetroot and 2 types of arichokes.We also have lots of things in modules ready to go in the ground inside the tunnel and out. I promise to try and post some harvest pictures soon and post my updates of new stuff going in also if your on twitter I put regular photos on there follow me @Jamie_Milton