Monday, 21 March 2016

Harvest Monday - a frozen surprise

This week on the allotment I've sown my broad beans (Eleanora express), done a bit of weeding and pruned back some of the brambles. The broad beans are in one of my reconfigured raised beds - I put in 4 rows, first roughly marking out the lines for each row using the end of a cane (otherwise my rows would be very wonky) then made holes for each bean with a dibber (wooden handle of a broken fork) then went along dropping a seed in each hole, before covering the holes loosely with soil. I didn't water the seeds in as the soil was quite moist and we've been getting lots of rain anyway. Hope they grow ok!
My autumn sown beans are looking very sorry for themselves though. Lots have been squashed by foxes, nibbled by something or battered by the wind (or all three). But I did notice that the ones which had flopped over have started to put on new growth at the base. So I decided to leave them in and see what happens. Later on this week I'll hopefully sow my parsnips in between the rows of beans, and plant out my seed potatoes.
Back at home my tomato seedlings really need potting on so I'll do that this week too. They've just started to get a bit leggy.
We needed a new tub of fruit from the freezer (we have the fruit on our breakfast and I've also been taking some to work in a jar for an afternoon snack). I'd had my eye on a big tub at the bottom of the drawer for a while and this week hoiked it out. I hadn't written on the lid what was in the tub, and even when I lifted off the lid couldn't really tell what it was...mystery mush. So, when it had defrosted I dipped a spoon in to have a! Yep, it was puréed strawberry and so good. How could I have forgotten I made this! Weird.
On a more vegetably note, I was checking on my friend's plot this week. He has MS and needs a wheelchair to get around now but incredibly still has an impeccable allotment plot. He moves around the plot on his bum so doesn't tend to go up much in the winter when everything is damp. Anyway, I was on the look- out for the leeks he said might still be knocking around....
And yes, he had amazing leeks too, so I dug a few up for us both. I've removed the outer leaves here but there was hardly any rust and no sign of leek-moth caterpillar damage. As he said when I dropped them round, things always do much better when you just leave them to do their own thing!
Just like these beetroot he said I could have too. Darn, why can't I grow beet like this! We roasted a few yesterday and will probably make a borscht some other time.
But one thing did pick from my own plot....some corn salad. Which I can't really take any credit for as it sows around by itself....who needs gardeners eh.

A walk from Diss on the Angles Way
On Saturday we headed to the market town of Diss on the train. It's down on the Norfolk / Suffolk border but is quite quick and only takes 17 minutes to get there. It's a pretty town (once you're away from the train station which is on the edge of an industrial estate and a housing estate of bungalows), especially in the centre with some lovely old buildings and a large lake called The Mere...I didn't take many photos as the weather was a bit dull.

We still enjoyed the day and had a lovely walk across to Scole on the Angles Way, picking up some geocaches as we went, before taking a looping route back to Diss on some footpaths and country lanes.
The Angles Way crosses a small river and passes through an area called Frenze, which included this disused church (St Andrew's) dating from the 13th old!
As with many churches in Norfolk it's open to visitors so we had to pop in for a look. There were so many lovely features, like these carved monkeys
The font dated from the 14th century I think
This door led into a small room. People could use the knocker to be given refuge
Out on the other side of Scole, the Angles Way passes another church (St Mary's)...this time only part of the tower remains. It's just in the corner of an arable field so is surprising to come across.

Where will we go this week? I haven't really thought about it yet but I expect there'll be some more geocaches involved. Or maybe I'll be too busy on the allotment (or it might be raining)....we'll see.


Thanks for reading this week. I'm linking in with Dave at Our Happy Acres for Harvest Monday



  1. I love freezer surprise - I've got some cherries stashed away to make something soon (preserving in summer isn't my favourite thing).
    Those leeks look amazing! I've heard you can put pipe over them as they grow to increase the white area, but if I could grow leeks like that I'd be happy enough! Do you think your friend might go up to his garden if he had some fishing waders to keep dry?
    Also, this might sound strange but when planting out tomato seedlings I always have more luck with the leggier ones because I bury them quite deep :3

    1. Hi Erin, nice to hear from you. Mmm, cherries sound nice. There is a cherry tree in my allotment neighbour's plot but the cherries are bitter (and the birds always get them first).
      Yeah I've heard that about leeks too, especially if they're being grown for 'show'. I think it's just a bit too grotty in winter for him to go to the plot....and he keeps it in good condition so there's not too much to do over winter for him anyway (wish I could say the same about mine!). I cut the grass path down to his plot yesterday so he can get on there more easily in the wheelchair when he's next down, it had got pretty shaggy over the winter.
      Yes I do the same with my toms too, planting them deep really seems to help. I've potted mine on this week, it feels good to get that done :)

  2. That sure is some pretty mystery mush! I put up mashed strawberries too, they're so nice to have in the winter. I'm hoping to get some potatoes (and onions) planted here too if the soil dries out. Hope fully the weather will cooperate for you too.

    1. Hi Dave, yeah we've finished the strawbs off already! But then found another small tub, hurrah.

      Good luck for your potatoes and onions. I've prepared the beds for my potatoes now, so hopefully will get them in tomorrow. The weather forecast is a cloud with rain and sun peeking out, so who knows!

  3. That's so funny about your mystery mush. I tried to be much better at labeling things last year (and was only partially successful). Your mind will always try to convince you that there is NO way you will forget what is in that container, but you are inevitably scratching your head a couple of months later! btw, how do you space your broad beans?

    1. Ha ha, yes it's funny isn't it Margaret, at the time you think 'well there's no way I will forget what THIS is'.
      With my broad beans I space the rows about 25cm - 30cm apart (either in pairs or threes depending on the width of the bed) and then each bean 10- 15 cms apart....probably about 11/12 cm actually, roughly the width between thumb and little finger spread out, if you get what I mean. I looked at the bed yesterday and actually only sowed. 3 rows, about 60 seeds.

  4. I also wish I could grow beets that big! I suspect I harvest them too soon simply from wanting to eat them. Guess I should grow more and leave some to get bigger.

    You always take such wonderful walking tours!

    1. Hi Susie, well the large beets can get woody, so it's not a bad thing to eat them smaller. You could always try harvesting alternate beets so you eat some small then allow more space for the others to get bigger.

    2. Oh and thank you, we're trying to get out into the countryside at least once every week or so, it's good fun!