Monday, 28 March 2016

Harvest Monday - some actual harvests! And potting on the toms

You may remember that I have a purple sprouting broccoli plant on my allotment. It was one that I left growing from the previous year, to see what would happen. Well, it produced a whole load of new healthy leaves and even started sprouting again this spring, hurrah, (which I made the first picking from a few weeks ago). But....I took my eye off it and some hungry pigeons pretty much stripped the whole plant, sigh. But....I covered it with some odd bits of chickenwire to keep the birds off and it's put on some new growth again, hurrah!
 
So this week I snipped off the best bits, it was worth giving the plant a second (or third) chance
They were so sweet and tasty, boiled quickly in a tiny bit of water. Hopefully there'll be more to come too. (Though it's in the space I need to put my red onions soon)
Yesterday (Easter Sunday) we decided to do a roast in the evening. The potatoes are from storage at home and the beets are those I got from my friend last week. The parsnip actually came from my plot! I thought I'd lifted them all. The leaves die off over winter making them hard to see but I spotted some new growth peeking out of the soil, which gave it away. They start to get woody if you leave them to grow for much longer but this one was fine.
In case the beets were a bit tough I cut them up smallish to make sure they got soft when roasted in a bit of oil (and covered the dish with foil during the cooking to keep in the moisture). But the star of the show was the humble onion.....I'd found a few more small ones this week in a tray in the shed at the allotment - they'd got hidden underneath some bits and pieces and I'd forgotten about them. Anyway....roasted with the beets and some Rosemary from the front yard, these were so sweet and melted in the mouth....delish. (Sorry about the pic, the dish was very hot to hold!)
And today I picked some parsley from the lean to at home. This is the parsley, that germinated by itself in the homemade compost my toms had grown in last summer (as I'd put a seeded parsley plant in my compost bin a couple of years ago). It's come on really well the last few weeks with the longer hours of daylight.
Whilst Storm Katie was raging today (so much rain and wind!) I made a stew in the slow cooker....first, on the hob, softening an onion and some garlic in butter with the last two leeks from my friend's plot. Then added a tin of tomatoes, chopped carrot, a bit of cayenne pepper and some water plus some butter beans I'd previously cooked in the slow cooker. Once I got the temperature up I added it to the slow cooker for a few hours. Then about half an hour before eating, added in a defrosted bag of rocket pesto and some chopped parsley. Yes, it was good, so good, mmm.
This week I've potted on my toms, they were getting a bit lanky
We have old, worn laminate floor downstairs so I can get away with making a mess in the house...it's easy to clean up after.
I use peat-free compost, putting a bit in the bottom of each pot, then use an old pencil to push-out the tom plants from the plug cells, drop the healthiest toms gently into each pot and then fill the pots carefully with compost around them, using an old spoon. Toms can grow roots from their stems, so potting them on like this encourages new roots and stronger plants.
I didn't make too much mess...honest! There were a few straggly toms that I didn't pot-on, you have to be ruthless sometimes....I don't have the space to grow-on too many more plants than I'll need, though I have got a few spares, which will go to a neighbour if I don't need them
They're now in the lean to, protected from the coldest weather with some bubble wrap (Including some tucked against the glass window). It can get very warm in there during the day if it's sunny, but cold at night.
Although they'd be warmer inside the house, they'll be better off for light in the lean to. It's a bit of a compromise but worked ok last year.
Also in the lean to, my early potatoes (variety Colleen) have chitted nicely. I was going to plant them out this weekend but the storm scuppered that. Maybe this week instead.

Thanks for reading....I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

(We haven't been out for a walk this week but fingers crossed, are heading out tomorrow)

 

12 comments:

  1. We'll have to start sowing soon.

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    1. It's that time of year again sue :) exciting

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  2. I have all sorts of seeds sown but nothing sprouting yet, must be too chilly! Can't wait to get started though!

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    1. Fingers crossed they start germinating for you soon s-h-Susie :) My toms were near a window and radiator, and covered with bubble wrap so they got a fair bit of heat (but not too much so they accidentally boiled, which. I've done with seeds before!)

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  3. Birds vs. broccoli, I know that problem well! Actually, birds vs. just about anything leafy and green, I have at least 2/3 of my plants protected with mesh at the moment. And If I didn't have parsley volunteering around my garden I might have to buy it. Your tomato seedlings look so healthy, lovely.

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    1. Ha, yep they've been at my overwintered chard too Michelle and managed to crane their heads in between chickenwire to get at some small overwintered brassicas I was hoping would make nice spring greens. The pigeons are very flexible!

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  4. Sometimes, I find that not being on top of things leads to good surprises, like you PSB. Your potatoes are chitting beautifully - I'm not having a great time with mine as they started to sprout pretty badly in storage. Hopefully I'll be able to get them into the ground soon.

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    1. Thanks Margaret, my main crop potatoes (I'm trying golden wonder this year) haven't chitted as much as the earlies so may depend on the variety. I've planted them all now, hurray.
      Any sprouts you don't want can usually just be rubbed off the potato - I've done that before when they've sprouted in the dark before I've set them out to chit - after which they produce the nice green sprouts rather than the white ones. The seedling tubers have a lot of energy in them so can take a little knock back, no probs. same goes for if they start peeking through the soil a bit and then get frosted, they're usually fine (but Might suffer more if there's loads of growth above ground already), that's been my experience anyway.

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  5. I always wonder about plants that can winter over and how they would work here. I love the idea of the sprouting broccoli but just can't believe it would survive our winters. But I guess I can always try, right?

    I love things that show up in compost - very nice looking parsley!

    Your tomatoes are far more advanced than mine (double the size) and thanks for the reminder to get on the potato chitting - not a big rush as they won't be planted until at least May in my area but I don't want to forget!

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    1. Hi Susie, we definitely get off easy over winter compared with you guys, so a lot of stuff makes it through and even slowly grows if the temps are high enough. I have another accidental experiment to do this year - late last summer I sowed some brassica seedlings at home then planted out on the allotment in autumn for spring greens. A few straggly PSB seedlings got left behind in the lean- to at home and have actually carried on growing slowly over winter and are looking miles better and bigger than the ones on the plot, which have been eaten by beasties. So, I'll plant these out soon and see when they crop.

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  6. Looks like your potatoes are chitted nicely and ready to plant. I'm hoping to get ours planted here this week, weather cooperating. And that parsley looks great! It's amazing how the volunteer plants sometimes do better than ones I plant.

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    1. Thanks Dave, I got my potatoes planted out yesterday, felt good to get that job done.
      I know, the volunteer plants are always more healthier and robust!

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