We could really do with some rain please...we keep getting rain and storms forecast but then nothing happens...they just seem to pass us by in Norwich. The positive side of this, is that our Bank Holiday / Jan's birthday activities weren't rained-off....including a train trip to Cambridge Botanic Gardens, and a picnic in Eaton Park in Norwich (amazing huge park).
So anyway, I have had to do a bit of watering to keep things ticking over, prioritising plants which need it the most - for example, I've noticed with runner beans, if they're too dry the pods go all withery and/or start filling-out with big beans much too soon. Most of mine have been ok though.
Curcurbits (squashes and cucumbers) are also important to keep well-watered. The yellow patty pans have a delicious flavour, quite different to a courgette (also tasty).
Most of my cucumber plants have had it now...all shrivelled up and producing funny-shaped fruit, like these two at the top. A few fruits are still tasting ok though, but we have to try each end before using, to make sure they're not bitter.
I kept missing this top courgette (hiding under a leaf) but noticed it just before it became too marrowy.
A bouquet of chard...not quite as nice as flowers but the stems are pretty
Having so many beans this week I decided to try fermenting some. After a bit of Internet searching, a ratio of 1tbsp salt dissolved in 500ml water seemed a fairly common proportion used but if anyone has other preferences I'd love to know.
I chose some of the straighter beans, so they'd pack tighter in the jar. Laying the jar sideways first helps with this too, as the beans aren't falling all over each other.
Cut to length so they fit inside the jar ok
They're actually packed in really tight here, some of the beans are a bit shorter and are in shadow
I added some garlic, chilli flakes and black mustard seed too. Various fermenting recipes said to keep jars closed tight but then open them once a day to let the ferment gases escape, so I'm following this advice and will see how it goes. I also made a jar of chopped courgette (with a couple of oak leaves added for the tannin to keep the courgettes crisp), which interestingly seems to be fermenting quicker than the beans. I will probably make some more this coming week so might vary the recipe a bit as an experiment.
This week I've harvested the first sweetcorn, it has a brilliant flavour and doesn't even need butter. (I need to check on the variety, definitely one to grow again). I grew them in four short rows, to make a block shape. The cobs on the downwind side are quite well pollinated, with very few gaps in the kernels. In the pic below we enjoyed some with Jan's cheese and courgette muffins and a concoction of allotment veggies. The muffins were leftover from the picnic...we've had several meals of picnic leftovers combined with veggies. Ooh I should mention an amazing cheese and onion quiche made by our friends with eggs from their own hens...so delicious. I reckon the eggs really made a difference.
The tomato harvests have continuted this week. For the picnic we made a big tomato salad with chopped tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, black pepper and balsamic vinegar. The tom/vinegar/oil liquid left in the bottom of the tub after we'd finished the tomatoes made a really good salad dressing too.
The second harvest (picked earlier today) needed a bigger bowl..
Here's a view from our lounge into the lean-to, full of tomatoes and peppers. This was after I'd picked the big bowl of toms so there's not much red on show. Hmm, There is a pepper that looks like it's ripe though.
The blackberries are stil heaving with fruits. I leave the brambles as a boundary down one side of my allotment plot (28 metres-ish), so there are masses to pick from.
I made a couple more apple and blackberry loaves, for the picnic
We've been lucky this week receiving delicious foodie gifts too....home made rhubarb and vanilla jam, rocket pesto, 6 eggs, and two absolutely gorgeous figs.
That's definitely something I aspire to...my own hens and a fig tree, yum.
Thanks for reading this week, I'm linking in with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.