Monday, 20 February 2017

Harvest Monday - kale and Eves Hill Veg Co

With some lovely sunny weather recently it definitely feels like spring is on the way. Mustn't get too carried away though as we can still get some heavy frosts (and even snow) before spring is properly here. But it's nice to have the sun on your face while getting down to allotment work.


I've had a couple of sessions this week, mainly continuing to weed the couch grass from around my fruit bushes, trying not to damage the roots of the bushes in the process. I'll mulch around them soon with homemade compost and then I think I'll cover the mulch with several layers of newspaper (weighed down) to help prevent the couch grass coming back. Every year I cut down one of my three blackcurrant bushes completely (on rotation) to manage a supply of medium-aged stems....I did this to the oldest bush yesterday and...mmmm....the blackcurrant scent was delicious, I can't wait to start drinking blackcurrant leaf tea again, and enjoying the juicy berries later.


I noticed that the kales are starting to develop a flowerhead in the middle of each plant, so have begun harvesting the entire tops, which should encourage some more side shoots to grow from below the snipped-point. Although small, the top leaves are nice and lush, with a soft texture.

Rather than faff with cutting off the leaves and trimming out the stalk (which is particularly fiddly when they're small), I pinch at the base of each leaf and pull up either side of the stalk, which neatly removes the leafy part you want to eat, leaving behind the tougher stalk...easy! I also pinched off the developing flowerheads to eat too.
Whilst slicing each stalk in half to make it compost quicker, I noticed the juicy flesh on the inside. Being someone who eats broccoli and cauliflower stalks, I thought I'd give these a go too. They were actually really yummy raw....a nice fresh flavour, even a hint of spiciness?
And quite a nice amount of greens, despite the small leaves.
Back on the allotment plot, the two hazel trees are dripping with catkins...could be a good year for them? I spied lots of the tiny red flowers too.
I mentioned last time that I'd started volunteering at Eves Hill Veg Co (not for profit market garden). I had to skip a week because of a tummy bug that was doing the rounds but had a good day out there last Wednesday. Three of us mainly focussed on trench-digging, which will help secure the cover of the new polytunnel....which is a big 'un.
The edge of the cover has to be buried to keep it in place. I can imagine the wind whipping it away easily otherwise. A secure cover helps prevent rips too.
It's strangely satisfying to finish off a nice long trench!

I'm not sure what the plans will be for this Wednesday...I'll look forward to seeing the polytunnel progress that's taken place over the week anyway.


And back home, I think I'll sow my tomatoes and peppers this week...exciting. I sowed some peas in the lean-to recently...for pea shoots. I think there's a rogue slug or two on the loose in there though, so will have to keep an eye out, especially when the peas (hopefully) germinate.


Righty-ho, thanks for reading, I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres - check it out to see what other people have been harvesting this week.



  1. That's quite a neat trick with the kale. It looks as though a hungry woodpigeon has been at it.

    1. Hi sue, yeah it's quick and easy, and you don't waste any leaf either. I do it with the larger leaves as well. It works on curly kale too.

  2. I don't think I've ever tried the kale stalks, but I have tried the big thick stems on Portuguese kale and they are tasty. Those are lovely kale leaves too! You remind me I need to thin out our currant bushes. We've only got one each of red, white, and pink so I don't want to cut them down completely but they do need thinning. And it's hard to believe but it's time to start early tomatoes here too!

    1. Hi Dave, there wasn't much flesh inside the kale stalks but it was a nice tidbit to nibble on whilst prepping dinner. I don't think I've had Portuguese kale before, will have to look out for it.
      Even just a day after cutting the older blackcurrant, I noticed the other currant bushes are beginning to bud....spring is definitely on the way. Although we have a big ol' storm here's gone very chilly again.

  3. Funny, Sue is right, it's what my kale looks like after the birds have feasted. Good job on the trenching, that hoop house is going to be a beauty.

    1. Hehe, yep Michelle, it does look like the pigeons have had a munch.
      We did a bit more on the hoop house yesterday...there will be five beds inside...lovely!