Monday, 10 July 2017

Harvest Monday and an allotment update

The harvests are getting a bit more varied now, with lunches including quite a few homegrown elements (not the carrot...I haven't grown any this year). I like mixing up lettuce leaves with a bit of green / purple basil and parsley, plus a lone tomato here, and a tendergreen burpless cucumber.
The kale which I planted out in June (after lifting my garlic early due to white rot) has been growing really well
And the self sown chard is all over the place, I've made several pickings, some of smaller leaves like this and others left to get a bit bigger.
Depending on how sunny it's been, we sometimes have more than one tomato at a time! (Here with a little bit of salad from Eves Hill Veg Co where I volunteer, including some borage flowers...I should really harvest some from the allotment the way, the Eves Hill salad is amazing...25 varieties of leaf I think, wow. We piled some more salad on after this pic but I wanted to show the tumbler toms first).
The courgettes are coming along steadily. Definitely not glut proportions, just a nice quantity. I have three plants all in quite different locations (different light / space etc), so that seems to be keeping the numbers steady. This variety is zucchini, from a free packet of seeds off the front of a magazine a few years back. It slices really nicely and doesn't go seedy, even when accidentally letting the fruit get a bit big.
I also spied the first couple of crystal lemon cucumbers (always good for making eyes in a veggie face). Now, although it's nice to have them, this particular plant I thought was going to be a dumpling winter squash. I must've got my baby plants mixed up because after a few new leaves had appeared it was obviously some kind of cuke...and turns out it is a crystal lemon. Oh well, it's doing the best out of the other crystal lemons anyway.
I harvested a bit more kale today too.
Some of the chard went into making a big load of pesto (lightly cook the chard then whizz with toasted walnuts, oil, garlic etc). It was tasty in sandwiches as well as with pasta.
Yesterday Jan made a yummy nut roast with Yorkshire puds...and even better, there was enough leftovers for tonight aswell, here with chard and courgette plus marrow chutney from last year (our last jar of it, will have to make more soon).
The allotment is looking pretty good at the moment, if I do say so meself. An allotment neighbour even said he thinks it's the best he's ever seen it (still early summer and time for weeds to take over though!). Here's the view from just inside the plot entrance. The lavender has flopped over the path even though I've already tied it back once. It's nice to brush past though, and there are so many bees on it (I apologise to them each time i disturb them walking past).
The rotational beds are all in use now, though some of the plants are quite small (like the leeks I planted into the old broad bean bed). My plot goes back to just where the swing is poking above the bushes. I have mainly soft fruit bushes and a couple of hazel trees down that end, plus the huge buddliea on the left of the plot. The three compost heaps are down there too. Incidentally, we've been picking lots more fruit this week but I've not got any pics. Jan's been helping pick the raspberries again. I was just looking back to photos from last year, and the different soft fruits do seem to be ready a couple of weeks earlier this year.
Looking across slightly to the right. Gherkins in the foreground climbing up sticks and netting
Bit of a polyculture with courgette, a couple of other squashes and self sown chard in the bed, beans and cuke up the mesh (which I purloined from a skip years back...I did check with the owners first, honest guv). Tray of leeks waiting to be planted out elsewhere. There are maincrop potatoes on the other side of the mesh. Originally I had this area as the strawberry patch, and there are some little plants which have grown in the path seemingly from nowhere. There's some mildew on these squashes / cukes and I keep forgetting to do a milk spray to try and keep it in check.
The kale / cuke / dwarf bean trial is going ok so far, with all plants looking healthy (this is where I've been harvesting kale but I have other plants at different stages in a couple of other beds too). I'm trying to keep on top of hoeing around the plot this year, probably for the first time ever, and it's really helping keep the beds clean and not too much slug damage.
This winter squash is a new one for me - sweet dumpling I think, without checking. There's meant to be lots of small fruits, though the other little fruits on this plant look like they're going to rot-off - in fact you can see the stalk of a tiny one I removed which had a rotten bum.
I was given a mixed packet of green and white butternut squash...I've never heard of green butternut but this looks like it might be one. I'll have to see if it turns white or not! You can also see a lot of soil splash on the leaves, from the huge storm last Thursday. It gave everything a good drink at least anyway, and filled my water butt at home up.
It's nearly time to lift and dry the onions (variety sturon). I want to use this bed for the leeks, so I'm trying hard to resist lifting the onions too soon (in terms of crop rotation, it's ok to follow in the same family within the same growing season, but to rotate next year).
Talking of leeks, here are a few more from last year that I've let go to flower.
The bees love them (ignore the fly). In the background are some of my wigwams for squash, cukes and beans, made from trimmings around the plot and willow from an allotment friend.
There have been loads of butterflies around too, here's a gatekeeper enjoying one of the many self sown marjoram plants around the top end of the plot.

Thanks for reading this mega-post. I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. Check out his blog to see what other people around the world have been harvesting too.



  1. I'm hoping for more butterfly visitors to our buddleias this year. It's so good to be spoiled for choice over which vegetables to have for dinner each day isn't it?

    1. Hi sue, I think I've seen more butterflies in general this year than for a long time, which is great. Mmm, yep soon be adding beans into the mix :)

  2. your garden is really coming along! And cucumbers already; I'm on my third planting as the squirrels ate all the first two, but I have flowers now so hopefully soon. Lovely variety also.

    1. Thanks Mary, Aw sorry about your cukes! We're lucky that squirrels don't come onto the allotment (even though they're in the woods over the other side of the nearby road), or into the back garden.

  3. That gatekeeper butterfly is stunning! I've never heard of a green and white butternut squash, I'll be curious to see how it turns out.

    1. Thanks Dave. Yeah that particular fruit is getting quite big...I have a feeling it'll stay green as its so dark already. I've got a couple of other plants grown from the same pack so will see if they're green or white fruits too.