Monday, 11 September 2017

Harvest Monday - nuts! And a visit to Henry Moore's House

About an hour after I made last week's blog post live, I went down with a nasty stomach bug, which knocked me out for a few days. Yuk. So I've only made it down to the plot a couple of times this week but that doesn't seem to have impacted the harvests too much, hurray.
In the lean-to at home the tomatoes are still plodding along. I like the subtle stripes on the tigerella variety.
I cooked up a couple of dishes worth of slow-roast tomatoes, with red onion, garlic, and sprinkled with mixed herbs, and at the same time slow-roasted a big courgette sliced lengthways. I cooked at about gas mark 1.5.
The flavour of them both was incredible...I'll be repeating it this week, yum yum.
My first trip to the plot... With the cool weather now set in, I decided to start bringing back any ripe winter squashes. The four pretty white and green striped ones are sweet dumpling, and the greeny-blue one is blue kuri. I lifted some more potatoes as about four nights in a row we'd had homemade potato wedges for tea (using hardly any oil) - nice and easy on the delicate tummy.
I cleared the two winter squash plants in the back garden as well because they were looking rather spent. I'd been hoping for more fruit (one of them didn't have any that set) but got one amazing 'cream of the crop' which weighed about 4lbs, from the healthier plant. It was a bit of squeeze for the plants in the semi-shadey back garden so I'm quite pleased to even get this one fruit.
And I fitted in a couple of hours at the plot this morning - the potatoes are really good, this is just from one plant. The tops of the potatoes are still hanging in there so I'm only harvesting what we need at the moment, and will do a big harvest for storage later. The scale is hard to tell on this photo, those apples are actually really big (and quite sweet). I've just been picking a few, there are more on the dwarf tree, yummy. The courgette is about a foot long. I wasn't expecting more crystal lemon cucumbers but the sad-looking plants produced a few more. The two 'cream of the crop' squashes came from one plant, with one fruit over 2lb and the other about 1.5lb, so actually my back garden plant produced a larger yield overall.
The runner beans in the back garden are still cropping. After a few days of not getting picked, there were some big 'uns. One was really long and straight!
Today on the plot I took a look at the two hazel trees right down the far end, and saw a few clusters of nuts had fallen on the ground, then realised they were falling off when I just knocked the trees too, which I took as an indication they were ready (and I also didn't want to risk them being nabbed by squirrels first....we don't normally get squirrels on the allotment but I think I heard some in the trees of a nearby plot recently... they make a funny sqawky noise a bit like a duck). There are definitely jays around anyway, though I'm not sure if they eat hazels. As well as picking up the fallen ones, I collected any that came off the tree easily with a little twist - a bit like testing when apples are ripe. Some were obviously browner / more ripe than others too, and interestingly these were on the older branches.
I was surprised at the amount but once you start picking them from the tree it's hard to stop (though I was also thinking about having to carry them home along with the squashes and potatoes etc). Well, my back and shoulders just about managed nickname is 'pack-horse Lou' after all. These will need to dry a bit so that I can remove the husks, and then the nuts will need to dry further...that is if there's anything inside the shells (I did quickly crack one open and yay there was a nut but I'll check some more too),
Oh yeah, Here's a pic of one of my green butternut squashes I mentioned in previous posts.
It's rather large and heavy. The stalk is completely rock hard on this one so should be OK to remove from the plant and bring home at some point. I'll have to take the trolley though, there no way I can carry this monster home. There's another three on different plants but this is the biggest I think.
Here's a quick shot down the middle of the plot. The two dwarf apple trees and shed are behind me. Luckily I mowed the grass last weekend before I got ill otherwise it would be a tad long by now. I need to sort out the strawberry beds (bottom left) which have loads of old plants in and self-seeded chard.
To the right just off camera are the two blauhilde wigwams, with more growing up the short bit of fence beyond. I can't be bothered to pick any more of these at the moment so will hopefully get some nice flageolet / haricot style beans instead.
We've had Jan's folks visiting this weekend which has been nice. Yesterday we headed down to see the sculptor Henry Moore's old house / estate in Hertfordshire. It was much further away than our normal excursions but there were four of us in the car so I don't feel too bad about the petrol. It was a lovely place, set in 70 acres, with really interesting exhibits, background to his work, and many of his large pieces set out in the landscape.
The weather was a bit gloomy but it added to the atmosphere...and the sheep were happy
And there happened to be a kitchen garden, a nice surprise.
The leeks were a good size, much bigger than mine.
A bit jealous of the fruit cage too...and there were loads of heavily laden apple trees around the estate.

So back to my veggies, I think this week I'll once again hope to plant out some of the Autumn / winter salady things I sowed recently - they're getting a bit congested in their trays. Maybe I'll sow some more seeds too. And I need to work out a rough planting plan for next year. Ooh and maybe even think about which seeds to buy (I have a list already of replacements that I need). The sweetcorn plants need clearing though at the moment I'll leave them as they're protecting some later growing winter squash plants from the worst of the elements. And I'm sure there's a zillion other things I should be doing but we'll see what the week brings.


Thanks for reading the waffle, I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres - head over there to see what other people have been harvesting too.



  1. Have you ever visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where there are some Henry Moore's work.
    We have just started harvesting our sweetcorn and this year we hope to pick some of our climbing beans to use podless.

    1. Hi sue, yes we've been to the Yorkshire sculpture park a couple of times - lovely there isn't it. Hope your sweetcorn is going down well. I found one more cob this week that I hadn't noticed on a fallen over plant and it was still okay.

  2. Quite jealous of all those winter squash - mine were a total bust this year with zero butternuts (the rabbits got at the vines early on). And then I take a look at my one and only spaghetti squash and the slugs were getting to it from underneath - this just isn't my year!

    1. Hi Margaret, oh that's a bummer about your squash. Sometimes things just don't work out. Fingers crossed for better luck next year.

  3. Sorry to hear about the stomach bug, hope you are back to 100% now! That butternut does look like a monster. It's always a good sign when you grow something that is too big to carry! I loved the shot of the blauhilde on the wigwams. It sure looks like a vigorous grower.

    1. Thanks Dave, I brought that big squash home this week, and for now it's taken up residence in the kitchen (and is in the way completely of course).
      Unfortunately the left hand wigwam blew over in the strong winds this week. But it's kind of propped up against a lower wooden frame so I'm going to leave it where it is rather than try and right it again - the beans are off the ground and hopefully will dry ok, though aren't as big as I'd have liked. Nevermind it could've been worse.