Wednesday 23 September 2009

Whopper parsnip

Okay, so it's not your traditional allotment competition-size parsnip - no metre long parsnip chips for us - but still we were pretty impressed with it! There's always that element of mystery when pulling out roots - will it be a whopper or a mini-me of its true self, or will there be anything at all!

Luckily in this case it was pretty decent sized and made a lovely parnsip and potato mash, drizzled with olive oil and nicely seasoned!

Monday 21 September 2009


Happy tomatoes. The large ones are a heritage variety (Cherokee Purple). We bought the plant from Homebase of all places for 99p earlier in the year. They were very tasty and I might try and buy some seed for next year.

Courgette doing a good impression of a pear :0)

Close- up of the cherokee

... and sliced mmmmm

Tuesday 8 September 2009

The leeks have had it

Yes, it's worse than I thought, there's no saving the poor leeks. I have neglected them and this is the comeuppance!

So I tried squishing all the onion fly larvae / maggots and thought I was doing pretty well but decided to dig a couple up to see how far the maggots bore into the stem. Unfortunately it's a long way and at most there's only a couple of inches of stem unaffected. Plus there's no way of getting all the maggots out without pulling up the whole leek.

So my next plan is to pull all the leeks up and just salvage the bits which haven't been munched, squishing all the maggots along the way. This will take a long time though as I did a few tonight and it's slow going, making sure you've got all the nasty maggots. I guess most people burn them.

Hey ho - next year I will probably get some netting, which is apparently the only prevention. It seems as though everyone on my site has got the same problem though - one guy even worse than mine - I don't think he'll get anything.

A friend with a plot on another site in the city has succumbed to leek moth. However a couple of people at work who live out in the countryside a bit haven't had any problems.

Hope you all are more successful than me!

Monday 7 September 2009


.......have discovered that ALL my leeks are riddled with onion fly larvae. How did I not notice sooner? Didn't get onion fly last year so didn't look out for it. SOB!!

The onion fly larvae (i.e. maggots) bore their way through the leeks and there can be loads of them all in one leek. I read-up on the little nasties last night and the advice is to dig all the leeks up and destroy them. However! Seeing as they are in literally all my leeks, I've decided to pick through them all and squish all the larvae in a last-ditch attempt to rescue the poor things. I'm not sure if this will work but it's worth a go I think. I spent quite a while yesterday squishing the little bleeders and found more today, so am not holding my breath they'll survive!!

To cheer myself up I thought I'd see how the parsnips have done and dug a couple up - yippee they are really good and made a celebratory roast - roast parsnips (obviously), potatoes, courgette and beetroot. Very tasty.

Tomorrow: another session of maggot squishing.

Friday 4 September 2009

Marrow, apricot and ginger jam = YUM!

So here's the recipe I obtained last year (can't remember where from) and can recommend it completely. For a bit of extra kick, add in more ginger (I'm pretty liberal with it myself). As said before it's really lovely mixed in with porridge....mmmmm. If you want something more spreadable, chop up everything quite small.

1 3/4 kg marrow (peeled, seeded and cubed)
1 1/2 kg sugar (I use demarera)
225g dried apricots (chopped)
2 level tablespoons ground ginger
4 lemons (juice of) - I use the bottled juice and guess how much

*Layer the marrow cubes and sugar in a large non-metallic bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to stand for 2-3 hours
*Put the marrow and juices in a large preserving pan with the apricots and ginger
*Slowly bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar
*Add the lemon juice and reduce the heat
*Simmer for 1-1.5 hours until the marrow is translucent and the syrup is thick
*Pack into warm sterlised jars and seal

Thursday 3 September 2009

Colin the courgette

Our new friend from the allotment!

Wednesday 2 September 2009

Autumn already?

Well, the past few weeks have whizzed by again. Still not had time to do a decent days work at the plot but have spent lots of time picking things and making chutney and jam, which is what it's all about really! Had the last of our sweetcorn today - our best year so far, definitely thanks to having manure I reckon.

Have dug up the first two rows of the main crop potatoes and sorted them into 'use first' (like the ones I inevitably speared with the fork) and 'keepers' (ones which have no scab or any other blemishes etc). I've doubled up paper shopping bags to act as potato sacks. This has worked in previous years and the tatties have kept well, in the shed. We have some right whopper pots (variety Cara), They're really tasty but have a tendency to over cook easily.

I thought we might have had blight but the discolouring of the leaves started off yellow rather than brown so it was probably (hopefully) just the plants reaching the end of their life! I cut off all the tops just in case. I have one more row to dig up and decided to leave them in the ground a bit longer as it's meant to toughen the skins up for better storage.

Today we used our first ready pumpkin to make this lovely soup:
Just peeking in the background is a jar of rather tasty marrow, apricot and ginger jam, which I made a batch of last weekend. I made it last year too and it's right nice on toast, or mixed in with porridge (mmmm I'm looking forward to those cold mornings already!). Anyone want the recipe?

Here's a pic of the other squashes collected today:
Am desperate to sow some oriental greens (have not grown these before). Just need a bit of time to weed where these squashes were growing and pop them in. This weekend?