Tuesday 29 June 2010

Broad bean soup...

..was enjoyed by us for tea tonight and nearly all the ingredients were home grown, yey! I got a recipe out of Andi Clevely's "From Welly to Belly' and adapted it a bit to fit what we had. So the home grown element was Onions (had to use 4 of my teeny onions to get a decent amount though), garlic, and loads of beans. We also put in a couple of potatoes to thicken it up a bit (could have used our own but still had a few from the organic stall on the market left) and a swirl of yoghurt. Very tasty. A handy tip from the recipe was to put in two (cleaned) bean pods for extra flavour (but remove before whizzing). it also suggested sieving the soup before serving but that was too faffy for me, so it had bits 'n all.

We've been very busy on the plot, making the most of the nice evenings (bit too hot recently during the day at the weekends) . JB has been doing a grand job of keeping the paths cut and weeding where needed.

I've taken up all the garlic as it had rust and a bit of leek moth damage and I wanted to use the space for a squash. The garlic has done better than I thought. The large cloves planted in the autumn had bulbed up nicely and the smaller ones planted in late winter (bought from the organic veg stall on the market) had grown into one giant clove each. They're all drying out in the lean-to and I'll probably save the giant cloves to plant again next year, which should then bulb up properly (this method produced the best bulbs for me this year).

We've also started to eat the very delicious peas. Mmmm so sweet. Best eaten straight off the plant. Just pop 'em in your mouth. The ones on the back garden are all swelling up first followed by some on the allotment (the ones at home seem to do better though, not sure why but could be that they don't get nibbled by the pea and bean weevil at home), Have got another two lots at different stages of growth (some only just germinated in loo rolls) to try and have a longer supply than the usual 'Yey peas!...aw now they're gone'.

The strawberry plants which survived the winter (probably only about half in total) have been producing VERY tasty berries. A really intense flavour, probably because I don't really water them that much so the flavour doesn't get diluted. Also in the garden have a few wild strawberry plants spreading themselves around, which produce small, but incredibly flavoured fruits.

Red currants are nearly all ripe. Will have to start harvesting soon, though I remember last year they kept pretty well on the bush for quite a while. The black currants are just starting to ripen, as are the raspberries. Excitingly we have one apple growing on our 'new' tree (the tree we've had for over a year but only managed to plant out this winter). I've let it keep the one apple on, as it had a good root system so hopefully it won't be too much of a strain on the tree in this first proper year (You're meant to remove all fruit in the first year to help it establish). However, the tree down the other end, planted two winters ago hasn't got any fruit on - I think it's too far away from the other tree for pollination, so we'll need we need to get another apple tree between the two, to act as a stepping stone for the insects.

A lot more going on, but will save that for another time....and will take the camera to the plot too. A picture says a thousand words, as they say, and my typing seems to be getting worse so anything to help is great!

Friday 11 June 2010


...been doing a bit of online research into the leek moth / onion fly problem and found this really good blog. www.growsonyou.com/Sid/blog/2316-leek-moth-and-allium-leaf-mining-fly-the-sequel

I've definitely found the cocoons of the leek moth but I do suspect we have onion fly too. Interesting to learn via the blog (with posts starting in 2008, running through to this year) that the leek moth first only affected the south of England and has been moving north. I know a lot of Norwich plots which had it bad last year....

My squishing / removing of affected leaves seems to be working ok, though it's only been a few days. There are supposedly several generations per season of onion fly!

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Onion fly / leek moth remnants

The salvaged autumn onions and a couple of garlics (and big pile trimmings/squished larvae!)


*....please note, huge amount of sarcasm intended.
Not brilliant at all. We've been quite busy recently and haven't had much time to spend on the plot but I popped down on Monday eve before it got dark....to discover....those flaming leek moth or onion flies had decimated the autumn onions. Argh!

So instead of clearing the last of the spring greens in readiness for a courgette/bean wigwam combo I lifted all the autumn onions (which had bulbed up a bit but not much, so only teeny onions), and started going through their stems, squishing all the larvae. Then thought, oooh better check the rest of the aliumy things, to find they had also made a good start on the main onions and garlic too. My main onions had been looking super-healthy before but on closer inspection you could see the tell-tale signs of see-through patches of nibblings coming from within the stems, and on the worst affected, sort of onion 'dust', which is presumably the larvae poo. Sob! To attempt to salvage some of these I went through and broke off the affected stems and squished the larvae, in the hope that the remaining stems might be able to help the onions bulb up at least a bit before I take them all out. However, I've got a feeling that the oniony smell from the broken stems will just attract more flies or moths and will shortly be left with nothing. *BIG SIGH*

DEFINITELY getting some fleece/mesh before planting out the leeks.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

A week of firsts...

OK, only two days rather than a week, and only two firsts, but hey who's counting!

Number 1: first broad beans picked and steamed yesterday. yum yum yum. Only five pods so far but so tasty. These were from beans I sowed in toilet roll tubes in an unheated greenhouse last autumn, which I ignored for too long and they got really leggy and so I was going to just compost them. Decided at the last minute to plant them out in the back garden and hooray, they've started cropping.

Number 2: A bad one this time....I noticed a couple of the garlic plants were looking a bit yellow and manky today, which on closer inspection revealed the larvae of either the onion fly or leek moth munching their way through the plants. Nooooo! I hastily squished all the larvae and had a good look at the other plants to check they weren't affected. So far so good but I'll need to read-up on the little blighters to see what can be done. I did the squishing over at the compost heap as didn't want the garlic smell to attract more flies/moths to the various onion and garlic patches (in an attempt to avoid the pests this year I've planted smaller blocks of onions and garlic in different beds, and left some weeds to grow up and confuse the flies/moths - the idea being they are less likely to land on a plant they're looking for and will move on, and if they do find them, not all the plants get got because they're not all in one place. Hopefully it might work a bit anyway.)

I will definitely be investing in some protective netting when the time comes to plant put the leeks though....