Monday 26 September 2016

Harvest Monday - autumny harvests and a glean

Brr, it's gone more autumny now, and a bit rainy today too. But there's still some reasonable harvests coming in. I managed to get a few much-needed hours in on the allotment before the rain came along....the paths are really overgrown so I'm working my way round them with the shears, and doing a bit of weeding in the beds as I go too. I also spotted some other jobs which need doing, like moving one of my dwarf apple trees, which is getting shaded out by the two hazels. I'll wait until it's dropped its leaves before I move it though.
In the back garden there's still some beans slowly growing, with a couple of pickings like this during the week:
And in the lean-to I've been picking pairs of peppers (both are sweet varieties. Oh the Quadratos (right hand side) didn't turn out to be hot like the first one, so I guess that was a fluke).

Just a few tomatoes this week
I've set aside some of the green tomatoes together, for ripening. I cut down most of the plants but there are still a handful left standing, that have some toms on too.
I did get a couple of cukes from the lean-to aswell, and there may be more if the plants hold out.
The rest of the harvests are from today at the allotment...some nice chard and beans. These are actually quite big but the scale is hard to judge.
A few last summer squashes (though I should get a couple more courgettes). The little yellow ones weren't going to get any bigger because the plant was past it, so I thought I may as well pick them.
And I decided to bring back all the butternuts...not as many as I was hoping for but they'll see us through for a while. The biggest one is around 4 - 5 lbs (my scales don't go up high enough)'s a shame they didn't all get that big. I also dug up all my potatoes today...a nice big bagful, but no piccies!
Meals this week have included a nice stir fry by Jan (carrots aren't home grown unfortunately...I have none whatsoever).
And yesterday we roasted-up a big orange squash that I brought home from the allotment a few weeks back (might be a Hubbard variety?)
(With garlic and pumpkin seeds)
With roastie potatoes and topped with a curried veggie mix (plus crushed chick peas)
The potatoes came from a glean I helped at on Saturday, just over in Cambridgeshire, in the fens (I brought home some damaged potatoes which wouldn't have been good to include in the proper harvest).
Here we have a rather large, rather flat field (typical of the fens). The soil had absolutely no stones in it...incredible. So, the potatoes had recently been harvested by a machine, and we were kindly allowed by the farmer to go through finding any that had been missed or dropped.

It wasn't a very quick process as the potatoes were quite spread out, but every now and then there was a good's funny how excited you can get hunting for potatoes.

We were a smaller group than the last time I helped, but we still harvested around half a tonne of food that would've gone to waste. Here's some of the loverly tatties....
Once again, there were so many more potatoes that could have been harvested if we'd had more volunteers, but at least we saved a good load from going to waste. The gleaning days are organised by Feedback, and the harvests are then distributed by FareShare. It's really worthwhile taking a look to see if they're active in your it's a nice day out with nice people. They're active in the U.S. as well as over here.


That's me for the week, thanks for reading. I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.



Monday 19 September 2016

Harvest Monday - late summer / early autumn

It hardly seems possible that it's already mid September, but I probably think the same every year. I wasn't expecting to post today actually, as I'm just back from a few days away, but managed to get a quick harvest from the plot and back garden before it got dark.

A happy courgette, slowly growing along, plus some beans from the back garden
I brought back one of my butternut squashes as I noticed it had a split, probably caused by the bit of rain we had recently. I'll not use it up yet but it'll be easier to keep an eye on the condition of it at home. I have four more to bring back but they're not quite as ripe as this one.
The other side is fine
A smaller bowl of tomatoes this week but still quite a nice selection
And I picked five ripe 'lipstick' sweet peppers
I've still got a few more Lipstick fruits to ripen plus more of the Quadrato ones (below). It'll be interesting to see if these turn out to be hot/sweet like the first one
I think I'll pick some aubergines this coming week, the plants are beginning to look a bit worse for wear.
There were still quite a lot of veggies left in the fridge from last week and so tonight I cooked-up a big pot of goodies, and added a tub of cooked haricot beans and chickpeas from the freezer.
Very tasty, with quinoa on the side
Oh, and I just found a pic that Jan took this week whilst I've been away - she popped down the plot for me to check on things. You can always tell her photos...much better than mine!
Thanks for reading, I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres


Monday 12 September 2016

Harvest Monday - late summer

Well the tomatoes are still looking good, though there's not too many left on the plants.
And the peppers are picking up, prossibiy because the tomato plants aren't shading them much anymore. These are two Lipstick I think.
The runner and French beans in the back garden are limping along a bit now though. On the allotment they've gone stringy and aren't really worth eating....I am still picking them though (just not eating) in case we get some decent rain which gets the plants going again...if you let bean pods mature on the plant, the plant stops producing anymore. In previous years I've been harvesting them into autumn but I think the dry weather hasn't helped.
I've only picked a little bit of chard because there's been other things to use up.
I really like the little yellow summer squashes, but the plants are looking rather poorly (mildew etc) so not sure if there'll be any more.
You wouldn't think it from this piccie but the courgettes are going the same way. (I can't get down the plot for a few days so have today picked even the smallest fruits to avoid getting marrows).
I lifted some main crop potatoes...this year I've grown Golden Wonder for a change. This was from two plants, so not bad.
And we baked the spaghetti squash I was given
WhIch along with some borlotti beans from the plot..
Went into a tomatoey thing, featuring all veggies from either the plot or at home....onion, garlic, toms, courgette, sweet pepper, spaghetti squash and borlotti beans, mmm
Today I also brought home one of my winter squashes....I won't use it up for a while though hopefully.
Now, this week I volunteered at a gleaning day organised by was great! These are events where a farmer lets us go and pick crops leftover after harvest, which then get given on to charities etc. So about 15 of us spent the day harvesting broccoli (calabrese), cauliflowers, cabbages and marrows. It was incredible the amount of food that would've otherwise been wasted (Thank you mister farmer for letting us pick it)...and we didn't have time to pick all that was available either, so the more people who help at these events the can find out more on the Feedback website. They're only just getting going in Norfolk but have been around a while elsewhere. I'm hoping to help at some more this autumn, and take a camera next time too.
Anyway, there were some broccoli plants which were a bit past it to harvest for the charities but still edible, so we could take some for ourselves. There were already loads of plants that had gone to flower...the bees were enjoying it though. The farm was organic and it was nice to see lots of wildlife...buzzards, hares, a huge flock of goldfinches...lovely.
Anyway (again), I made a big ol' pot of broccoli and potato soup, which we had with a bit of added milk and Stilton cheese (much tastier than it looks in the photo)
And we also made a big roasted veg 'allotment salad' following a recipe Jan found from the restaurant "Bill's". We roasted the spaghetti squash at the same time but didn't use it for a couple of days - it kept fine in the fridge.
With quinoa..mmm
Back to allotment veggies, I've made-up a couple more batches of fermented courgettes, and one of runner beans
I did one lot of courgettes in thin strips (thinking they might be good in sandwiches) and the other in chunks, leftover from cutting the strips to the right length for the jar. There's a vine leaf in with each too, which is meant to help keep the courgettes crisp.
Here are the ones I set up a couple of weeks back...they taste real good now
And to finish, one of the delicious figs, from my friend's allotment last good.
Thanks for reading this week...I'm linking with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres