Monday 29 May 2017

Harvest Monday and Eves Hill Veg Co

I've been growing peas in some tubs in my lean to at home (using last year's tomato compost). We had a few harvests of pea shoots from them, before I left them to grow on to produce some pods....
I had planned on letting the pods fatten up a bit more before picking them, but a couple of days after these pics I picked the lot - it was so hot in the lean-to that the plants were suffering and also I needed the tubs to plant out the last of my tomatoes (incidentally, I spotted an actual baby tomato today, on one of the two tumbler plants, ooh). So anyway, we enjoyed the fresh young peas raw, eating the crunchy pods n all.
I've also harvested a load more radishes from the allotment. They're starting to get a bit nibbled by something, but on the whole are still pretty good. I haven't spied any parsnips germinated though. There's loads of chickweed and poppies that've germinated in the row which might have affected the parsnips. So we may be a parsnip-free zone this year...still time for them to germinate if they decided to though.
We had a nice salad the other day....with some new season potatoes from the organic veg stall on the market. My early potatoes are just starting to flower so I might have a rootle around for some tubers in the next couple of weeks. (Only the radishes are homegrown in this pic I think, plus the homemade apple cider vinegar in the dressing).
Out at Eves Hill Veg Co community veggie farm (where I volunteer), the new polytunnel we put up in early spring is getting nice and full.
Two nice rows of tomatoes intercropped with lettuce. Kohl rabi in the nearest bed has been harvested on Thursday I think....not sure what's going in their place - maybe cucumbers or more tomatoes?
Outside in the hardening-off area, there are masses of trays looking lovely and healthy. Last week on the volunteer day the gang planted out a whole load of sweetcorn but there's still plenty more. I've been getting a bit anxious about the amount of plants waiting to go out in my garden and the allotment, but this is on an altogether different scale! The monthly open day was at the weekend, so I'm sure they got lots more done (in between rain storms).

Jan and I had an allotment session on Sunday morning (Saturday was very very windy so I hid indoors all day). Jan cut the paths, which was really helpful, and I planted out some of the squashes. I meant to go back down again over the long weekend but it didn't happen....though I did a bit of gardening at home. Ah, I just remembered that I lifted the rest of the garlic and left it there, planning on bringing it back later, oh well. I also noticed that the Autumn-sown broad beans are ready to be picked, so I must get them too. Plus all the other stuff that needs doing (put up bean wigwams, clear more ground for squashes and beans, sow beans, clearing around the overgrown edges of the get the idea). And there were a few strawberries nearly ripe that I forgot about too. Nevermind, there'll be more to come.


Thanks for reading this week, I'm linking in with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres


Monday 22 May 2017

Harvest Monday...and a bit of Sweden

I've been away for a few days (actually nine Sweden!). So my previous post involved harvests just before we left and this week are harvests since we've been back. My radish gamble paid off (giving them a water to bring the growth on, and harvesting those ready just before the hol. On our return, there are loads at just the right size, and I haven't seen any yet which are too big or woody (there was a bit of a chickweed explosion in that bed though, so it needs a good weed).
They've been going nicely in sandwiches, here with some red onion top snippings, from a few spare onion sets I'm growing in a pot in the back garden. I never have any luck with salad onions, so this is a good equivalent.

That's it for the harvest photos, though I have also picked two big bagfuls of chard... I'm starting to clear the beds for squashes and brassicas etc that I have growing on at home. I also picked a nice handful of brassica flowers (similar to purple sprouting broccoli but from a cabbage plant I harvested the cabbage from ages ago. It's actually been really prolific, and was from a self seeded plant..bonus). That'll be the last though I reckon.


And as a sign of the upcoming I harvested our first strawberry! We were both at the allotment yesterday trying to get things back on track and Jan spied a strawberry partly ripe. So she turned it over for the other side to get the sun today (it's been very warm) and when I was dropping off some grass clippings there after a gardening job this afternoon...yes it was ready. Being a kindly person, although tempted to eat it there and then, I brought it home and we had half each!

So yes, we have just been to Sweden...brilliant. Stockholm, Gotland and Uppsala. We packed loads in and even managed to visit a couple of botanic gardens. Spring is later there, so although there were plenty of lovely spring flowers, and trees bursting leaves, there were empty beds waiting to be filled. Here's part of (one of the) botanic gardens in Uppsala (east Sweden)...
Garlic area
Quite a few raised beds with no edging, I'm doing this on a smaller scale on my allotment.
Nice compost bin
Hot bed using straw bales and old windows
Crops doing well under the glass.

Beehives....We saw quite a few in various places we visited.

A few shots from further afield...medieval town wall in Visby on the island of Gotland

'Chimpanzee rock' near Visby (though looks more like a gorilla)

Fishing village near Visby (we hired bikes for the day)
Lovely sunsets in Visby, facing west across the Baltic Sea. There were some unusual coastal birds (unusual to us anyway) including gooseanders, mergansers, eider ducks and we even spotted a lovely little blue throat feeding amongst the rocks (bit a like a robin but with a blue throat with a red patch in the middle).
Very clear water.
Faces in the walls and buildings
Stockholm at night
Oh and we met abba...ah sadly just kidding but these were very lifelike waxworks.

I noticed that in domestic gardens, having a raspberry patch was quite popular, and there were often fruit trees too. On Gotland there's a tradition of berry picking in the countryside and I meant to ask if the tasty frozen ones served with breakfast were picked by the staff at the hotel...they had several homemade berry preserves that were yummy anyway.
That's me for the week, thanks for reading. I'm linking in with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.


Monday 15 May 2017

Harvest Monday - hello radishes

I noticed the radishes were starting to get to a decent size, just a little way off from being large enough to harvest. I also knew that coming up were several days in a row I wouldn't be able to get to the plot, and that they'd maybe then get too big. So, with a slight dilemma, I gave them a watering to bring them on a bit quicker and nipped down a couple of days later.


Well it seemed to work, there were loads (I can't remember the varieties). In fact there were so many I gave some away to our neighbours.

I think these might be the best radishes we've had from the plot. Very little slug damage too, maybe because it's been so dry plus I've been trying to keep any nearby weeds clear and the grass paths cut (hidey places for slugs). There were no signs yet of parsnip germination, but they take ages to get going (we sowed the radishes and parsnips in the same rows at the same time - this is pretty standard practice and works well because the radishes germinate quickly, mark the rows of parsnips, and can be harvested well before they get in the way of the parsnips.)
I picked some more chard too. Last year's plants are starting to bolt (run to seed), but there are plenty of new seedlings germinating where I've previously let plants seed. I'll probably leave some to grow-on in-situ and transplant some others.

Here's a chardy, radishy dish. Oh which also included wet garlic from the plot...I think it's all got rot so will have to lift it all. At least there will be more space for other crops to go in there then (not from the onion family though, as they'll just get the rot as well in that bed).

So next time I head to the plot will be a bit of a will everything be doing? How high will the grass be? Will there be any radishes that aren't too big? It's kind of exciting as at this time of year things can change quickly. Also the weeds will no doubt have got a foot in the door but I had a hoe around as much as I could. That blimmin couch grass will probably need rootling out too.


Thanks for reading, I'm linking in with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres


Monday 1 May 2017

Harvest Monday and overwintered chilli

What a week of weather.....frosts, hail, rain, sun, wind. I've fitted in a few trips to the plot, picking some decent chard from last year's self-sown plants. They've put on some really nice growth this spring.
Enjoyed with some titchy purple sprouting broccoli.
I've made another couple of blackberry cakes (berries from the freezer). The recipe is very easy here on mumsnet. It only makes a small cake so I double it to make two cakes instead. Mine look nothing like their photo though. I think another time I'd pop some berries on the top too so they'll sink in a bit and have a better distribution through the cake.
Talking of freezing things, with some crazy cold weather on the cards I properly covered my strawberries and potatoes (beforehand I'd only covered about half of them, with netting rather than enviromesh)
They survived unscathed, phew. I saw some on an allotment neighbour's plot that had the black dot in the middle of the flower, a sign that they'd been got by frost, aw.
Potatoes were fine too, I had some hoops to keep the mesh up off the potato foliage.
The tiny corn salad flowers were totally unbothered by the weather, looking lovely
Back at home, inside by the south-facing window, the over-wintered chillis are still flowering and even fruiting. This one is actually on a new plant that grew up next to the original
Here's where it's growing out from near the base of the original. Sometimes I sow two seeds in a module, so I think this might be the second seed from last year that for some reason germinated over winter instead.
The other overwintered chilli is producing more flowers (some flowers dropped off without fruit setting). I've still got a few of last summer's ripened red fruits on it as well.
But there's even fruit setting on this one too. This is on some new growth that developed on the side facing the window.
Funny eh? If I'd been trying to do this I bet it wouldn't have worked.
I've spent a couple of days volunteering at Eves Hill Veg Co this week - the usual Wednesday (where we planted out lots of lettuces) and a special monthly community Saturday, where the farm celebrated its first anniversary, wooh. We planted out loads of beetroot in the outside beds, plus the first few tomatoes in the big polytunnel (and we may have eaten lots of cake too - it's definitely been a cakey kind of week). There was a red legged partridge nearby behaving very oddly, pulling a weird posture, and I meant to go and see if it was laying eggs. Hopefully partridges don't like eating beetroot seedlings.
Thanks for reading, I'm linking in with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.