Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Pottering On

With Kasia being away for the weekend, and it only taking about 2 minutes out of the day to feed the cat sufficiently, I had plenty of time on Saturday to spend on the allotment, pottering about.  It was really great to sit in the sun, read, and watch the pigeons rapidly chew through the seeds which actually we put out for their less sizeable cousins.  Ho hum; if they're stuffed on wilko's finest birdseed, perhaps they'll be less inclined to fraternize with our crops.

Having dug up a lot of our spuds and hacked down our broad beans, things are looking a bit bare, which led me to look into some things we can can plant now but will be hardy enough to survive the first flashes of winter.  This excellent post by @igrowveg  gave me some ideas; black spanish radishes (heirloom, don't you know) have been sown in both modules and into the ground as a bit of a module v ground battle/experiment, and winter spinach, late lettuces and mustard greens will follow.  Sowing seeds in the shed, surrounded by tomato plants with 6Music for company; top stuff.  Don Letts was on 6Music, and played an amazing Nina Simone version of Leonard Cohen's Suzanne that I never heard before. Perfect potting music.

Talking of tomatos, some of our allotment-buddy Toni's are starting to fruit which is both pretty cool and moderately envy-inducing.

Back on our side of the plot, our pumpkin plants are starting to spout proper fruit which don't just fall off and rot.  Thanks to this post for emphasizing the importance of bees in getting fruits going.  Looks like we've got some willing volunteers...

Which has lead to some pumpkins starting to swell and grow. Get in.

Elsewhere, I harvested the first of our courgettes, which became delicious crudites later that eve.  These were also an heirloom Italian variety of some kind.  One day we'll only grown heirloom veg, and that's when we'll know we're properly middle class.  Don't these look lovely against the plastic black background of our compost bin?

Sweetcorn are starting to look like decent citizens. I'd have never even thought to grow sweetcorn before getting an allotment and seeing other people doing so.  Childhood camping holidays in France have etched fields of sweetcorn into my head as Mediterranean crop, not something for the North East of England...

I also harvested the first radishes we've been able to get up to size.  "Yeah, whatever, they're only radishes" you might say, and you'd be right.  This is the first batch of many attempts of these we've managed to steer past the slugs and snails though, so this felt like a minor victory.  Actually, scrub that, it felt like a proper triumph, and so I duly gave them a wash and put them on a nice plate to celebrate.

In other news, I struck another blow against the dark forces of bindweed, and hacked off the tops of all the rest of our spuds, which were starting to show signs of blight.  I've read a bit about blight recently, including this pamphlet from those fine lads and lasses down at the Potato Council (things to do before I die part #316- become a member of the Potato Council) and now the rest of our spud crop lies topless in the soil, where it'll remain for a couple of weeks, hopefully blight-free.

Finally, in some potentially BIG news, we might've found someone who'll build us a fence at a reasonable rate of dollar. As you can see, the one we inherited (foreground on the right) has a certain curvy charm, which contrasts nicely with the straightness of the track, but might not survive another winter:


  1. Just bought some purple German radishes with similar ambitions to you, Lee. We're just going to stick them in our blighted piece of land and see what happens.

    Thought you might be interested in this terrine recipe:
    3 black radishes
    300g smoked halibut or similar, skinned
    400ml double cream
    5 eggs
    1 tsp horseradish
    2 shallots, chopped finely

    Heat oven to 180c/ Mark 4. Cut thin strips from radishes. Thinly slice fish. Mix together cream, eggs, horseradish and shallots in a bowl, seaso.

    Line a terrine with cling film - let it hang over the sides. Build up alternating layers of radish and fish, adding horseradish cream as you go. Wrap the overhanging cling film over the top to seal. Put the completed terrine in a roasting tin and pour in boiling water to halfway up the sides of the terrine. Bake for 40 mins.


    1. Hey Rosie, that sounds pretty interesting, where did that recipe come from? I've scarcely ever made a terrine in my life, bit of a blind spot.

      How did your vin de elderflower turn out?

  2. I'm quite envious as we are not allowed fences! As for French sweetcorn - it's huge isn't it - I wondered whether it was mainly grown for animal fodder.

    1. How does the no-fence situation work out? Are there hedges, or does one plot just run onto another?

    2. If you visit this page of my website there are aerial views of our site. Generally one plot sits alongside another although some use frames that support fruit etc as a sort of boundary. We have grass paths between us and our plot neighbours. The problem is that we have some people who refuse to lock or even shut the gates to the site and also a rickety fence along one boundary. This means once anyone is on the site they can wander anywhere. You can't make your own plot secure as you rely on other people.

    3. Amazing to see the difference over time as more plots were cultivated! It's funny with security on allotments; I sometimes think that the more fence you have, or locks you put on things, the more you suggest that you've got something worth nicking. Touch wood, we haven't had anything taken from our plot yet...

  3. We don't have fences on our plots...but I think people maybe could?!?! I have grapevines bordering one edge and raspberry canes the other...each side i guess they can pretty much run in to each other...seems to work though. I like the face that none of my crops are shaded.

    Don't think I've ever grown anything 'heirloom'!!

    1. Hi Tanya,
      We plan to have a looksee at some different and interesting seeds from eg www.realseeds.co.uk/index.html next year. Fancy growing some unusual spuds too.


All comments gratefully received. Sorry about the word verification thing, but I've started getting bombed by spam.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...