Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Beginning of The End...

From the back of our plot today
All things must end, and the first whisperings of the demise of this year's summer abundance could be discerned down at Nunsmoor allotments today. All our beetroot are out, our first planting of peas are long gone - the second is still going - strawberries are finished and, as of today, our broad bean plans were hoiked out and composted. No doubt about it, the season is now hinting at it's own inexorable demise.
It's sad to see the broad bean plants down, both because I seriously love broad beans, and because the plants give a good bit of height to the plot. Ho hum. I'd read somewhere that you should leave the roots in the ground, as the nitrogen-fixing nodules on them return the element to the soil. I don't know if that's true, but it sounded like sense, so that's what we did. There was a decent bagful of beans on the plants, which are now in the freezer; a reminder of how summer tastes, to be kept until sorely needed. I've sown a few seed modules worth of hardy lettuces, kohlrabi and purple top milan turnips, which if the good weather holds should fill in some of the gaps that are now developing.

Kasia dismantling broad beans
I spent a fairly joyless half hour or so tidying up our strawberry patch, trying to cut back all the runners and removing excess foliage. Strawberries were fab this year, although there weren't a huge number of them; we may extend the patch next year.

Tidied strawbs
It might be the end of the road for some crops, but others are are still in full flow. We've got more french beans, kale, spuds, summer squash and courgettes than we know what to do with. I desperately need to investigate a courgette pickle recipe. Having frozen a bunch of broad beans without blanching them, I was wondering whether to do the same with french beans? No less an authority than Harold McGee says you should blanch your veg, but then I've read on other blogs that people don't bother, noticing no difference in the taste or texture. Anybody got any views on this?

We swapped some of our yellow courgettes and summer squash with one of our near neighbours for a savoy cabbage and a bulb of fennel, which seemed like a good swap to me. 

Excitingly (brace yourself), we've imported a couple of raised beds from our friends Rosie and James' plot - they had tonnes of the things on theirs when they took over and don't want them - so I'm looking forward to seeing what difference using these makes to growing some crops next year. We've never been able to get anything much to germinate by direct sowing, but perhaps we'll have better luck in the raised beds. Hope so.

We tottered off home after having spent a good few hours in situ, feeling like a reasonable amount had been done then stuffed our faces with deep-fried courgette flowers, which, having never eaten, I'm now getting quite a taste for. Recipe to follow...


  1. We are of the blanch nothing persuasion. If there is some deterioration we have never noticed and it can't be as much as the veg standing on supermarket shelves suffer.

  2. The pic of the plot looks lovely, memories to take into winter.
    I usually blanch but whether it makes a difference....?


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