Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Reaping the Remaining Wintery Roots

As I type these words the rain is teeming down outside against a darkened backdrop of utter gloom. In the "news", that fine upholder of the British tradition of talking complete toss to anyone within earshot that is The Daily Express is predicting apocalyptic scenes of snow-laden Armageddon. That's right people, winter's here.

We've managed a few snatched hours at the allotment at weekends. Composting, and digging up the odd weed here and there have been most of what we've gotten up to, although I belatedly and thus hugely optimistically sowed a small bed of Aquadulce broad beans out last weekend. As the temperatures tumble, I doubt very much whether these will germinate, so I didn't go overboard with them, but you never know. The way I see it, I've set them a stiff challenge. Let's see if they're up to it.

Caning it
We cut down all the canes from our raspberry patch which had fruited this year. I think that's what you're supposed to do at this time of year? Some of them had already taken a tumble in the high winds we'd had recently. Amazingly, there were still a few rather tasty raspberries to be had on some of the canes.

Me and a tree
As some fruit plants were cut down to size, another was starting life. We bought a Victoria Plum that was going cheap in Homebase, and bunged it into a compost-enriched hole. Here's hoping is thrives and sorts us out with many a plum.

In gastronomic news, we're still managing a good few meals of home-grown based scran. I've made more kale chips, we've still got buckets of all three varieties of spud we grew, and while our onions and garlic are long gone, there are beans in the freezer and some squash still in the fridge. Pretty much the entirity of our butternut crop went into a single batch of a Middle Easternish bulgur wheat dish. They were delicious, as well as being a glorious shade inside, bringing a blast of warm colour to these wintery days.

Back on the plot, and the first of the years parsnips were freed from the clutches of the soil. They are a decent size, although the irregularity of them hints at a season of uneven watering. They sit in the fridge, along with a bunch of freshly dug horseradish, awaiting attention.

First of many
It feels a bit like cheating somehow, digging up stuff to eat at this time of year, when there aren't really enough hours in the day, nor the temperature in the air to tempt us into a proper dig. We'll enjoy the remaining roots while we can, postponing strenuous effort until light and warmth offer themselves in far greater quantities.


  1. We yet need to dig our first parsnip of the season. As for horseradish we have three large plants that we gave never harvested as we wimp out eacg year.

  2. We'd had a few light frosts so I thought I'd check them out. About the horseradish, I'd recommend digging some up. The smell as it comes out the ground is magic, and if you put a bit of root back it seems to grow again no problem.

  3. Ours is ever expanding - when we first planted it people thought we had planted docks.

  4. I don't have parsnips this year but have high hopes for next year!! Seems like you are still managing to get quite a lot out of your allotment even if it is from stores in the fridge and freezer!! Fingers crossed for you beans!


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