Sunday, 26 October 2014

New folk, roaring flames and some late-season optimism

This and last weekends have seen the customary autumnal tidy-up work proceed in earnest. Except, there hasn't been a great deal of work going on, which is the bit I like about this time of year. Weeds are only growing at a shuffling pace and the veg being harvested is hardy enough that if you don't get it today it'll be fine in a week. The weather has been fine too, sporting that fine combo of warm sun and cool air, making the plot a nice spot to just sit and be.

I got a ruddy good blaze on the go last weekend, which saw off a load of rotten and knackered wood, as well as all the tomato vines and a bunch of non-compostable weeds. Perhaps not the most environmentally sound way to be carrying on, but a fine backdrop to a flask of tea and a good book. I had meant to do a load of strimming and a bit of digging, but ended up staring at the  flames like a slack-jawed neanderthal for most of the afternoon, when not reading about the achievements of the Abbasid Empire. Bliss.

After a very enjoyable evening at Craft Beer Calling on Friday gone, we made a swift trip to the plot yesterday. With plans to make Bigos (Polish Hunters Stew), and pickled beetroots, harvesting was the order of the day. Even more so, as our new allotment buddies were on site, and we're keen to free up patches so that they can do what they will with them. It seems like we couldn't have hoped for better folk to share a plot with; they've a wealth of gardening experience between them. It feels a bit odd seeing them getting stuck into patches which have been "ours" for the last three years, but in a good way. Like seeing your eldest head off to uni or something...

Squash curing in the shed
That's the last shit metaphor I'll use here, promise. So anyway, we dug up and composted courgette plants, and did likewise the butternuts and other autumn squash. These are all pretty small, but there's a fair few of them. I'm looking forward to seeing what the autumn squash will taste like; they weigh the same as, and feel the same as the butternuts.

I like the look of these autumn squash
White Cabbage
Although they've taken a hammering from the slugs and, no doubt, caterpillars, some of our white cabbages have still formed full and heavy heads. I can smell the rich tang of the Bigos that this has become drifting up the stairs as I type. I'll put up a recipe, for it's a wonderful thing to eat as the nights darken.

Carrots just keep coming. I'm super chuffed at how these have done in the first time we've ever grown them. We pulled up a load, but there are plenty still in the ground.

All of our beetroot are now out of the earth however. These are a nice size for pickling, which is exactly what I intend to do with them. Any recipe advice gratefully received.

After a period of less than stellar news about the allotments - vandalism, thefts and questions over the future of the place - it felt great to welcome some new and enthusiastic folk onto the plots, and also to see a favourable financial statement pinned to the noticeboard by the committee. I'm looking forward to a good deal more of that sort of thing, please.


  1. We are awaiting a time when we can have a fire, We have a new set of council rules governing when we can have a fire and what we can burn i.e only things that can't be composted or recycled. Ignoring them risks a sizeable fine.

    1. We're allowed them Oct through March I think. Makes life easier on occasion.


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