Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Hot Hectic Harvest

You'll no doubt be relieved to hear that the lack of recent allotment-based noise coming from these parts does not result from a total failure of the harvest, but slightly the opposite. Trips to the plot currently resemble a vegetal version of supermarket sweep as we career around, trying to keep on top of harvesting/watering/weeding. We've got more food resulting from our toil than we've ever had before, resulting in straightforward meals of salads and roast veg, enlivened with a sprinkle of za'atar here and a splash of sriracha there. The weather has been great in this corner, verging on heatwave conditions. I stole a few hours at the plot Saturday gone, managing to give our parched plants a rare morning drink before it got too damn hot to dig.

As we sink under the weight of broad beans, lettuces, beetroot, kale and chard other supply lines are just about to come on stream. The climbing beans have run out of climbing frame and are all in flower with micro-beans forming.

While dwarf beans are ready to go. Fresh steamed beans with fried shallots will be on the table soon.

As will those few artichokes that have resulted from our two functioning plants. These are a rare and delicious treat.

In the polytunnel, cucumbers are nearly there and is that just the slightest darkening I see on the skin of the toms? No, I fear not, although godspeed them on their way to the land of redness.

One of the few crops that hasn't gone so great is spuds. This is a bit of a thinker as in our previous two proper seasons we've had bounteous amounts without really trying, but our first earlies (Rocket) have been pretty duff. The above is the result of about 6 plants. A close-up would reveal a load of what I take to be slug damage. Don't think we've done anything different to normal. Can't win them all etc.

One weird thing happened just as I was packing up. I noticed a frenzy of ants, loads with wings, erupting from under a paving slab. Walking around the plot, about 7 other spots were similarly alive with urgent ants taking to the skies at the exact same time. I wondered if they emit some sort of chemical signal that says "right lads...NOW!", but apparently not; they just all seem to know when conditions are pefect for the nuptial flight. Strange, amazing creatures.

It should get my shit together to post some sort of interesting fresh veg-based recipes, but if they were to follow how we've actually eating, they'd read a bit like: 1) Take a load of fresh veg. 2) Chop it up, bung in a pan and roast until delicious. 3) Eat, with some sort of sauce. If we do something a bit more adventurous you'll hear about it, honest.


  1. You've done a great job of describing the real allotment experience!


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