Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Green Tomatoes anyone?.........

 This year’s challenging weather has thrown another of my normally reliable crops into chaos, my tomatoes, normally one of my best crops which start from mid-July and runs (weather permitting) into October. I even in an attempt to get a really early crop sowed some tomatoes in January and they were at the fruit bearing stage by May but still didn’t ripen until end of July.

My tomatoes have been that bad this year that I have only had 20ish tomatoes so far I had 4 varieties growing, (check my Feburay posts for the full list or my plan for the allotment)all with the promise of a wonderful bounty but this weather has been rubbish not enough sun to ripen and not consistently warm enough throughout the summer.

I had a bit of success with the Yellow pear shaped cherry tomato it cropped ok-ish but I found them to be “fluffy” in texture rather than crisp like you would expect a tomato so although they had great reviews I didn’t really think much of them and will stick to the good old Gardeners Delight for my cherry toms next year

Tomatoes are the only crop now I don’t grow on my allotment, purely because I don’t have a green house on the plot but next year I am thinking of moving my greenhouse up to the plot giving me more room in the garden and the green house will get better sunlight on the plot as it won’t have a fence blocking out the light.

So what to do with my Green tomatoes?, I will try to ripen off some but I find they are not as sweet hanging them upside down, I am not really a fan of Green tomato chutney, but I did see a great recipe for Green tomato soup, I may give that a bash.

I also know a wonderful recipe for pork cider celery & green tomato hotpot which would be great for the family gathering on bon-fire night.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Are Carrots worth the Hassle??

Although I have only had the allotment for 2 seasons now, I have always grown carrots at home in tubs or in my old veg bed.

Each year the same results carrot fly get to them in some way shape of from. Last year the crop was ok I would say 60% of my crop had carrot fly larvae damage the rest were ok, this year however nearly the whole crop has been affected. It’s really frustrating because you can’t get that home-grown carrot taste anywhere and to me that’s the main reason why I grow them. My plan this year was to protect them from the off, I had fleece to help stop the carrot fly I companion planted with parsley and marigolds, I even tried to sow some really early before the carrot fly shows up but all to no avail. Even when I grow them in tubs that are 2ft above the ground I still get carrot fly.

It would be interesting to find out what everyone out there thinks what lengths do you go to, to get that perfect carrot? Or are you like me and think are they really worth it?

Next year I am going to try them in some really large pots that are 4ft off the floor and if that don’t work then I may give up on them for a few years…  

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Strawberries, squashes and a good old cup of Rosy Lee

For the first time in ages today I spent a whole day down the plot, but boy will I be paying for that tomorrow!, as I strike the keyboard, I can already feel my arms and legs stiffening up with the anticipation of tomorrow morning drawing closer, when you get out of bed and think toyourself, “actually I don’t feel too bad” then SMACK it hits you like a hot chilli as you try to stand up to walk to the bathroom!.

Anyway back to the action down the plot, I had help today in the form of my farther, he no longer works due to bad arthritis in his hands he can’t do much heavy work because of them but he can help with all the other jobs plus it’s nice to have someone to talk too whilst working.
Today was clear up day; lots of beads had to have thelast of the crops harvesting and removing and some like the squashes need moving to a dry place to harden up and be cleaned ready to be stored overwinter.
I do love a squash, in particular crown prince, I use tocook with it a lot in many restaurant’s I have worked in it great for stuffing ravioli with or roasting and makes a magnificent soup.
We also worked on the strawberries because they had basically taken over the plot with runners going everywhere I could have made 300 plants today with the amount of runners that had set roots in the freshly laid bark onthe paths this year. I did keep some ready to replace old ones for next year,after a good cull they looked a little “shaken up” but will settle back down in a week or two.

The main topic of conversation today was about Tea, and where the best place to have a cuppa is. I think that having a brew on your allotment is hard to beat, particularly if it starts torain and you take 5 in your shed and stick the kettle on. Sitting in the shed with the rain lashing down, with an old cup that the wife doesn’t like you drinking from at home, so it makes its way to the allotment. There is something quite “British” about it but I love it.  
I also chopped down all the sweetcorn today, this year I grew mini corn and normal sweetcorn, last year I had great success with them both but this year due to the fact I could get to the allotment more than once a week the baby corn all got to big before we couldget to it thus rendering it no good because it becomes very bitter and the core becomes inedible.
We did have some very tasty sweetcorn but we planted more baby corn than normal corn so next year it will just be normal sweetcorn all the way.

Enjoy your week folks andthanks for reading.
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