Monday, 18 March 2013

The Great British Weather!

Well what weather it was down the plot today, started off foggy and quite coldIMG_0919 then by 10am I was walking about the plot with a T-shirt on it was according to the thermometer at the plot 13°C then by 12pm there was hail stones and I had my jumper and hat back on!

Go quite a bit done today, I weeded over 3 beds and used my compost to put over the top of the beds I have 9 Raised beds all around 3m x 4m and I put 4 wheel barrow s full of my homemade compost on each of them. And then I covered them over. I do however have a raised bed that is total water logged and has been since October of last year, I don’t really know what to do with it and by the looks of it I don’t think I can use it this year as it needs to dry out totally before I try to grow anything in it, it’s because my allotment is on a slight hill and I am the bottom plot the bed has always been a bit of an issue but the rain last year made thing worse… much worse!IMG_0917

In the next week or so I should have more Purple sprouting broccoli just need a bit of warm weather give it a final push to fully open so I can pick it.

My potatoes that I have chitting on the bedroom windows are coming along nicely and I am thinking of putting them in the green house soon.

I managed to get round to sowing some leeks yesterday also I am not going to over the top with them this year as last year I had quite a lot all ready to be planted out then they got hit with some fungal disease and wipe the whole crop out!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Strawberry Meringue Roulade

Today I fancied doing a spot of baking, as getting to the allotment is totallyIMG_0912 out the question And I love baking when there’s nothing else to do!

I had some left over egg whites from last night dinner so rather than go to waste I thought I would knock up a Roulade to surprise the Girls when they get home today (that’s the 2 children & the wife!)

Some people think meringue is hard to do, it’s not you just have to be precise with your measurements and do a little pre cleaning. I always remember what my lecture told me the first time I made meringue at collage all them years ago, “start with a clean bowl & clean whisk” I know that sounds like common sense but what he meant was clean it again before you use it and make sure its DRY before you start. The egg whites won’t whisk up if the bowl if dirty or not clean enough.

Then you need to make sure all your measurements are accurate no guestimating. And I have always worked on 2oz of caster sugar to every egg white and it has always been successful for me.

So here’s what I did:

You need:

5 egg yolks                   10oz Caster Sugar                 200ml Double cream

2og icing sugar                   Vanilla essence or vanilla pod

Your chosen fruit (strawberries in my case)

Pre-heat oven to 200°c

In a CLEAN DRY mixing bowl add your egg whites and whisk until they form what’s called Stiff peaks that when you can form a peak with the mix and it stays there.

IMG_0909Then slowly add the sugar whist still whisking. Once it’s all added the mix should have a sheen to it like Gloss paint.

On a lined baking tray pour the mix in the centre and using a spoon spread the mix out evenly over the tray.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 200°c then lower the temperature to 120°c for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from tray and place upside down on a cooling rack and leave to go cold for 15 minutes.

Whisk the cream with the vanilla essence and the icing sugar until its thick andIMG_0911 again forms stiff peaks. Cover the meringue with the cream and then scatter the sliced fruit on top.

Roll from one end using a firm hand to hold in place.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and leave in a fridge for 2 hours to chill before serving.

Then Enjoy it………..go on give it a try.

Monday, 11 March 2013

To cover or not to cover that's the Question….

Not much action down the plot this week, the family has been hit with this winter bug, my youngest daughter has had it the worst, so daddy day care comes before Allotment action.

I wanted to get the rest of the posts done I started last week but the snow today has put pay to that idea. I am really hoping that it clears up a little as I want to pay a visit tomorrow as got a load of horse Manure to take up there, its fresh stuff but I have a old compost bin that I intend to get filled asap and plan to leave it till this time next year so its had time to do its thing.

My Father has managed to get hold of some black plastic as next year we are going to cover the beds over to stop the weeds coming up over winter and to make it earlier in the spring. Covering your plot as I have found out is split into 2 camps those whom swear by it and do it every year and those whom feel it should never be covered, me I am of the opinion you don’t know until you try it so that’s what we plan to do.WEEDS

My Dad found a right Bargain on eBay 50m x 2m continuous length on a roll for £20 with free postage, so we snapped that up straight away, I was a little sceptical at first as I thought that was too good to be true, but it was delivered today and it is really good stuff. So it pays to search and your find what you’re looking for.

this picture was taken last October from a bed I neglected for a wile hopefully the plastic will stop this from happening.

Monday, 4 March 2013

A year in the planning…

It’s been a week since my last visit to the plot, and today I started a Project IMG_0891that has been a year in the making, like I have said before my Parent’s work in a factory where they dispose of lots of wood (it goes off to be re-cycled) but they are able to take it home with permission of cause, I have asked them to gather some timber for me to use as posts for my plot I needed 50 posts in total I knew they would take a while to get them and time was running out as they are both retiring this year. So after 11 months of collecting I final had them all, painted and ready to go. The plan is to put 6 posts on each bed so if I need to cover the bed to protect it all I need to do is put the netting over it and job done! This way no matter what needs protecting I just need to put the net over it no making supports with canes that last 5 minutes and need redoing and also with crop rotation the post are they if needed or not. IMG_0889I managed to get 2 beds done today, with help from my Father. My Parents are planning on helping me out this year a bit more as they will be both retired that way if things need a quick water they are on hand. I managed this week also to get my leaf mould sieved and ready to use it was my first attempt and making leaf mould last year and I am really pleased with the results I managed to get about 10lts from it I have put all my leaves from the garden again this year so hopefully have more this time next year.IMG_0884 I also sowed my fist lot of seeds today, I sowed some tomatoes, Yellow pear and Alice Craig I plan to sow 1 more variety but going to leave that till mid-March I also sowed some Celeriac, Cabbage, Chives and some long Red Peppers I got from a Reader of my blog (thanks Helen) after sowing today I really feel as though the new season has begun. IMG_0881          IMG_0882 Thanks for reading…