Monday, September 20

Corn and carrots

In my last post, I mentioned that we picked our first sweet corn cob to check on ripeness. As it was ready, we decided that we ought to harvest the rest of the crop.

Thinking back to when we planted the young plants it amazed us that they produced any harvest at all. The plants suffered badly from a wind battering and were clinging onto life by a thread but they rallied and surprised us.

In the end, last week we harvested a satisfactory haul. The cobs were taken home, the kernels stripped off and frozen as quickly as we could. A video has been posted here.

The sweet corn was just part of Monday's harvest.
13 September - Mixed Dahlias & Cosmos, Climbing French Beans - Cobra, Dwarf French Beans - Safari,  Beetroot - Boltardy, Raspberries - All Gold & Joan J, Carrots - Romance & Sweet Candle, Cauliflower - Zaragosa, Plums - Marjorie's Seedling, Sweetcorn - Earlibird and Sweet Peas

Safari dwarf French beans usually provide us with a late harvest of tender young beans but we are not expecting much from them this year. Events meant that they have been neglected and, in the bone dry ground, they have been struggling and are only just hanging on to life.
18 September - Peas - Terrain, Blackberries - Loch Ness, Broad Beans - Luz de Otono, Carrots - Amsterdam Forcing, Flakee, Sweet Candle & Romance (not in photograph), Cauliflower Zaragosa, Raspberries - All Gold & Joan J, Tomatoes - Crimson Crush, Crimson Plum, Shirley & Sungold and Mixed Dahlias

Martyn posted a video about our late sowing of broad beans here.

As well as harvesting all the sweet corn we decided to lift all the carrots. In the past we have left our carrots in the ground and dug them up as we have needed them. The problem is that, usually, slugs move in before we finish using them. We have tried various methods of storing lifted carrots in the past but with little success. 
This year our carrots are probably the best crop that we have had in all the years that we have been allotmenting.
Some are really huge and we have fewer strange shaped individuals than usual.

We want to make the best of the harvest so we are trying another method of storage. This year we are reburying the carrots in containers filled with compost.

These have been placed just inside the garden greenhouse and will be kept just damp enough to stop the carrots from drying out. Fingers crossed that this method works.

We have continued to harvest tomatoes from both the allotment and the garden. Last week I made a large batch of tomato sauce which has been frozen and will be used with pasta.
Monday, I made a vegetable 'cottage' pie into which went homegrown onion, garlic, courgette, potato and basil. 
On Sunday, our cauliflower, onion, garlic, tomato, peas and carrots were used to make a vegetable biryani.

In other news, the four young swans - I'm not sure when they cease to be cygnets - continue to thrive. I wonder how much longer the parent birds will tolerate their presence. It's been great watching them grow over the weeks.
Although, at Nostell, the trees are still fully clothed with green leaves, there are signs that autumn is moving in.
In the garden the insects are making the most of the flowers whilst they can.
The asters were particularly popular. I thought one flower had a bit of dried leaf stuck to the centre. Then the 'leaf' moved.

Closer inspection revealed it to be the tiniest moth that I had ever seem

Can anyone identify it? 

That's all for this week so, as always. wherever you are stay safe and well.

This week I   am once again joining in with Dave’s Harvest Monday collection of posts over at Our Happy Acres.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Wednesday, September 15

Late flowers

Monday, September 13

We're not crying over our onions

Thank you for all the good wishes following, Martyn's hospital adventure. Thankfully, he has had no further nosebleeds, although we made sure to take things steadily last week. Martyn, had been instructed not to do anything too strenuous for a week. It’s a bit like treading on egg shells wondering whether a repeat is imminent.

We did pop to the allotment a couple of times, mainly to harvest a few things although on Saturday we did plant some overwintering onions and garlic. We planted two varieties of onions - Radar and Senshyu and some White Casablanca garlic. 

Fortunately, we had a bed ready for planting. Birds appear to consider beds that have been cleared and dug over to be excellent places to use as dust baths and so we covered the onion bed with a layer of enviromesh. We posted a video here.
Onions were a feature last week as I also tidied up the bulbs that had been drying off. Any loose skins were removed and roots trimmed off. The onions were then placed in a single layer in cardboard boxes and placed in our summerhouse for storage over winter. The summerhouse doubles up as a fruit and vegetable storage area once summer winds down. It is ideal as it is cool/cold and dry.
Any suspect bulbs have been set aside for using as soon as possible. I'll also keep checking the boxes and remove any onions that show signs of rotting.
The new strawberry bed had taken full advantage of our absence from the plot. I had been diligently removing runners and flowers from the plants so that they could build up strength during their first year. Whilst I had taken my eye off the ball, the plants had produced a mass of runners and one variety - Christine - had not only produced lots of flowers but had also set fruit. I removed all the runners but hadn’t the heart to cut off all the flowers and immature fruits. I doubt that any fruits will ripen but Christine deserves to be given the chance to try.
7 September - Mixed dahlias,  Peas - Onward & Terrain, Runner beans - Moonlight and raspberries - All Gold.

Tomatoes - Sungold, Crimson Plum, Shirley & Crimson Crush
The tomatoes are now in full flow. We are picking ripe fruits from both the garden and plot greenhouses and a raised bed in the garden.

I've been busy roasting tomatoes, as this way, they take up less room in the freezer than as ready made tomato sauces, which they will be used to make later.
11 September - Peas - Onward & Terrain, Courgettes - Ambassador & Boldenice, Raspberries - All Gold & Joan J, Broad bean -  Luz de Otono, Blackberries - Loch Ness, Tomatoes - Shirley & Crimson Crush and Sweet Corn - Earlibird

The last lot of Onward peas, that we sowed, are now starting to be affected by mildew which is affecting the leaves and the pea pods, Fortunately the peas inside are fine. Terrain produces small peas more like petit pois.

The thornless, Loch Ness blackberry produces some very large berries.

We have a few Joan J raspberry canes that, each year, enter into a battle with bindweed, however, they continue to produce some tasty berries.
We picked the first of our sweet corn to check whether the cobs had ripened. They had so we will strip the plants when we next visit the plot. The kernels will be stripped off and frozen.

We also picked the first few late planted broad beans. 

Fortunately, Martyn is now back eating warm food and last week we used some cabbage and onions in a chicken dish based on this recipe.

Carrots, tomato and peas were included in a minced turkey and quinoa dish.

Our onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes and courgette were ingredients in a tomato and courgette risotto.

Nostell was looking very autumnal last week. The flower meadow had been mown the previous week and last week bales of hay dotted the landscape.
I was also attracted to the bark of various trees as we walked around the lake.

The four cygnets are now just about fully grown but are still sticking close to their parents.

We often spot a heron patrolling the shallows. Last week he or she was wading through the flowers.

By the way is anyone else finding that they are collecting more and more itchy bites on a daily basis. We all are, in spite of using copious amounts of repellent.  Is it our imagination or this year are there more creatures around after our blood?

As always wherever you are keep safe and well.

This week I   am once again joining in with Dave’s Harvest Monday collection of posts over at Our Happy Acres.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett