Wednesday, October 21


Monday, October 19

Allotmenting on hold

It's at that stage in the year when there isn't any real urgency to get things done on the allotment. There are still spent crops to clear, but the on and off rain means that would be a rather soggy business. The soil is now really too wet to dig and our overwintering crops are just ticking along without any need of attention from us.

While we still can, (we are now a level 2 Covid area), whenever the rain holds off, we are taking the opportunity to get out and about.

One of our weekly walks with Ruby is around Rothwell Park. 
Rothwell Park
It was here that Ruby had her first experience of walking and running through carpets of fallen leaves. A month or two ago, the leaves would have provided a distraction and she would have been picking them up and trying to chew them, but she is now a dog of the world and can ignore many objects lying on the ground.
Now she is far more interested in intriguing smells and likes to check out where any other creatures have been. Nuzzling in the wet grass means that her furry snout is often dripping wet.

She is becoming a well traveled little dog and is always impatient to be lifted into the car when there is the exciting prospect of a journey. After the initial noisy excitement, she likes to watch the world go by and finds it really hard work deciding which window she should look out of for the most interesting view. Although it may not be obvious in the photos, whilst we are traveling she is safely attached to her own doggy safety belt.
Some curious doggy extra sensory perception always seems to mean that she knows when we have nearly arrived at our destination and excitement begins to mount again.  When he car engine stops and her seat belt is unfastened, she is eager to get out and explore. Coming home again is a much more subdued affair which usual involves snuggling up and having a well earned snooze.

Nostell Priory
We had another afternoon’s walk at nearby Nostell Priory where I had more opportunity to practise my camera settings. It’s difficult to tell, in Blogger but the settings did improve the definition in the sky. (Martyn isn’t very impressed by how Blogger handles photos). You can probably guess from, some of the photos above that our afternoon was cut short when it decided to rain.

Benningbrough Hall estate 
We had a second afternoon out at the Benningbrough Hall estate.

Squash and chickpea curry
Last week, we used one of our stored Uchiki Kuri squash in a curry based on this recipe.

Moroccan chicken stew
Homegrown onion, carrot and a courgette went into a Morrocan chicken stew based on this recipe.

Last week I also used some of our stored potatoes and onions to make a batch of cheese and onion crisp bakes. Most were popped into the freezer but we had a couple for dinner served with some of our Savoy cabbage and carrots. I asked, Martyn to plate it up prettily but as you can see he was more interested in eating  them than displaying them.
Cheese and onion crisp bakes
We paid a visit to the allotment on Saturday intending to take down the runner bean frames. As the weather didn't look promising, we decided to do a bit of harvesting first. This was just as well, as once we had gathered together our harvest, it started to rain putting paid to any further activity.
Ethiopian Cabbage

We brought home an extra cabbage so I cooked Ethiopian cabbage. Some of our potatoes, onions, carrots and tomatoes were added to the cabbage. I think I have mentioned this recipe before. It was based on this recipe.  I hadn't a green pepper so I used a red one instead and added vegetable stock instead of water, I also omitted the cayenne pepper as we prefer to taste the vegetables and the cayenne is somewhat overpowering.

Along with a Kalibro cabbage we brought home a Cordesa, savoy cabbage.

We lifted more Flakee carrots. We don't thin our carrots and so some have developed sinuous shapes as they curl around to avoid or cuddle up to their neighbours.

Although the leaves of our Safari dwarf French beans look a bit battered, the plants are still producing a supply of beans, just enough to have fresh for dinner on Saturday.

Our late sowing of peas have lots of pods but these don't seem to be swelling very quickly. I would have thought that the damp conditions would have suited them. I managed a tiny picking but I'm wondering if the remaining pods will now swell at all.

There are still plenty of green tomatoes in the allotment greenhouse which are ripening only very slowly. It's probably getting close to the time that we will have to pick them green and hope that they will ripen off the plants. I know we could make green tomato chutney but we don't really eat that sort of thing.

Surprisingly I am still managing to cut flowers for the house. Although the dahlias are less prolific, they are still hanging on.

That's all for this week - I wonder what next week will bring?

As always Stay safe and well

I'm linking to Harvest Monday on Dave's blog

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started. 

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

Wednesday, October 14

We have lots of of fun(gi)

Monday, October 12

Home and away

Last week we only visited the allotment once. Various other things took priority besides which the on and off rain meant that working on the plot would have been a soggy business. 

I had another dental appointment. This time they had added another strand to their list of safety protocols as I had to pop my coat into a box which was then closed and popped outside the door of the consulting room.

We also wanted to manage a couple of afternoons out before Boris makes his pronouncements of any further restrictions. Living in the north of England we are guessing that we will be hit hard.

On Monday we had a walk around Walton Country Park which is about four miles from us.

I haven't been satisfied with how washed out the sky is in some of my photos so I used the walk to practise with camera settings. What with aperture priority and spot metering my brain tends to fry.

On Friday, having renewed our annual passes, we decided to pay a visit to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. It was a cold day and many animals were sensibly staying inside. Two things that did surprise me were firstly, there were two school groups walking around and then on the other hand there seemed to be quite a number of school aged children visiting with parents. Is the return to school voluntary?

Again we took a packed lunch rather than venturing into the restaurant, although we did buy a drink from one of the kiosks. We drank it tucking ourselves away at a table situated in a jungle setting surrounded by shrubbery.

As well as catering for more exotic creatures, the park has areas that provide habitats for native wildlife. The tigers are just on the other side of the bridge.
The natives are happy to take a share of the food provided for the residents. Can you count the number of ducks? I couldn't.
On Sunday we actually managed a visit to the allotment. Showers were forecast but we needed to stock up on vegetables. Although the sky threatened, the showers never materialised so we dug over a couple more beds, The soil was just on the right side of being too wet. It was workable but heavy going.

You may remember that we are comparing two methods of growing over wintering onions. The photo above shows four rows of onions planted as plug plants which were grown from seed and one row of onion sets. The row of sets are third from the left or of you prefer third from the right. All were planted at the same time. The sets have now produced shoots.
11 October

We gathered together quite a good harvest to say we are heading for mid October.

Tomatoes are still slowly ripening in the plot greenhouse and we have now started digging two other varieties of carrots - Autumn King and Flakee. Having been in the ground longer, there is more damage caused by various nibbling creatures but this is easily trimmed off leaving  a good amount of usable root for us.

We cut a couple of cabbages - one white cabbage and a savoy .
Despite the cold conditions the late planting of Safari, dwarf French beans are producing a good crop.

The pods have finally started to swell on the last sowing of peas. I don't think we have picked peas so late in the year before. They have been happy in the cooler conditions.

We also had a mini harvest from the Conference pear growing in the garden. I think that it and the garden apple trees are having a rest this year.
I often use up odds and ends of vegetables in a stir  fry. Last week I added some pieces of chicken to home grown cabbage, courgette, carrot and sweet corn. I'd love to say all the vegetable were home grown but I also used some shop bought red and yellow peppers. The stir fry was based on this recipe although I use sweet chilli sauce rather than soy sauce which is something we don't use.

Our onions, potatoes, carrots, courgettes and tomatoes joined shop bought sweet pepper and celery in a vegetable casserole. We had enough for two days so one day it was served with rice and on the other it was served with couscous. It was based on this recipe.

Finally, I'm still managing to gather together enough cut flowers to fill a vase. The dahlias are hanging on well.

As always Stay safe and well
I'm linking to Harvest Monday on Dave's blog

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started. 

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

Wednesday, October 7

September in Pictures

Monday, October 5

Survivors and casualties.

We added a new venue for our safe places to visit last week. Nostell Priory is about nine miles from our home but is somewhere that we only visited once several years ago. It's strange isn't it how we often neglect places almost on our doorstep? We wanted a fairly mud free place where we could walk with Ruby over winter so we decided to check it out. It's a National Trust property that is dog friendly. As members we have free admission although even for non members the only charge for the parkland is a £5 parking fee. Admission to the house and garden is extra but both of these are dog free zones.

We wondered whether the park would be displaying autumnal colours.  In fact it appeared to be in transition. There were lots of signs that it was autumn but many of the trees were hanging on to their summer outfits

On the allotment some of the plants still were making an attempt to carry on producing.
Having had a broad bean failure earlier in the year we planted a variety called Luz de Otono. It's claimed to produce a crop in November which it appears to be trying to do. Will it or won't it? We will find out in due course.
On the other hand, I think the strawberry plants attempts to produce late fruits will be in vain. I was surprised that the low night time temperatures hadn't affected the flowers as it had certainly affected the courgette plants.
It had also put paid to any new growth as far as the squash fruits that we didn't harvest last week.  The larger of the Uchiki Kuri survived but it's little sister wasn't as lucky.
My reports on our plot activities are becoming very repetitive. We weeded and turned over more beds. It's a strange fact that whenever we have had a day on the plot that has involved some degree of physical exertion, our weights go up. It's hardly fair is it?
If you are a regular visitor you may remember earlier photos of the cracked and parched area that was our old strawberry bed. This was far too hard to work and so for over a year now it had been hidden beneath a mulch of wood chippings. Last week, Martyn scraped it off and roughly turned over the ground. Due to its covering it was very wet and so it will now need to be left over winter for the weather to hopefully break down the lumps.
The Safari dwarf french beans that I was concerned about last week survived the cold and we had our first harvest from them.
29 September
We thought that our small Fiesta apple tree was having a year off but found two lovely apples that we had missed. I'd also missed a couple of courgettes that had morphed into marrows.
A bunch of basil, a few sprigs of rosemary and some San Marzano tomatoes joined some of the smaller courgettes in a risotto. It was based on this recipe. I stirred in some cheese before serving to make it creamier.

We are now lifting some interesting carrots. Does anyone else think this one looks like a rocket?
It didn't manage to launch itself into orbit - just  managed to get as far as a vegetable bolognese based on this recipe

I had some pastry left over after making a chicken and mushroom pie so I used some odds and ends of vegetables and made some rustic looking - Martyn's description, I said messy looking - vegetable tarts.

I used, onion, courgette, tomato, red pepper and mushroom but you can use whatever you have. 

2 October
Another tree that we weren't expecting a harvest from was our quince. It didn't produce a large harvest but it did give us some fruit.
I had expected the dahlias to go the way of the courgette plants and curl up their leaves so I was pleased to see that they were still flowering away meaning I could cut another lot of flowers.

As always Stay safe and well
I'm linking to Harvest Monday on Dave's blog

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started. 

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