Monday, July 5

The focus has changed

As well as working on the plot, last week we paid another visit to Nostell. As we didn't visit the previous week, I was anxious to check on the four cygnets.

They were some distance away across the lake, with just mum in attendance. Dad was swanning around at the other end of the lake. I think that he considers that he no longer needs to fulfil his parental duties.

I had to use a full zoom to take the photo, and when the camera is hand-held, even leaning against a tree, it's difficult to keep the camera steady enough to produce a clear photo. I think, however, you can appreciate how the cygnets are growing.

The wildflower meadow was also progressing with a wider variety of flowers. The bees, damselflies and butterflies were making the most of the nectar bar. None of the minibeasts stayed still for long enough to take photos. Of course with Ruby frolicking along and heralding our presence, it was hardly surprising.
Back at the allotment, the main planting phase has more or less been completed and the overall view is very different to how things looked only a short time ago.
The empty bed, on the left of the photograph, is earmarked for more brassicas.

Now that most things have been planted up, the emphasis has changed and we are now busy keeping things tidy, watering and harvesting. At the weekend we had a break from watering as rain actually arrived.
We don't thin out the carrots; they seem to sort themselves out without us interfering too much. We may end up with less than perfect shapes but, for us, it's the taste that matters. To be honest, in our soil we would have wonky shapes even if we thinned out the seedlings. A few weeds needed removing, but once that was done the enviromesh protection went back in place. Hopefully, the carrot fly won't have spotted that the carrots were temporarily unprotected.

The parsnips that I did thin out a week ago are now romping away.
The ever present, wood pigeons, don't miss a trick. Perched on the telegraph wires, they keep a constant watch hoping we will leave and forget to cover vulnerable crops. Each year the number of birds grows and the damage they cause rises exponentially.
We can't protect everything from them, and so have to prioritise. It would be pointless trying to grow brassicas without protection as the pigeons can devastate a whole bed in a day. Strangely they seem to leave red cabbage alone.

Not only do the pigeons raid any nearly ripe fruit, but branches of fruit bushes are broken under their weight as they blunder around. We can't net all of our fruit, but, last week we made sure the blueberry bushes were protected. If the wood pigeons don't clear the under-ripe berries, the blackbirds will.
This year our broad beans have done well, and we were determined to harvest the beans whilst still young. It may seem a waste not to leave the beans to grow to full maturity but we prefer the taste and texture of the younger beans.
We're harvesting the first batch of beans and the second lot are flowering. A third batch will be planted later. We rarely have a problem with black flies on our broad beans and take no preventative measures. Last year we had a broad bean crop failure and the weak plants did fall victim to blackfly. This was the only time our  plants have been attacked. If you are interested we have a video here that focuses on our broad bean harvest.

Crops are now maturing quickly and so time has to be set aside for picking, cutting and lifting.
29 June rhubarb - Raspberry Red, strawberries - Elsanta & Sweetheart and calabrese - Aquiles.

We ate quite a lot of the strawberries fresh but, Martyn also made a couple of batches of rhubarb and strawberry compote.

2 July Onion - Senshyu, Cabbage - Regency, Strawberries - Elsanta & Sweetheart, calabrese = Aquiles, courgette - Ambassador,  rhubarb - and Sweet Williams.

We also picked a sprinkling of raspberries, gooseberries and redcurrants. The redcurrant bed is due for renovation so is uncovered and easy picking for the birds as are the raspberries which may need some protection.

As with the broad beans we are trying to pick the courgettes whilst small but there will no doubt come a time when we can't keep up. It's time to get out the courgettes recipes.
There is a link to some recipes that I have tried on the sidebar. It is easy enough to sneak courgettes into many recipes and to add them raw to a salad.
4 July - More broad beans - de Monika, Calabrese side shoots - Aquiles, Courgettes - Ambassador and Black Forest and four raspberries.

Black Forest is the darker fruit on the left.
I also cut a few sweet Williams.
As well as  being an accompaniment, our vegetable were used in a few recipes last week. Some frozen French beans went into a stir fry. There's no recipe for this, I just use whatever vegetables that I have to hand. We don't use soy sauce so I add sweet chili sauce instead and serve with noodles.
Some of the calabrese went into a chicken and broccoli risotto. I must admit to not cooking risotto 'properly'. I add all the stock at once and cook until the stock is absorbed and the rice cooked.
The cabbage went into coleslaw. I make a large bowlful every week.
I also used cabbage in curry based on this recipe.

Finally - I don't want to speak too soon but I think some of our sweet corn plants are rallying! We may yet have some sort of harvest.

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.

PS I decided to change my blog header and wish that I hadn't. Blogger have changed how you create your header but they have caused a technical problem. I've just spent ages checking the Internet for a work around until Blogger deign to fix things. The work around involved editing the HTML code of my template. If you have any similar problems see this info.

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


  1. still beats me how you both find time to manage a plot as big as yours, and keep it weeded!

    1. The dry weather has tended to keeo the weeds down, David. On average during the growing season we spend three afternoons a week at the allotment.

  2. Sue, your first photo is wonderful, lovely swans. Your harvest in July is too rich, I have courgette as well but yours are bigger.
    You're lucky to have rain, send some water here!

    1. Maybe the courgettes looked bigger in the photo Nadezda. They were really quite small. I think we need to keep our water as we haven't had too much yet.

  3. You all two have the allotment looking great Sue! The wildflower meadow sounds like a place I would like to visit. We don't have anything like that very close to use here.

  4. Such lovely harvests and your beds are looking very nice. Flowers are cheery as always. I'm lax about thinning carrots too and everything comes out ok, though carrots are usually smaller. Okay with me to have smaller or wonky ones.

    1. We still end up with some large carrots, Sue. I think some muscle the other ones out of the way.

  5. Seeing those rows of vegetables growing so beautifully makes me hungry. Everything looks so good. Too bad you couldn't add a pigeon or two to those delicious meals. Or 4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie. That might keep them from being so destructive.

    1. The blackbirds I can tolerate, Lisa. It the pigeons that do the most damage.

  6. Wonderful news about the cygnets, they certainly are growing fast. I enjoyed the wildflowers, lovely. Your crops look wonderful, and great to hear about the sweetcorn, fingers crossed for that. Your stir fry looks delicious as does your homemade

    1. I always head for the lake to check on the cygnets, Dina. The sweetcorn is amazing, I never expected it to recover. We nearly pulled it out

  7. I've noticed an ever increasing presence of wood pigeons in my garden. Wondering what they may be eying up here. So pleased you had your much needed rain.

    1. The wood pigeons are breeding quickly and seem to have ousted the collared doves from the garden. They are becoming more confident too. They need a natural predator or should I say we need them to have a natural predator,


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