Waste not, want not

  
For the last 5 years or so, I’ve taken great delight in pumpkin carving at Halloween. The whole process really gets my jets all fired up! You know…picking out the perfect pumpkin, deciding what to carve, being thankful it’s not a turnip like our parents had to hollow out when we were children! Then, the moment of magic arrives, you set about scooping and carving your spooky creation. 

Epic. 

  
  
  
  
Up until last year, I’d been quite happily scooping and binning the insides of the pumpkins… that was until I saw a post on Instagram about saving the seeds and roasting them at home. 

It was like a lightbulb moment! I immediately decided that I’d never waste pumpkin seeds again. Quick as a flash I had them in the oven, and delicious snacks of pumpkin goodness were born. 

  
Making your own delicious pumpkin seed snacks is super easy.

1. Separate the seeds from the fleshy pulp you scoop out from inside the pumpkin. 

2. Place the seeds into a sieve and rinse thoroughly. Pat the seeds dry with kitchen paper, or leave spread out on a baking tray lined with a clean tea towel over night. 

3. Pre heat your oven to 160 degrees C

4. Drizzle a little olive oil over the seeds and add whatever you want as extra flavour. I’ve done half salted, and the other half smoked paprika. 

5. Pop in the oven for 20 min or so, stirring occasionally to make sure they’re all roasted evenly. When they’re looking golden and toasted, remove from the oven. (Try and them cool before diving in!)

  
  
  

  
Delicious! 

Slugfest

  
It’s so totally on. 

For he last few weeks, things have been ticking along nicely at the allotment. The weather has been a bit hit and miss, but other than that it’s been relatively uneventful. 

Until now 

Last weekend I had a trip away to visit my university pals so had a few days away from the allotment. 

Little did I know that my trip away would coincide with the biggest allotment event of the year…

SLUGFEST

It must’ve been a sell out event judging by the total decimation they left in their wake. 

  
There’s only one pumpkin plant left in the whole of the pumpkin patch, that’s right only one, out of 11 plants including all the courgettes. They must’ve thought it best to leave one as, you know, eating them all would be greedy! 

Now, for the slugs that couldn’t make the main event, they attended the fringe festival

SUNDOWN

They’ve eaten the sunflowers down to stalk stumps. All but 3 as, you know, it’s greedy to eat them all. 

(I was too sad to take a photo of the stumps)

All the time I’ve been growing vegetables I’ve prided myself on being an organic gardener, and I’ve not minded the odd leaf being nibbled here and there but today I’ve declared war. 

To all slugs and snails-

Be afraid…be very afraid

Wool pellets are coming

Autumn jewels

Autumn. It’s such a lovely time of year. You can see the leaves on trees gradually changing from the fresh vibrant green of summer to the rich earthy tones of red and gold. This is my first successful year of Autumn crops at the allotment and I’m delighted with the harvest so far.

I managed a quick harvesting trip this afternoon (I’ve got a week off work soon so I’ll do all the gardening essentials like weeding then!) and came back with another trug full of autumnal delights!

I’m really surprised to see the runner beans still producing massive pods, and there are more flowers coming.

I’ve decided to harvest a few of the Buffy ball pumpkins. Not sure if they’re quite ready yet but I don’t want to get caught out with a surprise frost so I’ve picked most of them today and left a few of the smaller ones on the vine. The picked pumpkins will store in the garage until I can research how to cure them and hopefully I’ll have mini roasted pumpkins for tea on Halloween

The apples this year are fantastic. There’s just so many on the tree I can’t pick them quick enough! I love the colour of the apples, such a lovely rich red, it’s great to be able to pick your own food just at the right time and to taste it, freshly picked is amazing. (The apples are currently being baked in a crumble as I type…the smell is awesome!)

And last but not least the tomatoes. I’d left them on the plants hoping they’d ripen but I think they’re determined to remain green. I’ve picked them all, still on the vine and I’ll make them into chutney using more of the apples and the already harvested onions to enjoy closer to Christmas.

That’s it for now, I can hear the crumble calling out my name… Here’s a quick look at the haul from today, happy harvests everyone!

Pumpkins

image

Its been about a week since I gave my mildew infested squash a liberal spraying of milky water and I’ve got to say I’m really pleased with the results so far. The spread seems to have slowed down and I’ve not noticed any new leaves showing signs of mildew either so I think the milk has done the trick.

I’m off on holiday camping on Saturday, so tomorrow, I’ll pop along to the allotment  and give the leaves another coating of the milky-wonder-spray and keep my fingers crossed the mildew fairies will keep their powdery fingers off my plants!

On the whole I’m pleased with the squash and pumpkin progress at the allotment. The little Buffy Ball squash are starting to come along nicely and are really scrambling up the bamboo trellis I made earlier in the year. I’ve even noticed more fruits forming in the last couple of weeks so I could be on for a nice crop of mini pumpkins.

Buffy ball scrambling up the trellis

Buffy ball scrambling up the trellis

Buffy ball squash

Buffy ball squash

Buffy ball squash

Buffy ball squash

The giant Atlantic pumpkins I’d had such high hopes for haven’t taken off as well as I’d hoped. This is probably down to me not preparing the planting area as well as I should’ve and not adding manure until after they’d been in the ground for a few weeks (rookie error, lesson learned). I have spotted a few pumpkins growing but I don’t think they’ll be needing a wheel barrow to take them home, but the seasons not over yet, they might be the surprise of the crop.

Teeny Giant pumpkins climbing up the sunflower canes

Teeny Giant pumpkins climbing up the sunflower canes

Lastly we have the Japanese winter squash, Uckiki kuri. These seem to be the Kings of the pumpkin patch. They just keep producing loads of onion shaped fruits right along the vines. They must like the temperamental British summer we’ve had as they are by far the biggest pumpkins on the plot.

Japanese squash

Japanese squash

Japanese winter squash

Japanese winter squash

More pumpkins

What a beauty

I’ve got some more manure to mulch around the plants before I go away to help them along. Who knows, I might come back to the worlds biggest pumpkin (probably not though!)

Monster pumpkin

Monster pumpkin

I’d like to say thanks to fellow blogger gunn4 for asking for a pumpkin update. They have a lovely allotment blog, it’s well worth a read.