Allotment time has been tight this last week. The weather has been down right awful recently, making what little time I’ve had to get to the allotment tricky to say the least, with hail and thunder one day, searing sunshine the next followed by drizzly rain after that. How’s a girl supposed to keep on top of the weeds?!
I had a little trip away last weekend to visit a lovely group of girls I met at University 17 years ago. It’s only the second time we’ve met up since we left, but when we get together, we all just fall back into each other’s company so comfortably, it’s like we just saw each other last week. I love friendships like that.
My University girls
After my time away, I was keen to check up on the plot before the working week started. To my delight the plot had survived without me, the slugs and snails didn’t launch a stealth attack in my absence and the birds hadn’t devoured the strawberries.
I have to say, I’m loving the way the allotment is looking at the moment. It’s great to see all the beds being used and little by little there are signs that vegetables are either ready or on their way. I’ve started to harvest my new potatoes now, even though they’ve not flowered yet. They’ve been in the ground for about 13 weeks and quite honestly I couldn’t wait any longer to get digging! The crops per plant have been just big enough I think, but I’d definitely manure next year to increase the yield.
I’ve been harvesting the Lady Chrystl variety mostly and they’re quite delicious. They take only 8-10 minutes to cook, hold their shape well, and taste fresh even after they’ve been stored for a few days. I’m keeping the harvested potatoes in a closed cardboard shoebox lined with absorbent paper in the kitchen until I’m ready to cook them. I know it’s a little unorthodox as far as potato storage goes but I don’t want to keep them in the fridge in case they absorb any moisture and disintegrate when they’re cooked and I’ve read that if they are too cold when stored the starch in the potatoes will turn to sugar which will affect their flavour. Not having a paper potato sack handy, the next best thing I could find was a cardboard shoebox and some kitchen roll and I’ve got to say it seems to be doing the trick.
I had a fleeting visit to the allotment on Tuesday, again to make sure no critters had been eating the crops but was able to spend about an hour and a half yesterday getting a little plot maintenance done. I swiftly cut the grass, as my mum deadheaded the roses. I also had to add another rung of support canes to my squash hide out. Since mulching the squash and pumpkins with manure a couple of weeks ago they’ve put on a huge amount of growth.
This is a picture of the Buffy Ball squash plants taken on the 2nd July
This was them yesterday
I can’t believe the pictures are only 15 days apart. As I was tying in the stems, I noticed my very first squash fruit. Fingers crossed it was pollinated and doesn’t drop off!
I’ve been keeping a close eye on the brassicas recently as I found a caterpillar and a whole load of eggs on one of the broccoli plants last week. After their swift removal I’ve been a little obsessive with checking all the leaves front and back to make sure I’d not missed any more. Well I think I’ve been focusing too much on the creepy crawlies because I completely missed this beauty
A cauliflower! An actual real cauliflower, and it’s growing on my allotment! Even better, there’s more of them! I spotted 3 the size of the one in the picture and 2 smaller ones. How I missed these I’ll never know. Quickly I cut some twine and gathered the leaves around the heads and tied them together. Using the outer leaves to cover the cauliflower heads will keep them a creamy white colour as sunlight can turn the curds a brownish colour.
Feeling like a proper gardener I quickly harvested some more potatoes, broad beans and some strawberries before leaving for the day.
The potatoes and broad beans I’m using today to make a summer vegetable frittata.
The strawberries have gone already…