As I mentioned in my last blog, it’s National Allotment Week! Have you done anything to celebrate the tradition of allotments or your enthusiasm for grow your own?
The National Allotment Society organised a number of Open Allotment day events which are listed here; did you attend any?
I didn’t attend any of the events but spent a good few hours at No.27 this week having my own little celebration as I very happily had the week off work as annual leave.
The allotment is still full of activity with lots to do and new produce needing harvesting at its best daily. It is a great feeling finally reaping the rewards and receiving praise from my plot neighbours after my back breaking digging and weeding through the winter months.
This week bought the fun of finally digging up my ‘Charlotte’ potatoes which are now stored in hessian bags, minus the ones I turned into a delicious potato salad with crème fraiche and home-grown lime mint. The ‘Sarpo Mira’ main crop have been cut back to prevent blight setting in and will be harvested in two weeks.
First pickings of my ‘St George’ runner beans began too, every day this week new ones have been showing so I will definitely have a bumper crop. I have spent a couple of evenings chopping, blanching and freezing bags full of beans already. What haven’t been frozen have been turned into a delicious pasta, greek cheese, mint and parsley recipe I found in Gardeners World magazine.
Do you have any runner bean recipe ideas please?
My ‘Firetongue’ borlotto beans are taking off now too and their vibrant red colour is deepening gradually. I am hoping to leave these to ripen and dry on the plant so I can harvest them for their beans which I can store and use over winter when my other bean variety crops have finished.
What else has been going on this week? My mini-cucumbers and chillies are doing fantastic and my chard is growing well. The ‘Swift’ sweetcorn is nearly ready and so are the tomatoes. I harvested my first spinach, more thyme and chocolate and lime mint cuttings for homemade mint tea.
I now have four large ‘Rouge Vif D’Etampes’ pumpkins which are starting to ripen and 3 large ‘Crown Prince’ Squash. I’m certainly not giving Matthew Oliver and the world’s largest pumpkin attempt a run for its money, but for my first time growing these beauties I am pleased with the results so far!
The leaves have just started to get hit by powdery mildew which made me a little sad so I spent a few minutes last night cutting the affected leaves right back in a bid to get more air into the bed and prevent further spreading. Any more tips would be greatly appreciated.
I also dug up my first row of ‘Autumn King’ carrots and last of the ‘Boltardy’ beetroot. I still have a baby row of each which will be ready in a month roughly. The carrots were a real 50/50 split of perfectly straight and wibbly wobbly ones growing in all directions, both equally delicious though. I have gave half away to my family then the rest I have either stored or frozen. Considering I was told carrots don’t grow on my site by numerous people, I am really pleased and proud as punch.
In their place, this week I sowed a row of Unwins ‘Azure Star’ Kohl Rabi alongside a row of Puntarelle which I was very kindly sent. I have never grown or tasted either so I can’t wait for both to germinate and watch them grow. Puntarelle is an Italian style chicory which Monty Don bought to my attention earlier in the year.
Finally, my flowers have really taken off minus one sweet pea tepee. How can one sweet pea tepee do brilliantly and the other die when they are right next to each other getting the same treatment? I’m baffled unless one has been being greedy and stealing all nutrients in the soil.
I have been taking cuttings of sweet pea flowers off the successful plant every other day and bringing them home to fill my rooms with their beautiful scent. The cosmos and calendula flowers are looking vibrant on the plot too.
I hope you are all having a predominately successful year on the allotment or garden. I have already in year 1 learnt that you can’t please every plant every year, so I am ignoring the poor results which is mainly only the courgettes and focusing and appreciating the successes.
I’m off to bed and to reluctantly set my 6am alarm as I go back to work in the morning, boo! This week has certainly giving me lots of excitement and food for thought around future life options. Time to have a good think, evaluate and focus.
Happy National Allotment Week from No.27!