Monday, 29 September 2008

I don't believe it !!!

After months of growing the dratted stuff, followed by weeks of drying the dratted stuff, the dratted ratties have raided the dratted brick greenhouse and EATEN all of the dratted rye. Grrrr. Oh well, I guess I've still got some straw for my strawberries next year.

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My beans have been(!) great following their difficult start earlier in the year and I have decided to grow more borlotti and canneloni next year. I'm not going to bother with Scarlet Emperor again, they seem to just be feeding the compost heap.

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I made some lovely soup at with Ken's swede, a red onion (from Morrison's, not Michelle's lottie unfortunately), sweetcorn, borlotti beans, canneloni beans, garlic, courgette, veggie stock and potatoes.

I'm wondering whether to make Borscht with my lovely beetroots. I harvested 750g at the weekend - I've still got about a third of the original crop left in the ground, but they are still quite small. I'll leave them be for a bit and see if they do anything. Perhaps I'll fleece them, although from memory they don't mind colder weather.

The nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping, but here is my valient Avalon Squash. It is now as big as my hand and is very plump. I'm starting to nervously watch the weather forecast for any hints of frost. I'm in two minds as to whether to cover it in fleece (but don't want to deprive it of what little sunshine, albeit weak, is left). I'm already making plans for it and as I only have the one it has a lot to live up to ...

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A little mouse has moved into the greenhouse - obviously preparing for winter. He has been doing some major excavation work and helping himself to a few tomatoes. Finally, I've got a decent harvest of tomatoes and am thinking of making some tomato soup. I seem to recall that Jamie has a nice recipe.

I lost patience with the sweetcorn and decided to try some at the weekend. For some reason the cobs have only half matured - I think someone said that this is because they haven't been pollinated properly. It was very yummy and sweet in the soup. My second variety are much smaller, but the cobs feel fuller. I hope the meeces and ratties don't find them.

The Jerusalem Artichokes are just about to flower .... some of them are now twice as tall as me. I have a great recipe for soup somewhere, I must try and find it. For some reason the side effects are reduced when they are eaten in soup. We celebrated a special family birthday last weekend in London at Fortnum & Mason's St James Restaurant - not only was it absolutely fabulous, but OH & I had a gorgeous artichoke risotto. Ironically OH had dandelion leaves for his starter - I wonder if they need a regular supplier :)

My salad is growing surprisingly well and looking very pretty as some of it is in flower again. The leaves are quite sharp and lemony in flavour. I've forgotten totally what they are:

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The blueberry bush has gone a gorgeous colour, I guess its heralding the arrival of autumn:

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The autumn rapberries are in full swing, but they are half the size of the summer ones. I really must try and find out what variety they are and get some more - I think one of my work colleagues gave the summers ones to me when I first got my lottie. I managed to harvest enough to make raspberry & chocolate muffins ... yum :-P

No sign of any baby frogs hopping around the pond, although I'm sure I'll find lots once I start my winter dig. The iris seed heads have finally burst open.

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oh, remember my cute little kitten ? Here he is now, at 7 months old - he is enormous:

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Sunday, 14 September 2008

another week gone by ...

The courgettes are slowing down, probably because its been so dark for the last week - I don't think we had any sunshine at all. It would be great the courgettes only ever grew this big.

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Looks like a few more will be arriving before too long. I've not yet plucked up courage to try the flowers .. .maybe next year

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My squash is now hand sized .. I have my fingers crossed that it is going to ripen in time. Ive noticed another couple of babies on the other vines, but its way too late for them I fear.

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Here are my Scarlet Emerald, OH is not keen on them, so I don't think we'll bother with those next year

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These are my borlotti beans - they are very vibrant ... I've not tried them yet. I was thinking of drying the beans and adding to soup, but I read recently that they are far better eaten fresh. Just need a recipe now ..

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My parsnips (all 4 of them) are looking good so far:

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I need to turn the compost, as its getting a little compacted and horrid. At the moment it seems to be full of tiny flies too. Oh, I've just realised I didn't cover it back over ... oh well ...

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There has been a lot of activity in the allotment next to Ken and a month or so ago some chickens moved in. I went round to introduce myself and have a little look at the chooks. There are about 6, some brown ones and whitey-grey ones (technical term LOL). The guy who has taken over the lottie (Rozzo, Rizzo ??) said he's getting between 4 - 6 eggs a day, so he's selling them: 6 for £1.00. I might have to sample some. If you look (very) hard in the photo below you can just make out one of the brown ones.

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Apparently the foxes are very brazen and saunter up to the chicken run and have a good look (chhosing dinner no doubt) before strutting off. I have to say that the cage doesn't look terribly strong, but he has kept chickens before, so I'm assuming he knows what he is doing.

I think the swede is ready to try ... pity I didn't get any carrots this season. I think they'll go in the greenhouse next year. I'll save one for halloween, as I've not got any pumpkins to carve.

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Hmm, something has been burrowing in the alfalfa bed. The adjacent bed in Nick's lottie had an even bigger hole - right under his raspberries. Presumably its a rabbit.

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At least the flowering bindweed is providing late season food for the bees

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The autumn rapsberries are appearing, but they are not a patch on the summer ones ... still there might just be enough for chocolate brownie cakes before the end of the season.

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I've noticed lots of dead bumble bees over the last couple of months, varying sizes, but all looking remarkably healthy .. apart from being dead obviously :-)

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The gladioli's are slowly appearing, they are very delicate and far too pretty for the allotment.
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The nastursiums are really vibrant, I have a mix of bright orange and burnt orange:
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