Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween !

I've found a use for one of my Queensland Blue's ! It smelt amazing when I was carving it - looking forward to tasting it. This week we've had pumpkin (squash actually), pine nut & feta cannelloni, butternut squash risotto, squash lasagne and I think tomorrow I'm going to make pumpkin cake out of my carrot cake recipe :-p


I barely see Nick next door and yet he has somehow managed to get his winter beds ready. He planted his garlic and onions last week.


Here's my lottie looking grey and dismal. I've started digging over my beds in preparation for manuring them next month (hahah). I cleared my greenhouse this afternoon and pulled up my tomato plants - the final handful are now ripening on the windowsill. The greenhouse has loads of bindweed roots :(


I sowed my broadbeans this afternoon. When I've sown them previously I've sown them direct in the bed, but I've lost packets and packets to the meeces, so I decided to sow them into pots and put them in the greenhouse. This may turn out to be a bad idea as the greenhouse's winter resident moved in a few weeks ago and helped himself to the buckwheat that I've lovingly grown through the summer and been patiently drying the seeds for storage. Ho hum, will have to wait and see what happens.


Made a bit more progress on my demolition - crikey it's taking me ages ... can't see me getting the new greenhouse up before Christmas :(


Here are my red onions - looking good ! I have high hopes :)


Street Force supplied lots of community groups across Sheffield with free spring bulbs to brighten the city up. Our Allotment Association were given 1,000 daffodils and 2,000 crocuses .... seemed like a good idea at the time. Half of them are now loitering in my greenouse - planted about 100 of each today outside the plots on my row and barely dented the bags LOL.


Must get them in soon as they are already waking up.


My flag iris have really outgrown their pot, so I'll be splitting them over the winter:


Found this delicate little thing next to my leeks - no idea what it is, but it's very pretty.


Did you meet our newest arrival yet ? Here's Feargal ... we are currently fostering her. She's not had the best start to life and is pretty terrified of humans (her mum & two siblings drowned after they were all thrown into the canal) so we agreed to foster her for a while and try and socialise her.

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She is making huge progress and adores Loki x

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Sunday, 10 October 2010

surely I'm too young for senile dementia ?

spent bloody ages looking for my secateurs today - got loads of stuff to chop down ... anyone seen them ?

What a beautiful day it has been today - didn't start off so promising, but the afternoon was glorious - the Jerusalem Artichokes are in full flower:

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Hmm my strawberries seem confused !

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The little Alpine ones are adding some much needed colour:

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Finally got hold of some garlic - forgotten what the variety is already LOL ! Ambled up and down the lottie trying to decide which bed to put them into when I realised that last years garlic bed has geared itself up already. I took a closer look and was a little suprised to see that there are 14 very healthy looking plants - I'm sure I dug them all up in late Spring / early Summer ! Decided to take a chance and use the same bed - ended up using all three cloves.

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Am feeling very pleased with myself - that's my garlic in and my onions have been planted for a couple of weeks - they are already 1-2 inches high :) Just need to get some broad beans, sweet potatoes and sweet peas and then I think I'm set for the winter - well apart from my manure and new greenhouse !

Finally ! this is my Romaesco cauliflower. Blimey it's taken a long time to appear ... hope it's good - my cauliflowers were growing really well this year - until the two-week rain deluge that we had in the summer.

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Looks like I might be getting some broccoli soon - not quite sure what I did to it, but it looks like I only have one plant - still that's not such as bad thing as OH doesn't like it:

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Now, this is a leek head that went to flower ... and then little leak-lets appeared ... so I've potted some of them up - will they grow ?? I can't think why they won't. Free leeks :) :)

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Last of the Borlotties ... I'm going to grow stacks more of these next year - why not, we really like them. Got some podded ones in the freezer and made some more into spicy bean burgers - yum yum yum !

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Remembering my potato disaster last year (ie, when I didn't dig them up until Spring this year!) I've been slowly digging my way across the beds - but as the stems disappeared long ago on mine, I'm puzzled as to how Nick's (next door) are so green & vibrant and still in flower ??

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Here's my compost heap ... always feeds well this time of year :)

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The last of the summer flowers are just clinging on:

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and surprisingly the Phacelia is still going strong - not many bees around tho:

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I harvested a few beetroots and some strange looking thing - noticed a few of them growing in and amongst the beetroots - guess it's a turnip or something. Tastes like a sugar beet tho. Oh well, it's gotta be edible right.

Anyway next to the beetroots I spy my three parsnips - yep, three whole parsnips from a whole packet of seed. I decide to pull the biggest one - it's flipping enormous. It kinda made up for not having many - could have fed the whole street with it :)

The photo with Loki doesn't really do it justice - the widest part of the the parsnip was as wide as my head !! It was flipping heavy

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So what to do with a giant parsnip ... hmmm, cake !


Here is my parsnip & maple syrup cake - it is delicious and unbelieveably moist - I can thoroughly recommend it. Best of all girls it almost counts as your 5 a day - parsnip, apple & orange !!


The rest of the monster parsnip became parsnip soup - I'll discover what that tastes like tomorrow - anyone seen those secateurs ??

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Woo hoo ! We won, we won !!

gosh off we went this morning to our local You Choose community funding event. We rallied the troops:

You choose

Expectations were low as these events have come in for a lot of criticism in the past. The council were offering £10,000 in total for our area - sounds a lot right ? They had £30,000 worth of applications. Knowing all the hoops that have to be jumped and thinking we wouldn't win, we decided that it would be good for us to attend the event anyway to raise our profile within the community.

There were 18 entrants - we decided that the bowling club were our competition, they appeared to have mobilised most of their members - and didn't do a bad job at trying to sign us up as new members !

Our table definitely had the most impact - we were so proud !





Oooo you can never miss an opportunity to gather more email addresses for our monthly newsletter mailing list ... managed to add another 14 names :)


The results were finally announced and we were absolutely astonished and shocked to hear that we came second ! We got the whole amount that we'd requested - fantastic. We are so grateful to everyone who supported us and voted for us. The groups who won were: Bishops' House, Heeley & District Allotments (us !!), Heeley Voice or Advice, Heeley City Farm, the bowling club (they get their bad weather shelter) and the wildlife group

The Council wanted an interview with the winning groups, so after a bit of arm twisting we managed to persuade Jo to represent us.


and here's the evidence ! Cheque in the post LOL


Sunday, 3 October 2010

The End is Nigh ...

Was listening to the radio on Friday and the guest speaker was a professional pumpkin grower. He was asked when pumpkins should be harvested and he said they were in the process of completing their harvest, so yesterday I decided to harvest my Queensland Blues. I knew I had 4, but discovered a fifth when I was pulling up the vine. They are very heavy - looking forward to trying them :)

Noticed the Crown Princes in Waitrose today are not as big as mine, or as beautiful looking :) :)

Pulled up my butternut squash vine. It had about 20 babies on it - oh why oh why did it leave it so late to get going :( My baby squash that I've been nuturing managed to get to hand size - it's a similar size to the supermarket.

The courgettes are still producing, so I've left them in the ground for now - their leaves are looking past their best so I guess it won't be long before they also go the compost heap - which is exploding it's so big.

It must be hard work being a bean ... standing around all day doing nothing. Obviously my borlotties had had enough and had decided to have a little recline on the ground. It was impossible to get them upright again, so annoyingly I've had to harvest them all. Quite a lot are still green / immature. Sigh. I shall be trawling the net now for recipes - I think spicy beanburgers will be featuring on our menu next week ... yum !

I finally got around to using some more of the tomatoes - I've made a batch of tomato sauce and some soup. Still got 3-4 kilos to process ... am thinking tomato, mozarella & basil tart for tea :)

One of my other jobs that I was hoping to do was to start digging over some of the beds, but we've had a torrential downpour for most of the day, so there goes that plan LOL. I don't feel as dedicated as I once was - maybe I'm suffering allotment lethargy ! My lovely yellow wellies are getting plenty of use though.

My Allotment Association are applying for some funding via the You Choose programme - so if anyone from my site reads this blog, please please please support us by turning up to vote next Saturday (details on the poster on the gates). We're planning a display with pumpkins, newsletters, photos, scarecrows and lots of other 'allotmenty' bits.