Little Helper

I escaped to the coast for most of the bank holiday to get some essential swimming prep under my belt, but today I was free to catch up on some much needed admin on the plot. All the spuds have been dug and bagged, the mid summer peas have been ripped up and the gasping tomatoes were watered.

The outdoor tomatoes have been decimated by blight but I haven’t dealt with them yet because I’m not sure what to do. Ideally I’d burn them but my arson skills are limited and I have a whopping great mound of blight invested potatoes haulms to deal with first.

New Gardener

I had a little helper on the plot today. He watered my spinach and kohl rabi and then emptied my sack of spuds as I tried to fill it. I boiled up a delightful cob of corn but he wasn’t interested and opted instead for a couple of yellow french beans and a load of shelled peas.

It feels great to share real food with little kids, so many people in cities haven’t a flipping clue where food comes from or what it looks like. This one now knows the joy of a freshly podded pea.

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Aroma of Vinegar

9th August Harvest

I think I wasted my time this morning lighting a new stick of patchouli and lemon incense. The mornings trip to the lotty resulted in a monstrous glut that could only mean an afternoon spent preparing chutney and a house oozing the homely charm of hot spicy vinegar.

There are a couple of cauliflowers in that shot but I’ve deliberately avoided a close up of them. I think cauliflowers are designed to be picked the moment you spot them, flush with their juvenile tight white heads. I was a little greedy and hoped for huge curds to rival my dads. I chopped a stray outer leaf off to protect from the sun and left for another couple of weeks to swell. Inevitably the severed leaf rotted and formed an ideal pied-a-terre for numerous detritivores which did their best to make me weep.

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I’m not wasting them though, deep cleaning with a tooth brush and a heavy handed shave, left the heads in good enough nick to form the basis of a piccalilli chutney.

I’ve doctored the recipe from Greenforks who made a far more appealing looking sauce than me but then Waitrose had run out of turmeric powder – there has obviously been a run on piccalilli making.

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Gardeners Question Time

I haven’t been down to the plot for a few days so there was a good quantity of produce waiting for my arrival:

6th August Harvest

Doesn’t that look delicious? In addition I filled a canvas sack with more beans and a stack of chard but it didn’t look quite so photogenic.

Laptop Lunch - No 10

I’m going to make herbed summer squash and potato torte, a recipe that came from SmittenKitten, the best food blog I have come across so far. Honestly, you should take a look, it’s left me excited about cooking. I’ve made the irresistible lime meltaways already (see todays lunch) and will be trying out the chocolate hazelnut biscotti just as soon as my new food mixer arrives.

But I’m digressing, here are the questions:

Is this ready to pick?

Aubergine

It’s an aubergine obviously, and I’m sure you’ll want to know the variety but I forgot to look at the seed pack, in fact I’m not sure the seed pack still exists. Shakti insists it’s one of those especially special thin and delicious aubergines that I have never heard of, but I suspect she just wants me to start picking them so she can have one. I was expecting them to swell to mammoth proportions at some point. Anybody got any views on aubergines?

Final question is, what is this?

Stray Squash

This is a massive plant that has self-seeded in the entrance to my green house and is doing a fine job of blocking my access. I let it grow out of curiosity and now it has turned into my most productive squash. Trouble is, I don’t know what it is. I’m wondering if it might be butternut squash as I had plenty of seeds kicking around and it is shaped correctly even if it is the wrong colour.

Anyone know if butternuts start off green, or is it a summer squash that needs to be devoured right now?

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Potato Quartet

Potato Quartet

My Dad has been hoping to use me as a blight early warning station, assuming that I’d be hit before the spores were carried northward in the breeze, but as it turned out he was able to alert me first. The fungal foray started in Yorkshire.

To be on the safe side I’ve dug up most of my remaining rows of spuds and bagged them up in hessian sacks.

From front to back we have, King Edwards, Maris Peer, Kerrs Pink and Charlotte.

The King Edwards are terribly scabby so I might not plant them again next year, although I will do a soil test first to see if I need to increase the acidity levels in my trenches. The Charlottes were the most successful, blemish free and delicious but both of the others are tasty too.

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Month in Pictures – July

Blimey, July is a busy month.

I’ve been on the plot almost every day and yet don’t seem to have done anything constructive. The time is taken up by watering and picking crops (not that I’m complaining), with precious little time for making any last minute sowings.

Month in Pictures - July 2008

I haven’t had much time for blogging recently so there are a few new photos in the montage.

The greenhouse has worked wonders and I’m now pulling out bucket loads of the most delicious tomatoes, a handful of chillies each week and the promise of some juicy aubergines.

Outside the courgettes have just, in the final days of July, started to put on a little growth spurt and I’m reassured that there will soon be a glut. The cabbages are so tasty but my labeling discipline has been slack and I don’t know what variety they are. The runner beans are cropping so well now that the bean construction is threatening to collapse and I’m delighted to announce the appearance of two micro-caullis.

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