Cold Birthday Drinks

Shed Beer Fridge

I was intrigued yesterday to see a recipe for a shed beer fridge in Allotment Growing Diary Plus, and as it’s my birthday today I thought it was a fine excuse for enjoying cold beer on the plot.

The idea is that the terracotta pot cools following evaporation of the absorbed water.

It certainly seemed to work, within an hour the pot was very cool but I made the mistake of starting with warm beer. I was too impatient to wait for the full process had to make do with coolish, luke warm beer.

I’ve left a couple of beers in there and topped the tray up before I left so we’ll see how long it works for. Maybe there will be an icy beer waiting for me after work tomorrow.

And here’s a gratuitous flower picture. I’m so happy with these dahlias, I grew them from seed and never imagined they’d be so successful.


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Soggy July Evening

It’s been pouring with rain fairly solidly for last 3 days but perversely I had to go down to the plot this evening to do some watering. That’s the trouble of having some crops under cover.


The plot looked satisfyingly lush and the seed heads were majestic.

I left absolutely soaked but satisfied with my first picking of tomatoes and a healthy bag of runner beans.

Rainy July Evening

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Pickled Nasturtium Seeds

Nasturtium rain drops

A long time ago I read somewhere that nasturtium seeds can be pickled and used as a replacement caper. I love capers but don’t feel so upbeat about the price of the tiny little jars so I’ve been wanting to try out this cheapskate trick for ages.

I’ve got a few plants started in the front room nursery and have just scattered a few more seeds around the plot today. Nasturtiums are a really useful plant, they are beautifully gaudy, attract blackfly like you wouldn’t believe – thereby saving the broad beans from suffocation by the black beasties and the leaves add a peppery pungent taste to salads. If the pickling trick works, nasturtiums could easily make it into my top 5 desirable plant list.

Here’s the recipe I’m going to try:

Collect as many green nasturtium seeds as you can muster – you pick these after the flowers have dropped but before they dry out, soak them overnight in a salty brine and then drop them into the boiled and cooled pickling concoction. I’ll keep these in jars and shove them in the fridge but may update the recipe and storage instructions once I learn some pickling techniques.

1 mug white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 small onion, thinly sliced
A few slices of lemon
1 bay leaf
Pinch of mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic
6 peppercorns

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Beauty with Decay


I love these anenomes.

They are such gaudy, brash, little prima madonnas but they hold their tacky beauty to the bitter end. Even when the petals drop, I feel tempted to leave the dried out remains on the table top.

Unfortunately the pictured flowers came from M&S and not my plot. I’ve scattered the anenome de caen bulbs all around my allotment but the growth so far looks a bit limp. I’ve never had success with these bulbs, the growth has always been half-hearted and any flowers that develop are devoured by black fly.

Has anyone out there had success with the flowers? What is the secret to nurturing a fine and dandy anemone plant? I’m suspecting growth hormone.

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