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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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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Going Hungry

Pea Sticks

I gave myself a day off the running so I could enjoy another leisurely session on the plot. I carried on where I left off yesterday and weeded most of the remaining beds. The peas are getting a bit lanky as well so I stuck some titchy sticks in to keep them on the straight and narrow til the weather becomes more stable and I can remove the mesh cover. There were quite a few empty stations where the peas either didn’t germinate or were swiped by meeces so I popped in a few spare seeds, hopefully they’ll come along soon enough and pad out the row.

Before I came down to the allotment this morning, I passed by Shakti’s for breakfast. She posed the question “If we ran out of money tomorrow, what would we live off from your plot?” About 3 months ago she sowed the pea seeds that I supported above and can’t quite believe that we aren’t eating fresh garden peas yet. I don’t thinks she’s altogether too impressed with the DIY food malarkey, life is just a little more instantaneous down at Tescos.

Hardly Self Sufficient

On arrival I surveyed the crops with a hungry mind but was somewhat disillusioned. I think the only currently edible produce is cabbage and some other critter already seems to have eaten way more than I will ever get to enjoy. Don’t these look like a pitiful bunch?

So in answer to the question, I think we would survive for about a week on limp cabbage leaf. Life would then get tough unless I could find an inspiring recipe for roasted bind weed and couch grass roots. I’ve got enough of those to keep us cooking on gas til the peas start cropping!

Todays sowing

More seeds went in today as well, I’ve sown half a row of carrots – early nantes that came free with “Grow It” magazine and a full row of parsnips. Both have gone in the space I cleared yesterday by removing the salad leaves.

I’ve also started a batch of aubergine and tomato seeds in individual modules. My flat is no go zone for anything green, within 24 hrs every living form of plant life collapses in an irradiated heap. Quite concerning but I seem to cope unscathed. Anyway, the seeds need to live somewhere warmer and brighter than the shed, but safer than my flat so I’ve sent them to germinate at Shakti’s house. She accepted them willingly so I’ll see what other delicate little seedlings I can pass into her care. She’ll soon discover the joys of DIY food growing.

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