Thursday, 20 August 2015

The view from 39a

Lazy, hazy summer on the allotment

I had an unexpected long weekend at home this weekend (long story), Friday was a washout as it rained most of the day but for me that's perfect as I pottered about the house getting all of those jobs I've been meaning to do for ages sorted.  Saturday, Sunday and Monday however were beautiful and sunny so we spent some serious time on the plot.

I haven't grown sunflowers for a couple of years which is such a mistake as I love them!  The first year we had our plot we planted loads for our wedding and they looked amazing I really enjoyed growing them but they seemed like a luxury plant in comparison to all the fruit and veg we wanted to cram onto the plot.  Mistake!  They do a great job of attracting pollinating insects and I love looking at them so how is that just luxury?

The ongoing saga of the woman who took over the other half of our plot but has done nothing with it is almost at an end, she has had her letter of warning and we've had confirmation that if she doesn't pull her finger out we can have the other half back.  If/when we get it I'm going to grow so many flowers to attract the bees and add some colour to our plot!

Speaking of colour...

Look at these tomatoes!  I love that on one vine you have a fruit at every stage of ripening, the smell of tomato plants isn't rivalled on the plot and to me it just equals the smell of summer.  I am delighted to confirm that the variety of tomato Sam has decided to specialise in (we lost the label so don't actually know what it is so have to save seeds at the end of each season for next year) is really tasty and plentiful.  I ran out of boxes to hold the harvest and had to carry this bunch home in my t-shirt, nice.


Over the years we've had rubbish luck with growing peppers, whilst other occupants of the polytunnel have boasted massive fruits and plenty of them we've always struggled to get our plants past flowering into fruiting stage.  This year however we seem to have done well, we kept our plants on the inside of the raised bed nearest the 'wall' of the polytunnel away from the walkway and draft of the doors, they seem to like it and have started to produce these:

Butternut squashes are loving it in the tunnel as well this year with this beast making an appearance (even though it doesn't look that big in this photo, it's epic I can't wait for it to ripen up and get it in the oven). 

Cooking up a storm?

With all the veg finally ready to pick it means our kitchen is constantly fired up, this week I made spicy passata and runner bean chutney, the chutney needs some tweaking as it's a bit vinegary at the moment but I might add some cauliflower or courgette to tone it down a bit.  

If the weather holds out we'll try for another weekend on the plot this coming weekend I'd like to make a start on a path going down what is currently the border of our plot and our neighbours but if she gives it up it'll be down the centre which will be great as it will avoid us compacting soil we want to grow stuff in.

Anyone got any suggestions for stuff to make?  In particular how to preserve courgettes, any suggestions welcome!

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