End of July update

After a week or so absence from the allotment, the second early potatoes look sad: they have blight though it hasn’t completely killed off the foliage. The spuds themselves look ok, a few holes and scab, though not as much mollusc damage than in previous years.

Having said that, molluscs have been a problem above ground – most of the french beans have been affected, though the early sowing has escaped total decimation: just a few holes in the leaves rather than chomped down to ground level. There are beans on them, but I might leave them for drying.

Only one runner bean has made it half-way up the canes, whereas on the neighbouring plot, have gone skywards and have even got harvestable beanpods on.

Broad beans have been a bit of a disaster this year what with all that chocolate spot – I saw one flower on two May sowings!

One oversize courgette as well as some beetroot, spuds and turnip accompanied the Sunday roast. Potatoes were nice – Early Rose, I believe. Another tasty variety this year was Witchills.

The squashes look pathetic, though the Crystal Lemon cucumbers look reasonable and have flowers on.

Back in the garden, while hanging out the washing, I spotted a snail. I picked it up by the shell to discover it was in the middle of laying eggs!  

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Harvest and more

Went to the plot earlier this week. Some things were ready to be picked. Harvested shallots and the onions – not as small as I thought they would be, but the shallots were almost the size of a “small” onion. I can grow shallots and garlic but the onions are a bit mediocre.
rooties
Also sowed some more things, pak choi, lettuce, radish and beetroot. I might be able to squeeze in a sowing of calabrese, probably in pots first alongside spring cabbages.
The runner beans are looking sad – they’ve hardly climbed up the poles. Neighbour’s plot has runner beans in flower. Slugs/snails have been a problem this year. They are now eating french bean leaves (no sign yet on the beans themselves), but have already started on a courgette.
courgette1
In the greenhouse, I’ve realised that the first tomato to turn colour wasn’t the first tomato to set.
ripeningtom
In the garden, well, mainly hiding amongst the currant bushes is a family of blackbirds.
littlebirdie2
I discovered them sunbathing near the Martock field beans, but didn’t want to scare them away so took the pictures through the window (which needs cleaning).
littlebirdie1
Drying food has been going well. The flavour of the dried food is intense. Will have a look at candying and perhaps coating things in yogurt.
driedfruitselection

Turning orange….

Just noticed a tomato turning colour: it is orange – the first of the season! Only one tomato though, others still as green as ever.

Elsewhere, slugs/snails have finally killed off all my heritage dwarf french beans. Grr. I won’t use slug pellets. I will resort to beer, though it is a bit late for this season. Also thinking about Nemaslug, though this would affect only young slugs – no good on snails and the big slugs.

Fruit – drying and other preserves

On Friday, OH overdid it at the supermarket reduced for clearance counter – he bought sharon fruit, papaya and star fruit to add to the mountains! of other fruit bought last week: kiwi fruit; apples; pears; (water)melons; mangoes; plums; peaches; apricots… Its a messy job peeling the fruits. Anyway, the papaya and mango look good. Halved peaches and plums join pears in looking bizarre when dried.

In the garden, last night after a rare! sunny day this summer, redcurrants (still loads left plus a late variety starting to ripen too) and gooseberries were picked (poor hubby). Currently planning to make gooseberry jam, redcurrant jam (again!) and a gooseberry and redcurrant jelly. The latter is simmering as I type. The gooseberry recipes are from a book I bought through Amazon – The Basic Basics – Jams, Preserves and Chutneys Handbook by Marguerite Patten.

These may sound like silly questions:

  •  What would be served with gooseberry (and redcurrant) jelly?
  • The jellies may be bases for sauces -what would they be poured over?   
  • Another gooseberry recipe I like the sound of is a chutney with sultanas and onions – what would that go with?
  • Chutneys in general – what do you use them with?

I welcome any comments with answers to the above questions.

Spoke to my mother today. Friday, she said to herself that the redcurrants looked good in her garden – the bushes were loaded. Saturday, she went down the garden and discovered that they had all gone! What remained was the strings. It isn’t convenient for her to put a fruit cage up. In past years, she has draped netting over but still the birdies get their pudding. We had netting up here in past years but a neighbour’s cat got through so the birds also discovered the holes so now the netting has been removed. This year, although the birds (mainly a family of blackbirds that like our garden) have had a few, there are still a lot left.

Rain, pears and tomatillos

Its raining again. I should buy myself some waterproofs some day so I can go to the allotment without getting wet.
There have been a couple of dry days. I ventured into the greenhouse. The geraniums look good as do the tomatoes, although they are still green (this time last year, was harvesting red tomatoes). There is at least one slug/snail in there as the tomatillo leaves have been snacked on. The yellow flowers are pretty.
tomatillo
On the drying front, watermelon and honeydew melon are being dried. The extra trays came earlier in the week. Yesterday, dried some pears which were halved but with the peel left on (peeling is optional). They look erm a bit erm strange…
driedpears1

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