Saturday, 30 November 2013

onions not storing well

A lot of my onions are going mouldy around the tops, particularly the Bedfordshire Champion which grew so well. It is quite disappointing.

I have heard that insufficient drying before storage can cause this, so I wonder if in future It would be better to store them in the attic, where it is a lot drier, rather than in the garage, where it is colder and probably damper.

To try and save as much as I can I have sliced and dehydrated all the good bits of the mouldy ones

 And I will be moving the remainder up to the attic.

I picked some of the biggest apples and I will freeze some and dry some and put some in the loft. (I just hope we don't get anybody coming to sleep over anytime soon)

Friday, 22 November 2013

jonagolds ripe, last Moorbank visit.

Lots and lots of rain over the last couple of days so the plot was pretty squishy.  I haven't been for almost a week, but everything seems to have managed to struggle through okay.

The red apples Jonagold are ripe at last but the pippin-type ones are still reluctant to part from their twigs.

It was my last day at Moorbank Botanic Garden.  The volunteers are not allowed on site after the end of this month.  The Freemen say they will continue to maintain the garden but feel they do not need any help from outsiders.  There was no point in doing any weeding as everything was far too wet.  So we were tidying the greenhouses after lots of plants have been dug up to go to various botanic gardens across the country.  Many of the remaining plants have been cut back hard to help get them through the winter and possible irregularities in climate and watering.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

We ate Bobbie

We ate Bobbie this week and very nice he was too...

I cut him in half, lengthways (not without a struggle, pretty tough skin!) and roasted him cut sides down in a bit of water, for an hour. It was so big it was only part cooked, but that was okay.  I hollowed out one half and used the hairy bikers stuffed marrow recipe, one half was enough for dinner for the three of us.
[Incidentally, I think Bobbie must have been crossed with a spaghetti squash because the cooked flesh had a definite tendency to shred in the same way and I know there are a few green spaghetti squash varieties.]
The other half was made into a huge pan of very tasty soup.  I added some curry powder as usual, but because there was so much flesh the flavour seemed to get lost, so I added a teaspoonful of curry paste and it worked very well. There was just enough to give it the flavour of curry without the heat (we are a bit chilli allergic in our house).

This is the squashes we have left so far
Left to right; Billie Butternut, Spaghetti Sal and the Sweet Dumpling crew.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

pallet travels

The crabapple tree around the corner

It was a lovely clear, cold, bright day as you can see by the above, too nice to spoil with a smoky fire.

With lots of puffs and pants and several little rests, I managed to "roll" a pallet from the bottom of the allotment site to the top.  It is now installed as the end wall of a triple compost bin and I have removed that annoying "dalek" which fell apart at the slightest touch.  Its sides will make fronts and covers for the bins when they fill up.

We are looking all tidy 

Turned over the old onion bed that I sowed the peas in.  That is three beds with green manure turned in to let the winter frosts get at it. Just the runner bean bed left to do.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

a lovely autumn afternoon

No, there hasn't been a tornado during the night, it is just the runner bean bed denuded of runner beans and frame, the bin lying on its side is only there for atmosphere.(Not true, it is really keeping 2 of my prize bags of mpc dryish inside, I wasn't strong enough to put it back upright once they were in)

 The lasagne bed. It will have another layer eventually, or I will cover it with a sheet over winter, whichever is the sooner.

  The apples are looking good, a kind of pippin I think, but they are still clinging on.  It is worth while waiting till they are properly ripe though, as the difference in flavour in the last few days is amazing. I've been on this plot for three summers now and this is the best crop of apples so far, not in quantity but in flavour and size.

The tomatilloes are finished, and as you might guess by the fruits lying around, I didn't like them all that much, but it was an interesting trial. They produced well, didn't need a greenhouse, and if you like salsa verde it is probably worth growing them.

I was busy, head down, scraping weedlings off the astroturf and looked up to see this...

 Time to go home...

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bean frame down, celeriac up

Dug up the celeriac, and a sorry crew they are too...
Let's hope they are as flavour packed as last year's, to make up for their lack of size.

The bed where the celeriac was is very wet and really would be a candidate for a raised bed, but I have no planks so it will have to wait.  I weeded the bed as best I could in the mud, put some big pieces of cardboard on the top, then piled all the old beanstalks and cosmos stalks on the top to make a lasagne type bed.  I'm trying to build up the soil level a bit to lift it out of the mire.

I took the runner bean frame down, and I seem to have an awful lot of canes all of a sudden, so I had to find a home for them to overwinter in.

Had another mini bonfire, but it went out.  I just haven't got the hang of this bonfire business.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Bonfire time

 Oh, joy! It's kippering time!
 I got rid of lots of twiggy stuff from around the plot in the fire, still more to go but the fire went out before I was finished.  It was getting cold anyway.

There was a sharp frost again last night and it has taken its toll on the remaining plants.  The runners are ready to take down now and I will have to dig up the celeriac and beetroot in the next few days.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

First frost

Yesterday, I picked most of the remaining runner beans.  I saved the longest, fullest, straightest pods and they are ripening in the greenhouse.  I will use them for seed next year.  The rest were shelled and we have steamed and eaten most of them already and some went into the soup.

I have ordered some Czar butter beans, for next year.

Very cold this morning, a low of 3C last night, but from the look of the nasturtiums there was a light frost at the plot last night, their leaves have gone very droopy.

The autumn skip is here so I spent some time trying