Sunday, 15 August 2010

All Wight for Garlic

For our summer holiday this year we went to the Isle of Wight, and as previously blogged decided to visit the famous Garlic Farm there and purchase some garlic for growing at the allotment.

The farm itself is down quite a long narrow winding road, but when you arrive there it is certainly worth the bumpy road. There is a wonderful shop selling, as well as garlic, all sorts of produce, home made cakes, juices, jams etc. It really is well worth a visit.

I bought 2 varieties of garlic (purple wight and albisign wight - not the correct spelling I think!). I chose 1 bulb of each that was firm to the touch and not too much papery skin on the outsides.

All I need to do now is to store the garlic in a cool place for a few months and then plant it out when the time is right. I read somewhere that garlic likes a bit of a cold snap to kick start it into growth, so may end of October/beginning of November will see me on my knees planting it out.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Survive and Thrive

Great news! I am thrilled that in all of the bad weather we have had at the beginning of this year that my winter onions and garlic have not only survived but positively thrived. I have dug up about 60 onions of good size and about 40 garlic which are just as big, if not bigger, than the onions. Although the tops of the garlic have a green tinge to them, this doesn't matter as the tops are cut off anyway when preparing in cooking.

It is the first time I have ever grown garlic like this, and without a doubt we now have a full winter, or even year's supply hanging up in the greenhouse. We are going on holiday to the Isle of Wight this year so I think a visit to the Garlic Farm is on the itinerary so that I can choose some more garlic to plant this autumn.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Nature's Way

Nature seems to have a way of catching up on itself. In my January post I was getting a bit frustrated as seeds were taking an absolute age to germinate because of very cold wet weather. However most of them have now started to sprout, and some of them are definitely making up for lost time. The courgettes, although I only have 3 left out of 8, are about 4" high and look healthy and glossy. The tomatoes are too numerous to mention and are at present about 4" high, and leeks, squash and cucumbers all seem to be growing by the hour. The runner beans are also doing well and will be planted out next week (weather permitting). Let's hope that even though I am slightly later than usual with the planting out that there is plenty of produce throughout the summer, and who knows I might still be picking runner beans and courgettes in October. Let's see.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Running Around

Slightly warmer weather and more able to get to the allotment without getting absolutely saturated. One of the first things I have noticed is that my strawberry plants have increased themselves in a big way. I first bought 9 plants 2 years ago, last year they had increased themselves to 11, and now I can count at least 29! How about that for a surprise increase.

I decided that as I had so many I needed to move some to a larger spot. I prepared a suitable bed for them and manured it and left it for about 3-4 weeks.

Today I moved 20 plants to their new resting place (for the next 3 years) and the other 9 plants I have given away. They all look so healthy and some of them even have very small strawberries on them, so let's see if they produce another bumper crop this year and then increase some more.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Snow Joke

The snow has been playing havoc with my planting of seeds. My greenhouse is unheated at the moment and nothing seems to want to grow. I have loads of seeds that are ready and waiting to be planted, but to be quite honest until the weather perks up a bit I think it is a bit pointless planting them. I don't want them to rot so that they are wasted, so I'm playing the waiting game at the moment. I don't think I'm going to be too adventurous this year, I'm just going to grow some old favourites - potatoes, onions (red & white), courgette, runner beans, peas, sweetcorn, sprouts, parsnips, beetroot, carrot, leek, tomato and cucumber. Add to that the strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, rhubarb and Bramley apples I don't think I'm doing too badly!

Let's hope the temperature increases a bit soon.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Orange Squash

This year I have grown some squash plants for the first time. My neighbour above me gave me the seeds when he kindly rotivated my plot. They were planted in a line along the edge of the path and next to the potatoes. My neighbour even planted them for me, spacing them about 12" apart, and the idea is that they grow up and over the potatoes, thus using the space to its full potential.

They were quite slow growing at first and I lost most of them to the ever-present slugs and snails, but 2 plants survived and I have been nurturing them throughout the summer and autumn with the idea of having one of them at Christmas.

Well, here it is...

I used it in a very simple recipe, and it tasted delicious.

Peel and chop the squash and place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 30 mins until it is nicely glazed. 10 mins before the squash is ready, chop up 1 red onion and add to the baking tray.

Meanwhile, cook some rice, drain it and place in bowl together with the roasted squash and onion. Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and you're done. Easy isn't it?

There were so many seeds inside the first squash that I have done an experiment. I have washed and dried most of the seeds and I shall plant them in the early spring in individual pots and see what happens. Will keep you posted as to their (hopeful) success!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Leaf it at that

Last year my mum gave me half a dozen bags full of leaves that she had collected from her garden. I have left these rotting away in their bags in the hope that it will make nice leaf mould to spread on the raspberry bed this winter.

To be honest I had completely forgotten about these bags until yesterday and to my surprise inside all the bags is the most lovely rich moist leaf mould that I have ever been able to achieve. Normally it is just a horrible sludge and is a bit smelly.

The raspberry bed has been weeded and it now has a 3" thick coat of leaf mould to see it through the winter. This will nourish the ground and give the raspberries a good start for (hopefully) a bumper crop next year.