Saturday, June 23, 2007

Strawberry Success

Further to the post below regarding 'caramelised' strawberries here is a taste of what Sue can really do in the kitchen! Wonderful! (Will that do darling? Ed.)
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Friday, June 22, 2007

Peter & Marcia

(Uncle) Peter & Marcia came for a look at the lottie this afternoon. Peter is an allotment holder of long standing and currently has one near their home in Hayes, Middx. I laid two paving stones in the central path (path of shame as was) and we weeded the seedbed frame. Peter said it made him feel a lot better seeing loads of weeds everywhere. It's possible he was only joking, but it's more likely he wasn't. There's nothing like seeing a plot full of someone else's weeds to put a spring in the plotholder's step.
Actually I know that if they had had time Peter and Marcia would have got stuck in like nobody's business.

Peter can't bear the sight of all that convolvulus - Marcia is bravely pulling it up. Thanks Marcia!:-)

Peter has very high standards for appropriate Uncle behaviour in all circumstances. The allotment is no exception.
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Sorry Strawberries

What a sad sight! Sue 'dried' these in the oven overnight the other day. Not so much caramelised as carbonised.... However when they work out ok they are delicious. The flavour is so concentrated that if you put one on your tongue it tingles! I sprinkle them on granola in the winter months when every taste of summer is precious.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

3 Courgettes

I picked the first three courgettes of the year this afternoon:-)
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Weeds & Onions

Here is the onion bed after I had a good go at it this afternoon.

Here it is before I started.

And here are the onions on the old guinea pig run drying in the sunshine. (Actually it was only a 'sunny spell' and it has been raining since then ...)
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Weed, weed go away....

Here is the Asparagus bed after an unexpected bout of weeding this afternoon....

....and here it is before I started! Much better I'm sure you'll agree. The little weed with the dear little dainty yellow flowers is a right little you know what to get out. Can't remember what it is but I left it when it first appeared as it seemed so innocent - big mistake. Will look it up again and report back.
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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Super Sally!

Today I had a very welcome helping hand down at the allotment from my second cousin once removed (we think) Sally. She was very keen on the gooseberries, although they were rather too sharp for me.

Sally turned out to be a very keen picker, and as well as the strawberries she picked the first Loganberries of the year. Keen, efficient and cheerful - an asset on any allotment and very highly recommended as a house guest. After lunch she turned to me and asked "Are we allotmenting - I don't mind getting a bit of dirt under my nails!" I rest my case.

Meanwhile I harvested the overwintered garlic and laid it out in the greenhouse to dry. Before we left we dug a few of the first early potatoes Red Duke of York. All in all time very well spent. There was a Painted Lady on the Comfrey for a little while. Sally says that down Lincoln way it is all Red Admirals and Peacocks at the moment but we haven't seen either yet this year.
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Friday, June 15, 2007


All the rain we have been having over the last couple of days has really freshened things up. Sadly the wind has left quite a few things rather battered.

I dropped these off at Mum's yesterday evening. There are plenty more to come, by the look of it.
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Day of the Artichokes

Oh dear!!! Maybe I should have tied up both sides of the Artichokes!

They're coming to get me....

...that's better... I did something about this side...if a jobs worth doing, etc etc... I'll have a go at containment in the near future..... (possibly)
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cora waiting patiently in the rain.

Dad....can we go home now?
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I potted on some of the second sowing of Cosmos 'Candy Stripe' today. They are a wonderful flower. They went on right up until the frosts last year. These might look even fresher for a while later on when the others are beginning to look a bit tatty - that's the theory, anyway....

This is a bud on the mysterious Sultan's Turban with no latin name on the seed packet. These badly need potting on or planting out. They are much smaller than I thought they would be....maybe that's why....
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This Mallow is part of my resolution to have more flowers for butterflies & hoverflies etc at the allotment. It's still in the pot I bought it in at the moment but I am going to transfer it to a larger one soon.
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Tomato Update

I took the carpet off this bed today and dug it over ready for more tomatoes. There was quite a bit of bindweed to get out but after all the horsetail bindweed makes a refreshing change.

Here they are laid out ready like Uncle Peter recommended all those years ago...

....and here are the first lot in. I got 16 in today. Eight San Marzona at the end, then four Tigerella left over from the other bed, and four Llid which should be nice little yellow ones. I planted a couple of miserable looking squash plants from the greenhouse along the middle to avoid having to reach right to the middle to tend the tomato plants.(not shown - done later - raining).
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Elderflower Update

This is where the Elderflowers are coming from this year. Next to the 'car park' at the allotment. There are masses! I picked another 60 today ready for a double load and I've hardly even dented them!
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Jane Grigson's Parsley Tart

This recipe came from The Observer this weekend, in Nigel Slater's page. I made it yesterday and it has absolutely no allotment connection ecxcept that we ate it with Asparagus. I was so pleased with it I'm posting it anyway! I haven't made pastry
for ages. This recipe uses a little beaten egg instead of water to moisten the dough mix and I think it works!
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Elderflower Update

I decanted the Elderflower cordial this afternoon, and made Lemon with Elderflower Marmalade out of the lemons - very satisfying. There wer ethree lemons. I removed the pips, whizzed the lemons with the stick blender 'til they looked ok & put them in a pan with water to the level of the lemons. Simmered for a few minuted 'til the lemons were soft, then added the sugar, disolved & boiled for five minutes. That's all it took! Lisa came into the garden later & said "Hey Dad - that lemon stuff might taste quite nice..." Only two qualifiers -high praise indeed!
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'Usual' View 11 6 2007

Here is the 'usual ' view, taken just before I left this evening.

When I arrived it was clear it had bucketed down for a short while, even though the sun was shining resiliantly behind the trees. We had no rain at all in Ansdell, although Sue said it was pouring down in Preston a little earlier.

Apart from anything else (see below) I managed to pick another bowl of strawberries to carry home in triumph!
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