As some of you may know my hubby started radiotherapy on Boxing day after quite invasive surgery on his mouth. The last ten months have been difficult and I suspect will be in their various challenging ways for the months to come. This is one of the reasons for my radio silence over the last few months. I haven’t felt able to witter on about seemingly unimportant things while my lovely hubby has been going through the wars. However his surgeon and oncologist remain positive, even though hubby has all sorts of very alarming conditions on what seems to be an almost daily basis and so it is I have considered that now is the time to carry on my witterings about the life I love, the last ten months have been far too grown up for me.
And so we turn to the allotment, well I have to tell you my loyal set of readers that the allotment this year is… Magnificent. Seriously, it’s just Magnificent. The idea of the paper pots filled with compost and then a couple of seeds of the root vegetables beetroot and parsnip, which were then thinned to one single plant has come up trumps. We are now enjoying tennis balled sized beetroots, this early in the season that have such a delicate taste that we are both giddy with delight. Beetroot normally taste to me at least quite earthy. I don’t mind this, it is just part of their complex flavour profile, but these that have been grown in compost and their root is still firmly in the middle of their tiny pot of compost have such a clean and vibrant flavour it is quite remarkable. We have still to find out how the parsnips have coped with such a method. Their leafy tops are the best we have ever had, but I fear that because they are a long root that this method will have easily stumped them. But we are not growing for the show bench, we are growing for the pot, so if we have stumpy fat parsnips for the kitchen then so be it. It is far better than no parsnips at all which is what has happened for the last few years, with their slow germination and almost impossible to see where they have germinated through the ever invading tiny weeds that have sprouted.
The courgettes are now starting to grow, I will soon be in the middle of preparing for the freezer and making delicious courgette chutneys again. We have had a very generous amount of mange tout, I am hoping to pick some peas in the next day or so, we have had pounds of strawberries and many, many globe artichokes. We picked the rhubarb this year for the first time and I have made pots and pots of rhubarb, strawberry and orange jam, which is absolutely delicious.
The blackcurrants, redcurrants, blue berries and blackberries are ripening. I have discovered that the mystery tree is indeed a cherry and I can now find out how to prune it. The broad beans are as strong as they are tall, which is nearly four feet and I am looking forward to many broad beans in my future. The corn looks strong and the pumpkins are galloping along. The brassicas which were washed out last year, which was so upsetting are doing well, we have had the delicious brokali, a cross between broccoli and kale, which is a very vigorous grower and in the next day or so will be enjoying the first heads of the true broccoli. The tomatoes are just about to produce their first ruby red offering and we have eaten many delicious cucumbers along with little gem lettuces. Failures are only one so far, Chinese cabbage, which did so well in all that rain last year, has bolted. It has had water every day, so this is not the vegetable for us. We are waiting for the new potatoes to finish flowering, so another couple of weeks for those.
Already thoughts turn to next year and always with my ear to the ground I was alerted to Wilko’s half price flower and vegetable seed sale. I missed it last year so was very pleased to be able to spring into action and pounce at just the right time. We have enough seeds to fill an allotment and are only missing some of the key elements which will be readily filled by the allotment seed catalogue later in the year.
In other news, I started a herb garden this year to have by my kitchen door. Having found that it is all very well to have lovely fresh herbs at the allotment but often as not I have forgotten to bring a bunch of sage, rosemary or mint home with me and then may well rely on an earlier dried version. The plot will still give me a large amount for drying.
We have ten herbs here, some soft which will need replacing next year and some hardy, all apart from the rosemary plants whose seed failed grown by me. Rosemary, Basil, Coriander, Spearmint, Sage, Parsley, Chives, Garlic Chives, Dill and Thyme. I used Budget Seeds for my herb bed adventure. I have always felt it quite ridiculous to buy herb seeds that have 400 or a 1000 for well over the £2.00 per packet, I am not going into business, selling herb plants! So when I came upon this company I was very pleased. Mostly they are 29p a packet, so this whole venture, combined with old terracotta pots, two wooden planters from an Amazon find and some compost has not cost much money. I will definitely be looking through their stock again for next year.
Well that is me, catch you next time.