I know what you’re going to say. Isn’t it very late to be planting out seed potatoes? Especially first earlies? Especially an extra early variety such as Abbot?
You’re right, of course. But circumstances have conspired to keep us away from the plot: major works on the flat, snow, rain, Andrew’s condition, a kite flying weekend … Life, basically.
Our climbing French beans were such a hit last year, that we were definitely keen to sow them again.
They were relatively easy to grow, looked great, tasted great and were even better with the recipe we found for preserving them. What more could you ask for? More beans, of course!
Learning from last year
We decided to stick with exactly what we did last year – Suttons’ colourful climbing mix.
Apparently, 2018 is the year of the chilli. When we went to Glee, the trade show of the garden industry, last September, several companies were featuring them.
Here’s part of the Thompson & Morgan display at Glee which has what we thought was a well-designed heat indicator.
We thought we would take the opportunity to do our own mini trial of a few varieties of chilli to see how they perform.
Sowing the seed
Here’s Andrew in the greenhouse, explaining our trial and sowing the first seeds: Continue reading
Here’s a recipe I came across for preserving french beans. Although we didn’t plant a lot of climbing french beans, we thought we would invest some of our limited crop and try it out.
We used the pickling vinegar jars to preserve the beans
Having discovered this recipe just as I was harvesting what seemed to be the last of the bean crop, I got straight down to work and processed them quickly.
The recipe is so simple Continue reading
We were finally able to make it down to the greenhouse on the Easter weekend. But have our new tubers survived the long wait to be planted?
Major works at home kept us occupied for most of March. Not only that, snow and freezing temperatures made visiting the plot or the greenhouse even for a short while impossible. As a wheelchair user, Andrew can’t move around as readily as most of us, which means that his body temperature drops fast – something he’s not always aware of until it’s too late, which can make him very unwell.
And so the plants and tubers we ordered have had to wait – some survived better than others.
Last September, the Quest for Veg were invited to Glee – a show for the garden center trade.
Glee is the place where the garden industry comes together to launch its new ranges, latest innovations and next bestsellers. Over three days, 7,000 plus visitors come looking for the products that will fill the shelves of garden centres, high street stores and supermarket shelves in the season ahead.
We were invited as part of their bloggers publicity programme. Continue reading
All too soon we’re down to our last pumpkin. We grew Invincible, a variety with an unusual bluish flesh and a lovely creamy flavour.
Ok, so ours didn’t turn out as dramatically blue-grey as on the seed packet. They were more of a pale green. But the contrast with the orange flesh is very pretty.
We didn’t get a huge crop and were through our harvest before we knew it. So how best to savour the last one? We put the call out for suggestions on social media.
On Instagram, Katrina from the Homegrown Garden suggested a curry with chickpeas and green peas.
Meanwhile on Facebook, Don suggested a popular eastern Mediterranean dessert.
He suggested cutting the flesh into 1 inch dice, making a stock syrup with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to flavour, then poaching the cubes until the pumpkin is cooked. Leave the pumpkin to cool in the syrup, he advised, then drain and serve with natural yogurt, creme fresh or cream.
Then Darren from Allotment Notes told us on Twitter to ‘oven-roast that bad boy until the edges go all crispy and caramelised and then stuff it into your face until the juices run down your chin’.
We liked all of those suggestions. If only we’d asked while we had more pumpkins!
Perhaps it was Darren’s descriptive turn of phrase that persuaded us to try the roasted pumpkin route. We thought it would allow us to create a tasty supper that would put the pumpkin centre stage and allow us to show off the attractive contrasting skin.
You know how it is, you get a new shed and think you’ve just built a Tardis. Look at all that space, you say. Oh, the possibilities.
Perhaps you will put in two (maybe even three!) easy chairs and there you will sit, making tea and bacon rolls over a camping stove, admiring your beautifully manicured allotment.
Perhaps there will be a Welsh dresser (painted a heritage colour) behind you, a rug on the floor. Perhaps George Clarke will drop by to admire your handiwork over a chilled glass of something fizzy.
And then all of a sudden the shed is full of stuff. And not chairs and Welsh dressers, either. It’s all the stuff that didn’t previously have a home: rakes, hoes, bamboo canes, spades, my fork, our little draper cart.
It’s full of bags with potatoes because we finally dug them up since we now had somewhere to store them.
And then there are the plastic bags with all the sundries we’d either had to bring with us every time or hide in the compost bin. Plant pots, string, tubs of fertiliser, bottles of tomato food, hand tools. And it now takes five minutes to find my gardening gloves because I can never remember which bag they’re in.
Time to get organised!
Burns night, 25 January, is a celebration of the birth of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, songwriter and collector of traditional songs (1759-1796).
Celebrations usually include a meal of Haggis (a traditional Scottish dish), mashed potatoes (the tatties) and mashed swedes (neeps).
For a number of years we have invited friends and laid on a meal to mark the occasion. Thanks to our allotment, this year there was a colourful twist and an unusual addition.
The good folks at Thompson and Morgan have included our Quest for Veg blog on their own blog.
We’re thrilled to have been included in their feature, Blogs to inspire you to grow your own.