Since our last blog, we have both been fighting one of those stinky autumn colds, and unable to work on our plot. So last weekend, although it was very cold, the weather was dry enough for a wee visit to the plot. We fully expected to find everything overgrown and in a bad state.
Apart from our poor leek patch, that has been adopted by our local fox as a daytime lounge area,
Poor leeks all flattened and chewed
everything else was much better than expected. Continue reading
It has taken us longer to get to this stage than we thought when we first took on the plot. But we are now the proud owners of a customised Topwood Robin shed.
Our new shed
We need to give a big shout out to Sandra’s mum, for a generous birthday present donation to the Quest for Veg project. And to our good friends Richard Anderson and Keith Boxall who immediately and enthusiastically volunteered to help build it. One’s a landscaper and the other’s an engineer, so it’s probably one of the best put together sheds going!
We didn’t intend to take August off. It just sort of happened.
One of the things we do when we’re not on the plot is kite flying. We design, build and make kites. At the beginning of August we had three kite festivals in a row. I had thought we might be able to keep up with our plot and the blog in between but there was just too much to do. Continue reading
Take two courgettes- how big will depend how hungry you are. I used a variety we grew “Zephyr”.
Almost without trying, we grew some beetroot. We bought a packet of Unwins Gourmet Mix from the garden centre, sprinkled them into the soil and, apart from a bit of watering, pretty much left them to it.
And look what they produced: stunning colourful orbs that tasted as good as they looked.
Their characteristic earthy flavour had a delicious sweetness. We immediately grated one of the white ones raw into a salad. Wonderful!
As well as planting potatoes directly into the soil, we grew some in potato bags that Andrew made. We wanted to compare the yields from direct- and bag-planted spuds.
Here’s how we got on:
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A patty pan seedling with its stem eaten through
We’ve mentioned previously that we have a big problem with slugs and snails on the Quest for Veg allotment plot.
A few weeks ago we planted out the climbing beans we had been nurturing in the greenhouse only to return to the plot and find that the whole lot had been devastated overnight. Their leaves had gone and the stems had been stripped.
Our beans were stripped overnight
How do you know when its time to harvest potatoes? The general rule of thumb for first early potatoes seems to be that you start digging once the plants have flowered.
Well the first potatoes we put in – Red Duke of York – flowered some time ago. Could it be that they are ready to harvest?
We were intrigued when we spotted a packet of cucamelon seeds in the garden centre. But I have to admit that it was the invitation to “explore their cocktail-enhancing prowess” that really piqued our interest.
The cucamelon seeds were in the Suttons/James Wong collection. From what we could gather, they look like tiny watermelons, are harvested when they are the size of grapes and have a flavour that is like cucumber with a citrus edge to it. They can be used in salads and can also be pickled (as well as adding flavour to cocktails!).
Most of our cucamelons still look like this and are only millimetres long
We had seen tiny fruits forming and I thought it would be some time before we got to taste them.
So, we were super-surprised to find two that were about the size of grapes and looked ready to harvest.
What do they taste like?
Cucumbers. Very firm and crunchy cucumbers.
They have a very subtle citrus edge to them but it is subtle. The taste may develop over the season but, for this first picking, the overwhelming impression is of cucumbers.
I can imagine that they would be a great addition to a gin and tonic, particularly with the sort of gin that you would add cucumber to (such as Hendricks). That is certainly something I plan to try once we start harvesting a few more fruits!
It’s hard to believe this is month six on the Quest for Veg plot. We’ve come a long way from the overgrown and neglected site we took on at the beginning of the year.