Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Anyone want any beans......?

Okay, those of you who know more about these sort of things than I have been very kind in not sending me emails pointing and laughing at the 'measly' 2 pounds of beans I picked last week. Because this morning, dear reader, I filled a carrier bag with the blighters and weighed them when I got home - 4lbs 10oz or 2086 grams. Oh. Dear. Lord. Fortunately the lady who owns the horses where I go riding says she'll have some, and I can feed a family of 5 down the road (except they're off to Tenerife on Thursday for 2 weeks) but that still leaves me with far more than I need. The upside is that it would have cost me £13.45 to buy that many beans at Sainsburys, although I'd want sectioning if I did...

The freezer bit of my fridge/freezer is a couple of large drawers but it's not vast so I've been pondering the old-fashioned way of preserving foodstuffs, by bottling or, as they call it in America (even though it uses jars) 'canning'. Apparently, if done correctly, stuff in jars can last for up to 15 months just sitting on shelves in your pantry (if you're lucky enough to have one) or, as in my case, the garage. It's still a very popular way of buying vegetables on the Continent. I can remember being quite surprised the first time I visited relatives in Holland and seeing glass jars of carrots and peas that had been bought from the supermarket.

Apart from the ridiculous bean situation, what else is happening at the plopment? Well, I decided to pull up some carrots and was genuinely thrilled there was actually enough to eat. And because I hadn't thinned them, they've all grown around each other and sprouted extra limbs and just gone generally gnarly! You wouldn't find those in the supermarket! Apparently our site is quite bad for Carrot Root Fly so I'm just hoping that these haven't been affected. Since I planted these guys, way back in April, I've planted at least 50 more carrot seedlings each 2 or 3 inches away from its neighbour so hopefully I'll get 'proper' straight carrots a bit later on.

The monster cucumber just goes from strength to strength! I'm having to tie the plants further up the bamboo cane wigwam almost every time I go as they're starting to sprawl somewhat. There are plenty other little tiny cucumbers forming so I've got my fingers crossed that we actually get to eat some of them this summer.

I'm digging up more of my First Early potatoes - Pentland Javelin. I'm not sure I'll bother with them next year, the yield per plant doesn't seem to be particularly high, they don't really have a lot of flavour and they don't seem to like being cut into quarters and boiled very much - they fall apart too quickly and the skin comes off. So I'm a little disappointed, to be honest, but at least I know now for next year. I've still got Second Earlies - Maris Peer (or Piper, can't remember which!) and Main Crop Desirees so it's not as if I'm going to be lacking in spuds this year! Where the Pentland Javelins have come out, I'm putting in Winter Spinach seedlings, and I've still got Swiss Chard sprouting at home which can go in when the rest of the potatoes come out.

That's about it for now - the Swifts are still squealing wildly around my head and I've never seen so many Cabbage White butterflies in one place before, all signs that Mother Nature is doing her thang for which we all must be eternally grateful.

Till next time, this is Kaz signing off saying "be most excellent to each other".

1 comment:

  1. Hiya Kaz,
    The great bean problem eh? I bought this book called "What will I do with all those courgettes" but that won't help you!! I did however buy another one about preserving etc. which arrived today, so if you let me know what type of beans they are I can look them up for you and let you know if there are any sensible suggestions!
    I have started to clear 144 - a big job ahead but I have some help to hand by the Bramble Fairy at our site aka Derek. I am hoping to plant out the 72 pea plants I have in my coldframe.
    The allotment list of jobs to do seems never ending - don't you find that?
    Keep the blog updated as it's always fun to read.
    p.s. my carrots were smaller and more tangled than yours!! Still it's only our 1st year - alot of lessons to learn eh?


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