Monday, 14 September 2009

Pictures, as promised, again

So before the sad pictures of the allotment, I thought I'd show you the fruits of my labours:

Onions in a net, hopefully they'll last several months. I still have about another 100 drying in the shed at the allotment but they are really quite weeny, not much bigger than pickled onion size but, hey, they're better than nothing.

These are the jars of sweet pickled beetroot, sweet pickled dill pickles and jam.

Blackberry Vodka

I am, though, really looking forward to sampling some of these but, unfortunately, not for at least another year. Blackberry vodka is pathetically easy to make but you have to remember to shake the bottles once a week to ensure something-or-other (that the sugar's dissolved properly or summink...) and after three months you have to filter out the blackberries. Apparently they develop a woody taste if you leave them in whereas raspberries can be left in. Whatever. The worst part is that you then have to leave it for a further year to mature! What torture!

So, then, now let's head off to the allotment - I'll warn you, it's not a pretty sight. Everything's now gone over and is looking very shabby indeed.

Cucumber/Gherkin Wigwam

This is one of my three cucumber/gherkin wigwams. I am now totally cucumber/gherkinned out, we've eaten as much as we want and I've preserved all that I'm going to so these are just going to go into the compost bin. I've had absolutely no problem growing them outside so will continue to do so.

Crystal Lemon Cucumber

This year I tried growing Crystal Lemon cucumbers. They were difficult to germinate and I only managed to get about 3 plants after planting many more seeds. So far the three plants have only produced one round yellow cucumber (see above). It's now in my fridge waiting to be consumed. Whether I grow any next year will depend on what it tastes like, but I'll keep you posted on that.

Butternut Squash

These are my two sole Butternut Squashes. I bought two plants at Chiddingfold Festival earlier this year (because I couldn't germinate any of the seeds I bought) and they've grown reasonably well, put out quite a lot of flowers but only two of them developed any further. No matter, it was an experiment - two squashes is enough for us this time round.

Patty Pan Squash

The White Scalloped Summer Squash (a.k.a. Patty Pan Squash) have been really quite successful. We've had about half a dozen from the three plants that I grew from seed. They can grow as large as a dinner plate if you leave them, but this one is about 5 inches/13 cms across so we'll eat it quite soon, stuffed with fried bacon, onions and parmesan, served with baked beans - yummy! There are two more little ones still developing:

There are plenty more flowers still there so I think I'll leave the plants there to keep producing for as long as they want.

The courgettes have, of course, been prolific and we've had plenty of them of various sizes during the summer. There are a couple that I'm leaving to grow into marrows as I'm going to have a go at making Marrow Rum as it sounds quite interesting. Might be disgusting though, but let's experiment, shall we?!?

A very large courgette/small marrow

The Sweetcorn is now looking very sad indeed and I really should do a proper harvest. I didn't grow quite as many plants this year as last as last year I was getting 2 good-sized cobs per plant and we didn't eat them all. Of course, typically enough, this year I grew less but I'm only getting 1 decent cob per plant! Oh well, that's the mystery of Mother Nature....

Sad looking Sweetcorn plants

I'm still digging up Desiree maincrop potatoes. The ones I dug earlier were quite small and pretty badly hit by scab which looks nasty but doesn't affect the eating quality once you've peeled them. The ones I'm harvesting now aren't so badly scabbed and are really big, so I'm quite thrilled. I've still got half a row left in the ground, storing there until I'm ready to use them.

Desiree spuds - these came from just one plant

There are still carrots, beetroot, chard and parsnips in the ground, so there's plenty of stuff still about.

This year I also planted a nectar bar of flowers for the bees in front of the shed. There are lavender, sedum, foxgloves, geranium, asters and cosmos.

But down the side of the shed there grew a self-seeded Thistle plant which I decided to leave for the benefit of the bees:

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