These are not my onions, some of mine were big but not as big as these grown by Brian. He bought some Japanese Onion sets this spring from leftover stock and put them in. They are six to eight inches across. I grew some overwintering onions that I purchased in Switzerland which did fairly well but I didn't lift them quickly enough after they matured and the rains came. Some had bolted and formed thick necks anyway so would have needed eating fairly quickly. I ended up having to clean up quite drastically removing outer layers and then I fried what was left, bagged them up and froze them for use in curries.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Whilst I was working in Switzerland I was friendly with a South African who now lives in Weymouth. From time to time he goes home to South Africa and brings back South African items with him. One time he brought me back a Kilo packet of dried Suga Beans. I was curious as to what the plant looked like and how it grew so I took a dozen beans and germinated them in thumb pots with a general compost. Ten germinated OK and were transferred to two and half inch pots to grow on. They were planted out at the start of June just before all the cold wet weather started. They seemed to be holding on OK and producing flowers but not doing much in the way of producing beans whilst the runner beans were producing bucketfuls.
In habit the plants looked very much like French bean plants but I wasn't sure whether they were a runner or a dwarf plant so I planted them next to bean poles to climb up. They are only just producing growth that looks as though it might start to run up the poles. There are white flowers and some beans have grown, just enough for a meal. They taste OK raw but I prefer the taste of runner beans raw. The pods are about the length of a marker pen and seem to me to be very much like French Beans. I'll try some again next year and see if I get similar results.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Spinach has been a bumper crop this year with massive juicy leaves. We have fed some nearly every day to the guinea pigs and now whenever they hear me in the vicinity of the cage they start whistling, hoping that I have brought them something green. In our own cooking we have done several Sag Aloo curries (Spinach and Potato) and used the spinach in stir fries. In both cases we we just wash and chop the spinach toss it into the dish and when it has wilted a little the dish is taken to be ready.
Monday, August 13, 2007
The runner beans are doing well with masses of flowers we have had a good crop of runners from an earlier planting elsewhere on the plot. I have also planted some South African Suga Beans given to me by a friend after he had been home to SA for a visit. The plants have grown well and seem to be flowering well now but so far only one bean on the plants. As I didn't know whether they were of a climbing or a dwarf nature I planted them next to runner beans so they could run up them if needed. So far they seem to have a dwarf nature and have not climbed at all.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Celeriac is coming on well at the moment, the bulbous roots are starting to form now and are about an inch across. I am giving them a feed every day with comfrey tea as well as giving them a good watering most days. The leeks in the next row are also getting the same treatment with the comfrey tea and watering daily.
The alternative name of "turnip rooted celery does not really do justice to to Celeriac which in my opinion is a wonderful vegetable. One of my favourite uses of Celeriac is to grate it raw and mix it with plain yoghurt or quark to serve with a salad. I also use it grated into currys and casseroles to add body and flavour. I have also seen it served in boiled chunks like turnip but that is probably the most boring use of it.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Now here is a family that really intend to get to grips with their allotment. Laid out in four beds after stripping off the top with a mechanical digger, edging the plot with wood and laying hardcore for the paths. Do you get the feeling there is a lanscape gardener at work here? You would be right.
Some of the other plots have not fared so well in their reclamation.
Black sheeting has been laid here and left to kill off the weeds underneath. The persistence of thistles probably was not bargained for . Along the joint of two strips of the black polythene thistles have lifted the overlap to let in the light and the thistles have grown on fairly strongly. However, it is better progress than the patch where the thistles have been left to take over again.
Friday, August 10, 2007
One advantage of the wild patch in the allotments is the presence of brambles (blackberry) which have fruited in a prolific manner this year. I have done a couple of pickings and made about ten pounds of jam so far. The aroma of bramble jam in our kitchen has been wonderful. The wild patch has also provided refuge for a variety of birds. There is a family of goldfinch and I often see four or five of them at once. Also in evidence down there are blackbirds, thrush, greefinch, sparrows and although we have heard a woodpecker tapping nobody has yet seen the bird.