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Allotment /Veg patch thread 4 "Lettuce and Peppers and Pears OH MY!"

(1000 Posts)
agoodbook Thu 30-Jul-15 22:25:06

as per Cupcakes smile
come and join in the harvest !

previous thread here

DoreenLethal Thu 30-Jul-15 23:07:32

Phew - the old one never loads after 900 posts on my mini ipad so not been in there for a while.

Linskibinski Fri 31-Jul-15 00:19:19

Signing in! stolen fruit is an outrage frankly, on my plot it is considered an absolute sin to enter a plot uninvited. I'm so sorry to all. sad Netting sounds like a good plan.
I have finally been invited on to one plot that is owned by the plot matriarch <proud>grin and now suddenly everyone is chatting to me. It's lovely. I have clearly passed some kind of test? Tonight I collected my new <ish> greenhouse! Hurray! For the price of a bottle of gin I now have a lovely 6 x 6 ft greenhouse. I am also pleased to report it took us just 1 hr and a half to photograph, mark up, remove all glass and unbolt into 5 separate pieces and load onto the van. Only one pane of glass was broken and only slightly in one corner so still useable! I am so pleased and very grateful. Chap also gave me a 2nd year Rubarb plant which he dug up for me, a load of pots, some staging and some patio chairs. What a nice thing to do for a complete stranger. We dropped it all at the plot and I dug up some shallots and some raspberries which I gave to dbil and dsis who were my helpers. My turnip and swede seedlings are coming up a storm and my peas are starting to plump up. It's all so scruffy still it is driving me crazy! next plan is to chop up all the old dumped wood and burn it saving the wood ash for the beds. Then a shed to hide my rubbish in! grin

minkGrundy Fri 31-Jul-15 00:35:27

Brief visit to allotment. Half a carrier bag of blackcurrant, josta berries, gooseberrie, an artichoke, peas, mange tout and broad beans.

And finally my caulis, which had no heads last week, finally. Took one home for tea.

Then spent hoyrs cooking, prepping, wasging, freezing, jamming, saucing and baking.

Cauli pakora
Allotment broth
Allotment egg salad
Josta jam
Gooseberry fool

Am knackered.
I started bc jam but my mum phoned and i burnt the berries. Probably a good thing. I needed rid of some.

Have started making jam in smaller quantities. There is only so much jam you can eat. I need smaller jars. I don't like chutney that has been open long. I love those wee hexagonal ones but they are 50p each!!! Hoping i will find someone who eats a lot of sandwich paste.

Anyway I now have a jam thermospoon. Best thing ever. Although I did just use the wrinkle test for years and it is pretty foolproof.

But yy currants, gooseberries and bramble are loaded with pectin. Beware of making toffee. Sadly my quince cannot be sliced. Its a definite wobbly jelly.

If you want to test for pectin you can make a syrup drop some in meths or strong spirits if it forms clumps you have pectin.

The only jam i add pectin too (in the form of lemon pips and juice) is strawberry.
For plum you use cracked open plum stones.

But you can set other jams with currants. Handful of currants in your strawb jam will have it setting perfectly.

Basically don't bother with jam sugar.

minkGrundy Fri 31-Jul-15 00:36:57

Lin sounds like you are settling in well.

minkGrundy Fri 31-Jul-15 00:42:07

Oh also made a coconut and blackcurrant tray bake but the bc went really sour in the baking. Even with lots of sugar just too bitter.

Cedar03 Fri 31-Jul-15 08:00:24

Wow Mink you have been busy!

Managed a couple of hours at the plot yesterday afternoon. It was very peaceful - even the park wasn't very busy. Everyone must be on holiday. Picked runner beans, a few peas, lettuce and harvested some carrots and beetroot. Blackberries are ripening. My neighbour tells me they are a cultivar but the one I tried didn't seem to taste of much. I'll try again at the weekend see if I was just impatient!

We have at least 3 pumpkins ripening. A couple of squashes. Unfortunately lost a couple of squash plants early to the slugs so And one of the remaining plants doesn't seem to have produced any fruiting flowers yet.

More weeding and sowing of green manure in random places. As well as the stupid horsetail which is everywhere the bindweed is trying to creep in at the side of the plot by the fence. Trying to look pretty and innocuous growing up
with its white flowers.

agoodbook Fri 31-Jul-15 08:53:07

mink - busy, busy!.
I have used the wrinkle test always ( even though I have a jam thermometer) and apart from the debacle last year, I have never had a problem of setting. Though the pear and lemon I made a few years ago was a little, ermmm less set, though so delicious it didn't last long anyway smile
Linski - that is wonderful how kind!,and panes for greenhouses are easily replaced.
Its a bit like that on our site - once you have shown you mean business, everyone helps. It stings a bit when you try to help the real new ones, and they come once, and you never see them again, so maybe its a subconscious defence. And my plot is always scruffy - its the plants that matter, to me , not the setting. They judged everyones plots last week and next door to me I have the winner and 3rd place....
Ooh and I have also picked jostaberries - first harvest and got about a pound so will make a crumble I think - smile

TheSpottedZebra Fri 31-Jul-15 09:00:30

Ooh, new thread! Goodness, mink you HAVE been busy! I feel bad now that the tray bake didn't work out for you! Maybe you can have it with ice cream? Blackberries really vary as to their sweetness, don't they? Going back to my cheap jam jar thing, maybe have a look at the value mint sauces if you're in need of jams quick? For about 24p each you'd be able to get a few smaller jars, and chuck the contents. In fact the whole value range of glass jarred things might be worth a check, to see what sizes, shapes and prices there are.

Last year I went a bit jam crazy and used up my family's stash of glass jars. That took some doing as we're not exactly minimalists and we tend to stash... So I needed to buy new jars, and figured out that unless I was buying them in their hundreds, that the value range thing was the cheapest way...

TheSpottedZebra Fri 31-Jul-15 09:01:50

Linski that sounds fab, you must be delighted with your greenhouse! What a lovely exchange!

shovetheholly Fri 31-Jul-15 11:06:45

I had fresh raspberries on muesli this morning, and it was like breakfasting with the angels!! smile

Definitely ask about joining your local association, cupcakes. I bet they welcome you with open arms. It's just bulk ordering really, so no reason for it to be really exclusive or anything.

I'm taking frantic notes about this jam making. And googling things like 'the wrinkle test'! Zebra - your idea of using value jars is genius! I've been keeping small jars from pesto, but could use a few more.

lin - you've been fully inducted! Hooray!

RoosterCogburn Fri 31-Jul-15 14:45:21

You've all been busy!

I made spinach, lettuce and stilton soup last night as I have a glut of spinach and lettuce - it was delicious. I'm going to make some more and freeze it.

I have masses of peas as well - I shall donate some to my mum, freeze some and possibly make some pea based soup as well.

RoosterCogburn Fri 31-Jul-15 16:23:36

To blanche or not to blanche, that is the question...

Peas - I'm reading conflicting reports on line. Some people say you must, others say don't bother.

This is the first year I've had enough to freeze and my lovely uncle, my gardening guru, who would have known the answer died last month

What does everyone do?

Marking my spot, haven't done much this week. For jam I use jam sugar, add Certo (bottled pectin) if it's not setting, use the wrinkle test and still get variable results!

minkGrundy Fri 31-Jul-15 19:24:41

Are you getting it hot enough whoknows.
It only has to hit that temp but it does have to hit it and it usually a fairly alarming sugary boil. Either that or not enough sugar.

But the good news is if you put your jam in jars but it fails to set, you can just reboil it. So always better to err on the side of underset than to end up with toffee.

minkGrundy Fri 31-Jul-15 19:25:39

And spotted don't feel bad. I still ate itblush

Yes, I think so, although I've only recently bought a thermometer, I always get it on a fast rolling boil. My last lot had to be re-done the next day as you describe Mink. We a;; prefer it runny to solid!

agoodbook Fri 31-Jul-15 21:13:23

well, after three hectic days, I finally managed a couple of hours at the plot this afternoon.
Weeded, weeded, and weeded some more. That rain is encouraging them!
I also picked a few things - new potatoes, carrots, cabbage, peas, french beans and my first runner beans. We had a green melange for tea smile.
The sweet peas are going beserk, cut a load of those as well. They smell divine, but I have to put them in the greenhouse, as they have loads of little black pollen beetles in them, and they just litter the windows if I have them inside.
i sowed a row of spinach as well.
shove this is when it is all worthwhile isn't it - the luxurious amount you can treat yourself to, completely fresh and you know exactly what you are eating smile
Rooster - I have never frozen peas - they always get used, but I have been open freezing french beans and runner beans without blanching, so to my mind, why not give them a go smile
Now, I have read carefully here as well! - mink did you use blackcurrants in the tray bake? and did spotted mention blackberries?

agoodbook Fri 31-Jul-15 21:46:25

well, I missed Gardeners World, so just watched it on iplayer. Monty was planting french beans for a late harvest . So- have I enough growing, or should I have some more for back end (the Yorkshire slipped in there !)

ethelb Sat 01-Aug-15 17:54:25

Sorry to hear about the fruit stealing. We have an abandoned plot with plums and cherry trees on it which we all take a couple of. Turned up today and there were none there (it was groaning a few days ago) another plot holder commented on it too as she had planned on taking and handful. Another lottie holder said they had caught someone stripping it. These same people had been accused of stealing someone elses courgettes/tomatoes. We are wondering what to do about them really as we can't prove much.

Finally got down for a couple of hours today and got my fennel in. Hopeing to get back and sow some winter radish tomorrow.

Dug up loads of potatoes and we are into courgette glut season already. 5 big uns today!

minkGrundy Sat 01-Aug-15 18:27:21

There was stealing on our lot. The miscreant was ejected for tattie thievery.

Blackberries would have been nicer but I have seen recipe for both bc and rc in franjipani style tarts but my particular bc went very sour.

One of my allotment pet peeves nothing to do with me really but still it annoys me.
Allotment neighbour dug up ALL his tatties again. He grows a lot. Put them in on x dates. Reads the date they are supposedto be ready and religiously clears his lot on that date (same one who sows entire packets of seeds every time). He then complains every yearthat jis tatties are tiny wee boules. Then spends the next several wks enquiring after the size of my crop and switching variety to whatever I have bn growing.

Every year I say dig them when they are ready not by the date on the calendar. Or ifyou dig one plant and they are small, wait a bit before digging the rest.

Mind you the early digging was partly prompted by the tattie thief but he has hone now.

His whole lot is usually empty by mid to late August. so from then until next March he has nothing to do at allotment but annoy me

ethelb Sat 01-Aug-15 20:32:35

A tattie theif is pretty brazen!

TheSpottedZebra Sat 01-Aug-15 21:17:17

Maybe the brazenness (?) is the key to tattie theft, sort of like strolling into a warehouse wearing hi vis to pilfer the goods ? Pear stealing not that subtle either.

I'm adding another thing to the list of things to grow next year - comfrey. No one else that I've spoken to is growing it, and I've never spotted it wild, so I'll have to procure a bit of that infertile one from somewhere. Ebay will have it I'm sure.

In other news, the pips in my apples seem to be turning brown. It's early, no? It's an allotment apple tree and I have no idea about timing nor variety.

agoodbook Sun 02-Aug-15 18:32:58

well, the end of a rather hectic week, so was only able to find an hour spare this morning at the plot. So I tidied up the strawberry bed, and found one plant laden with berries a good 3 weeks after they had officially stopped fruiting - I ate the lot!
Once everyone had left this afternoon. I managed to get into the greenhouse and tidy up a bit, and pick raspberries in the sun
I 'tickled' aubergine flowers as recommended by Lethal - loads of flowers, no fruit set so far, so its worth a go smile
And here are my spring cabbage and spring greens - sowed on Monday (27th) they germinated in 2 days on my trusty kitchen windowsill

minkGrundy Sun 02-Aug-15 18:35:25

Today I shall make bc jam. I shall. <girds loins and jam pan>

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