I am rather behind this year due to having a number of failed seedlings and life just generally taking over, however, we have been down at the allotment quite a lot over the past few days and it is starting to look back up to speed.
The onions are progressing well, although as usual the red onions don’t seem to be doing quite as well as the white onions, still better than previous years. My sweet corn seedlings failed dismally, so I must admit that I cheated and bought some excellent specimens from our local garden centre Golden Days. They are now planted out and seem to be doing well.
Peas and beans have also been planted. For my main crop of peas I am using a variety called “Telephone Peas” that I have bought from The Real Seed Catalogue. I have used them previous years and found them to be very successful, producing very tall stems of plentiful tasty pods. You do need to be careful when picking as the pods seem to swell before the peas are very large, so patience is the key when growing these. I would definitely recommend this variety.
Similarly I have planted a purple climbing bean called “Cosse Violette“, once again from The Real Seed Catalogue. I have also found these to be very prolific with an excellent taste. They are really simple to freeze as well so great for long term storage. You can also simply tell when they are cooked as they turn from purple to green when they are ready to eat!
We have also sited two compost bins at the end of two of our beds as our cold compost areas are getting full. Our home compost bin has been very successful producing wonderful rich compost for potting up plants. Generally I regularly water the compost bins and every so often add compost activator.
I am really pleased with our herb garden. We have lost a few plants over the winter, but those that have remained are thriving and I have been left with a small space to plant a couple more herbs. At the moment I am considering Feverfew and Sweet Basil.
Carpeting the paths has been really useful this year as we have had limited time at the allotment. It has really helped to suppress the weeds in these areas which has meant our time at the allotment has been spent completing the priority tasks of weeding and planting beds.
Made a delicious lasagne with allotment produce today. So satisfying to use and eat what I have grown.
Ok, so I did slightly burn the top due to my white sauce being too thin, but apart from that it was delicious. Home grown elements included courgette and swede, which I roasted in the oven first to given them a sweeter flavour, and one of my all time favourites and staples, home-grown onion!!! Normally I would also use home-grown garlic as well, but for some reason this year it just did not grow well, in fact, most of the cloves disappeared over winter and the ones that survived were really small. Not sure why, but will try again next year! Finally I also included some green and purple beans which were really flavoursome.
August is a great month for reaping the rewards of your hard work over the past year. So much is ready on the allotment. I have already had strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, loganberries, Charlotte salad potatoes, beetroot, carrots and lettuce. Today I have harvested Arran Pilot potatoes, purple climbing beans, green stringless beans, an over-grown yellow courgette as well as a couple of swedes.
I bought all the seed potatoes I used this year from our allotment shop. A truly wonderful place which is open from spring to late autumn, every Saturday and Sunday from 10.30 – 12pm. It is manned by allotment members and can be used by anyone from the public who is willing to pay a £1 annual membership fee. Prices are great and products include compost, grow bags, lawn foods and weeders, netting, bamboo canes just to name a few.
I bought my green climbing beans, ‘Cobra beans’, as a packet of seeds from Golden Days Garden Centre and they have proved really successful, additionally I also bought a single yellow courgette plant which is producing more than enough courgettes for myself and my husband!
The purple climbing beans were the last remaining few from a packet I bought 3 years ago now from The Real Seed Catalogue, ‘Cosse Violette’ Purple Pole Bean‘ – they have proved very successful and have an excellent taste. The beans are a beautiful deep purple, however when you boil or steam them they turn green at the point when they are ready to eat. Another benefit is that, in my experience, they freeze exceptionally well and this is very important when you grow far too many beans to eat in one go and provides a way of enjoying your home-grown veg out of season.