29 October 2013


Within the last month or so the harvested goodies have changed from summery beans and herbs to the more seasonal root vegetables, but the harvest is nevertheless just as bright in colour. The carrots have been very sweet and full of flavour, while the few parsnips we have tasted so far have been disappointing. You may also spot a few beets next to the colourful carrots. Originally the plan was to sow a long row of beets, but with concentration on other projects they were forgotten about. However, I must have dropped few seeds by accident as beets seem to have appeared here and there in random places.

The Desiree potatoes have been gorgeous. Having them reminds me of happy times some years ago when a great man was part of our lives. He was on his way to a catering gig for some very important people with Desiree potatoes as part of the menu. On those days, Desiree potatoes were not common where I come from and he let us taste 'the pink potatoes'- how exotic was that back in the day!

I have been reading on the blogosphere on some great apple crops other allotmenteers have had while the future of our apple tree remains undecided. The first year it produced couple of funny apples which looked like cooking apples but tasted like small little eating apples. Most of them had been eaten by bugs and the rest had rotten before hitting the ground. The tree followed the same pattern this year -with producing even less apples. Needless to say we have not been impressed. Should we give it the chop or maybe give it one more year?

Mrs V x

27 October 2013

Box full of beans

Green French Beans- Fasold, Purple French Beans- Blauhilde, Runner Beans- Enorma and oh yes, two courgettes.

We had a good harvest of beans this year and left the allotment pretty much every week with a box full of beans.

Borlotti Bean-Firetongue

This year's  borlotti beans are still waiting to be cooked. They have dried beautifully and their pods have gaining a gorgeous dark purple colour. Most of them dried up while still in the vine and the remainder did so indoors while ensuring they had enough air circulating around them. I have been recently browsing for recipes for these funky looking beans and could almost guarantee they will end up in a stew. After all, the weather is spot on for a hearty and comforting winter dish.

The dark purple French beans surprised us with being a very heavy cropper and we preferred their taste to the other beans we grew, not to mention how beautiful they made the allotment look while in flower. Next year we will be giving these gorgeous purple plants most of the bean poles that go up.

The runners and French beans we often had straight away after picking them, while also freezing some of the crop. French beans I adore, but I find the runners... well, a little uninspiring. Last year we found out they don't freeze very well so with a freezer full of these, I was wondering, if you my reader, have some mouth-watering runner bean recipes you swear by? If so, let me know in the comments below. Thanks.

Mrs V x

16 October 2013

Crown Princes

While I've been banging on about the gourds and Charmants, these pale beauties have been left without any attention. This year was our first time growing Crown Princes. They did not grow as big as I was expecting, but they must be dense and solid inside- the smallest one we harvested was just over 2 kilos in weight! We are yet to cook one, but this squash has a reputation of being one of the tastiest, so expectations are high.

I think Frederik and Haakon did well. 

Mrs V x

7 October 2013

Report on Brassicas

The humble sprout is given such hard time by so many, but I have a friend who is a devoted fan. Actually, I'm sure everyone must have a friend who loves sprouts. I wouldn't say I love them, but I do like them enough to think it's bonkers to only have them at Christmas Day. So far, it seems growing sprouts for the first time has been going well. We've tried to take care of the essentials; water, high nitrogen fertilizer, support and cover from cabbage white. The photo below was taken couple of weeks ago and the sprouts have pretty much doubled in size since then and are close to the size of a walnut. Soon it will be time to harvest and cook them- I'm thinking of rapid roast and quick stir fry to avoid green mush. 

Unfortunately we've not been so lucky with our romanesco cauliflower. It all started very well, until the first plant flowered. The other one was doing well under the cover of its leaves. However, last week we clearly missed our window to pick it and it followed its friend's example. 

Small flower head shielded by its leaves

To be honest, we've been winging it with the brassicas. Although I started very well with getting all scientific about the pH of the soil and covered the basics as mentioned above, I never really got down to the small print on how to grow them successfully. Maybe that could be my project for next year- learning more about the art of growing brassicas. 

Flowered head

I do find romanesco cauliflower interesting to look at. The spikes and colour of it makes me think it's the potentially poisonous naughty little brother of broccoli. However, I think my sprout loving friend captured the look of these gorgeous edible flower heads to a tee: a psychedelic broccoli which went to Woodstock and stayed on that road. Emilia, we salute you. 

 Mrs V x
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