15 March 2014

Dried Borlotti Beans

A reader asked me last week what happened with the borlotti beans. Oh yes, the borlotti beans. I have to admit, I have completely forgotten to cook with them or write about them. Not to worry though, they are safe and sound, dried in a jar and have not gone to waste.
With drying the beans, I did what I most often do: went with the flow. I left the pods on the vine picking them as they started to turn to dark purple in colour meaning they had started to dry out. I placed them to the basket in the picture and left the basket to a cool, dry and airy place for couple of months. The pods had dried out nicely with the beans rattling inside, however, the pods had started to turn quite yellowish brown which worried me slightly. I started to pop the beans out the pods and turns out the beans seemed absolutely fine. Now they are waiting to be cooked in a jar. Italian bean stew at the weekend, maybe?
Have you grown your own borlotti beans? How do you like to cook these cool looking beans? If you have any good recipes, please share in the comments!

Mrs V x

9 March 2014


Today, there was little bit of this
followed by this
and it was repeated multiple times.
In sunshine!
Results: 3 of 14 beds dug over, loganberry moved from the berry border to live next to the shed for support reasons and the bleeding heart was planted to a sunny position.
Mrs V x

4 March 2014

Sherlock Gnomes

From plans to actions- Mr V spent his day off on purchasing seed potatoes, picking up some manure for the rhubarb and having a small bonfire at the allotment. The whole time he felt like someone was watching him.. until he spotted a pointy red hat from the corner of his eye. It could only be one thing- our plot is no longer a place where only the hooligans grow, but a home to a gnome. Sherlock Gnomes will be looking after the plot when we're not there. I have a feeling he will have many tales to tell.

Mrs V x

2 March 2014

Start of the season

Having had to listen to months of endless rain I suddenly realised it's March. March! And we haven't started the new season- not even one bed has been dug over. Needless to say, the rain has hold us back and we are well behind compared to previous years. Despite the fact that it is pouring down as I type, I decided today would be the time to look into the future and to start the new season. I dug out the draft plans made in November, reviewed them with Mr V and draw up a list of seeds we need to purchase.

There won't be that many changes to the vegetable varieties we grew last year, but of course, there will be a few new additions; fennel, rainbow beets and peas. Well, we did grow peas last year, but they failed completely due to lack of support structure. Also, this will be the first year we (hopefully) get to taste our own artichokes. Quite excitingly, the new pumpkin variety we will be growing is Turk's Turban. They look wicked and will be adding colour to the pumpkin choir of Crown Princes, Charmants and Hooligans. We also got some unusual seeds as a present, which will add some excitement to the vegetable growing but more about them later.

The vegetables which didn't make it to this years growing list include first early potatoes and green French beans; first earlies due to the current weather and the fact we adore second early Charlottes which will get double the growing space than last year and green French beans due to the fact that the purple ones won the bean growing competition with producing the heaviest and tastiest crop last year. There won't be garlic or broad beans this year either; doubt nothing would have come out of them had they been planted in November.

There are some building projects on the horizon too; the plan is to build a new compost bin and a new back fence from old pallets, a support structure for the loganberries and peas have to be put together (although recently I thought I may try using branches from the apple tree for the peas) and the herb haven will experience a revamp.

Something strange has happened to me over winter; previously I have only concentrated on growing vegetables with having a few flower plants here and there to attract bees to the plot, whereas recently I notice myself adoring pictures of stunning flowers, planning where I could have them at the allotment, maybe there should be an area for some cut flowers too.. Feeling all exited I even picked up a bleeding heart tuber (Dicentra Septabilis) today. Watch this space.

Oh yes, and after having a few drinks in Bruges at the weekend we thought we'd get a new little mascot for the allotment: I present you the Gnome.

Now, if only the rain would stop..

Mrs V x

(Photos from previous years and Bleeding hearts from Gran's garden)
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