Thursday, 8 September 2016

A year on the allotment: August 2016

I'm a little behind with my August allotment update. The school holidays take me away from the computer most days, which isn't a bad thing. Now the new school term has started, I get a bit more time to blog. August was an eventful month on the plot, lots of crops ripening and a bit of drama with a wasps nest...

pan full of homegrown peas and beans

In August we harvested:
* Our red Kestrel potatoes
* Lots of courgettes
* Tasty peas
* A few broad beans, had lots of issues with black fly this year
* Handfuls of beetroot
* A good crop of runner beans
* Tasty french beans
* The last of the mid-Summer strawberries

One of my favourite crops from the allotment are the peas. We can't resist popping open the pods and eating them right away. Some do manage to get home and I often mix them with the broad beans. They only take a few minutes to cook, best to eat them fresh and lighly boiled. Magoo and I love sitting in the sunshine podding peas into a pan, it just sums up Summer to me.

podding homegrown peas and broad beans

We also dug up the last of our red Kestrel spuds. This is probably one of Magoo's favourite things to do at the plot. I generally lift the plants with a fork and she dives in rootling out the potatoes. It's a system that works very well. Magoo and Grandma often have a race to find the biggest spud...

We have been really pleased with this year's potatoes. They aren't the prettiest, but they taste amazing. I haven't had to buy and spuds from a shop for weeks now.

lifting red kestrel potaoes

harvesting red kestrel potatoes

We've also had great success with our courgettes. We only had three plants survive slug attacks, but they have worked really hard producing lots of courgettes for us to harvest. The harvest has been so good, we've had to come up with new ways to cook with them. My Mum made Mary Berry's Courgette Loaf a couple of weeks ago and I can confirm it was delicious. Plus veg in cakes is good for you right? Better have another slice...

harvesting courgettes from our allotment

harvesting allotment courgettes

One of our plot neighbours gave us some of their white currants. The skin is translucent and you can see the seeds nestled inside. I have never seen them before and think they are rather beautiful.

I have mentioned before how the community aspect of allotment life is one of the loveliest parts of maintaining a plot. When another neighbour noticed how badly our broad beans were affected by black fly, he gave us handfuls of his own beans. How kind is that?

white currants grown on the allotment

Our sunflowers continue to grow ever taller. Each year we grow sunflowers with the intention of cutting them to have at home in a vase. I blogged last year about our 'super sunflowers', literally too big to fit in any vase known to man.

This years sunflowers have smaller flower heads, but they are towering over our heads. They are supposed to be fairly small and the packet said they would grow to about 180cm. Last time we were at the plot, they have easily grown to eight feet tall and over. No matter though, the bees love them and they look very statuesque on the plot.

very tall allotment sunflowers

sunset allotment sunflowers

About a fortnight ago we discovered a large wasps nest in the flower bed. We'd hoped to have left the nest alone, but unfortunately another plot holder got badly stung on his legs whilst walking past our plot to get to the water trough. After talking to the allotment committee, it was decided that something had to be done. The head of the committee volunteered to don his protective bee suit and deal with the nest, sadly using poison, which we were not keen to use ourselves. We've had to stay away over the past week or so because there would have been lots of angry wasps on the warpath. The situation seems under control and there are significantly less wasps buzzing about now. It's a shame really because they are pollinators too, but we need to respect the wishes of other allotmenteers using the space.

Magoo is back at school now and I'll miss our walks down to the plot in the sunshine. But we've had some fun times at the plot over the Summer Holidays. It's now time to start putting the plot to bed for the Winter. We don't tend to grow lots during the colder months. We're planning on adding lots of manure and covering the ground up with membrane. Fingers crossed it will keep the weeds and grass at bay. I will be back with another allotment update at the end of September...

family fun on the allotment

This week I'm linking up with these lovely blogs:

"How Does Your Garden Grow" over on the beautiful mammasaurus.co.uk

"Home Etc" over on www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk and mummyofboygirltwins.com

"Country Kids" over on www.coombemill.com

17 comments:

Happy Homebird said...

I love hearing how other allotment holders have been doing and comparing. Our courgettes have been rubbish this year, hardly had any which has been such a shock. Beans have done well as have potatoes. Love your sunflowers, another failure this year though for me - they just get munched every time. Now I've got a lot of allotment clearing to do over the autumn to get it into shape.

Cheryl | TimeToCraft said...

We've had a good year for peas. Not all of ours make it to the house either. We call them garden sweets. Our sunflowers and pumpkins are huge. Every meal we are having sweetcorn and runner beans at the moment. Just wonderful. I hate destroying wasp nests. One year I watched them strip my brassicas of caterpillars. It's all about balance. #CountryKids

Coombe Mill said...

I always love to see how your allotment is coming along, you all put so much effort into maintaining it and caring for it. It's great that you and Magoo work together to get the potatoes and peas ready, it must be rewarding for her to know that what she's eating she helped grow and pick. Every time you share your time on the allotment she always has a big grin on her face and it's fab that she has time to share with her Grandma too!

Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

pinkoddy said...

Haven't you done so well with the allotment. It is nice when people share too. I picked up a massive courgette yesterday that someone left in a box outside their front door saying take for free - I shall go and look at the recipe to use it in a loaf now. #countrykids

Annie said...

So lovely to have that sense of community - that was lovely to share beans.

I'm regretting not planting sunflowers this year. I'm not sure where this year's gone - before I realised it was time to plant the seeds it was a couple of months too late.

Home grown spuds taste the best don't they?

Thanks for joining in again, it looks like it's been a productive time for you :)

Samantha Free said...

I love this! It makes me so desperate to have a plot of land as I would absolutely love to grow some of our own veg. I am sorry about your broad beans though - my mum's got eaten by slugs too. It has been a bad summer for slugs (or good for the slugs, depending on how you look at it) it seems, with so much rain and quite a lot of sun! It all looks amazing though! Are you growing any squash for autumn? #CountryKids

Mommy's Little Princesses said...

I think it's fab that you and your family enjoy the allotment so much and that you have your own special system going on! You seem to have done so very well despite the set backs you faced.xx #Countrykids

Emma T said...

I'm so rubbish at gardening (and not generally interested), I'm always in awe of people who spend the time and effort and get the crops out of it. This year N did bring home some dwarf beans planted in a pot, and they did grow quite well, enough to put out in a pot outside. But we went on hols during a dry spell, the OH didn't think to water them, and they've dried out too much. Although the other day I did notice some flowers so I'm not sure whether we'll get anything off it in the end. By fluke rather than doing anything with the plants! #countrykids

Fionnuala Zinnecker said...

Fab! You've really had a productive summer. Those spuds look great. We keeptalking about planting some but have never gotten round to it.
#HomeEtc

Amanda Masters said...

Your allotment has thrived wonderfully this year! Such a shame about the wasps nest.

Emma Chanagasubbay said...

I really wish I had the dedication to have an allotment as it would be so rewarding.
Well done on your magnificent crop. #countrykids

Jibber JabberUK said...

We had three rows of broad beans without a single blackfly. I'm not sure how we managed it! I tried someone else's peas this year so we're determined to grow some next year - in fact we've already ordered them.

Zeens and Roger said...

This makes me want a bigger veg growing space. I love homegrown potatoes but there's not enough room in the garden. I've had loads of runner beans this year, which is good; they're my favourite. I didn't bother with broad beans because last year they were diseased but I missed having them on my dinner plate! You're making me want an allotment!

Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) said...

Sounds like you've had a great summer on the allotment with all those veg and sitting shelling peas into a pan sounds blissful. Love how happy Magoo looks helping out in the photos. Those sunflowers look amazing - I tried so hard to grow some this year and completely failed, maybe I'll have better luck next year! #countrykids

MummyShire said...

Your commitment and harvest put our little patch in the garden to shame. It looks like you've had an amazing harvest and yes, I can concur that putting veggies into cakes makes cake healthy *ahem!!* I found a gorgeous recipe for courgette in chocolate cake, which I made a little while ago. It was yummy!
http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/8425/best-chocolate-courgette-cake.aspx

Wasps can get angry can't they, more so than Bees I found. We had a wasps nest too, and unfortunately had to deal with it for the sake of the little children around. It's a shame but you have to look at the bigger picture, don't you?
#CountryKids

Sarah said...

Wow, what a wonderfully productive and community spirited allotment and lovely your daughter could enjoy the fruits (& vegetables!) of your combined hard work. I adore those suns flowers! I'm on holiday in the UK at the moment, heading back to NZ in a few weeks and very much looking forward to getting stuck into some serious Spring planting, thanks to your inspiring post!

Sarah said...

I feel very inspired after reading your post. I'm on hols in the UK, but heading to back to NZ for spring with the urge to now get planting!

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