Friday, 28 August 2009

Bramble Jelly.

Well the blackberries are ripening and looking delicious both in the surrounding hedgerows and also up the allotments. I was very excited about this happening as Bramble Jelly is one of my MOST favourite jams/jellies and I fully intended to make some. I checked my cookbook.. (which is a very old one that used to belong to my Nan) and saw that for the bramble Jelly one of the ingredients I needed was 'Tartaric Acid'. So with this information stored in my mind off I went on a shopping trip. I couldn't find any in the local supermarkets but this didn't surprise me really and so I hit the local Health Stores. We have several in town but only one that usually has what you want so this was where I headed. Only to be disappointed!!! I was told that no they didn't stock 'Tartaric Acid' as they just couldn't get hold of any...I did mange to get the 'Citric Acid' I needed (for my Marrow jam) in there so it wasn't a totally bogus trip but still I left the store a little deflated and came home to do a google search......"There has to be something about 'Tartaric Acid' on line." I thought to myself and then maybe I could find a substitute. Boy was I in for a shock!!!!

I put several searches into Google and got some really random things on 'Tartaric Acid' even stating that 'Tartaric Acid' was made from petroleum and shouldn't be used....hhmmm not entirely sure I believe this one though!!

Anyway after much reading and researching I found out that both Tartaric and Citric acid had referred e numbers...E344 for Tartaric Acid and E330 for Citric Acid...I also found a lot of websites which gave me scientific chemical compounds for the 2 acids...all of which wasn't very helpful in my jam production.

It stated on one website that E numbers E300-E300 were all Antioxiants and were used in foods to help reduce the oxidation reactions which naturally occur and can damage food molecules and in particular make fats go rancid.

So there you have it...I am now very educated on some E-numbers and there uses but still don't have a substitute on the Tartaric Acid as could not find one anywhere. I did manage to find one website which sells Tartaric Acid but it is quite expensive so thought I would look for cheaper alternatives!!

My next search was for Bramble Jelly recipes and this did prove to be a little more constructive...I found a recipe which in it's ingredients had Tartaic OR Citric acid...I also found one that used lemon after hours of searching I found a solution which was easily accesible to me and not too expensive...SUCCESS!!!

So there you have it...alternatives are available I guess, you just have to put the right searches in (which I obviously didn't to start with) and then anything is possible. I did find one forum where someone else was asking about 'Tartaric Acid' as there strawberry jam needed it but in my cook book the Strawberry Jam recipe has lemon juice...maybe it is just a preference thing and there is no right or wrong for them!!

Anyway I am going to use the Citric Acid recipe for my Bramble Jelly as soon as there are enough blackberries ripe and I will let you know how I get on and how it tastes!!

Sorry this post ended up as more of a rant than anything but I'm sure there are more of you out me...have come across these problems.. (at least I'm hoping I'm not the only dumb-ass in the world!!)

Hope I've been helpful to someone..or at least given you a laugh!!

Some facts on the acid in question!!!

E330 Citric acid
Citric acid is a vital component of the citric acid cycle, or Krebs cycle. During this sequence of reactions one acetate unit is converted to two equivalents of carbon dioxide giving rise to a molecule of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy source in cells. Citric acid occurs abundantly in citrus fruits, although commercial synthesis is by fermentation of molasses. It is used in food as an antioxidant as well as enhancing the effect of other antioxidants, and also as an acidity regulator. Present in virtually all plants, it was first isolated in 1784 from lemon juice, by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, and has been used as a food additive for over 100 years.Typical products include citrus fruits, preserved fruit and vegetables, potato products, dessert mixes, soups, wine, beer, cider, bakery products, cheese products.

E334 Tartaric acid (L(+)-) (also an Acid)

Tartaric acid exists as a pair of enantiomers and an achiral meso compound. (+)-tartaric acid commonly occurs in nature and can be found in fruit, and sometimes in wine. Tartaric acid is industrially synthesised as a byproduct during wine making, and it is used in food as an antioxidant and synergist to increase the antioxidant effect of other substances. It is also used as an acidity regulator and sequestrant. Excessive ingestion of tartaric acid results in laxative effects.

Typical products include jams, sweets, jelly, tinned fruit and vegetables, cocoa powder, frozen dairy produce.

Also...throughout my research I cam across a website National Center for Home Food Preservation. Which I found some very interesting things on and thought some of my readers might like to check out.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Stuffed Marrow(Recipe)

Well I still can't get down the allotment to do anything and to be fair even if I could I would probably be droning on about the weeds which never stop so instead today I thought I would share with you my stuffed marrow that we had for dinner last week!!! All people have there own ways of doing things so if you have any good variations feel free to post them for me to try...after all I have A LOT of marrows to get through!!

Halve marrow, ( I leave the skin on) scoop out seeds, season with salt and pepper.

mince filling
Prepare your filling...I used, minced pork, leeks, cherry tomatoes, peas and mushrooms this time. ( I do different variants)

Just thought I'd take a pic. of the mushrooms...I didn't grow them but would like to try to grow some next year!

stuffed marrow
Fill the will notice that i have put the mushrooms on separate..this is purely so we all get an equal helping of them. Once filled put marrow back together, wrap in foil and bake in oven for a few hours until tender.....Delicious!!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Contaminated Manure

I was recently left a comment by Green Lane Allotments about the problems that there have been with the contaminated manure and I though it would be beneficial for all my readers to see it so I am actually putting it on as a post as then you can all keep up to date on the info. if you want.

Thank you Green Lane Allotments for getting in touch with me and letting me know about this issue...Any further updates you think myself and my readers know you can add to this post in comment form and I will publish them.

I'm sure you must be aware of the problems experienced by allotment holders last year due to the use of manure contaminated by a persistent herbicide called aminopyralid. Information has been collated about this problem from the links on this page
Just to update on the latest re aminopyralid contamination in case you would like to provide updates on your website or to allotment holders in your area.

The latest information re manure contamination is posted on my website here
I have also sent out a email for circulation by everyone I know that has been affected which is here which you may find useful to circulate to allotment holders in your area.

It is particularly important that gardeners be aware of the need for caution when obtaining manure in light of the fact that the government are now considering reinstating the licence that was temporarily suspended last year. As this is a concern to many gardeners you may wish to publicise an a e-petition that has been started here

I am posting updates as I get them on my blog just in case you want to keep a watching brief.

P.s. I really hope all the links I have put in work...I'm quite new to this so Please forgive me if the links don't work properly...the addresses are correct so pasting them into your browser would work.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Preserving plums!!

Well I made my plum jam but there were still plenty of plums left on the tree and it would have been such a shame to waste freeze them it was. I was very happy when the kids got interested in what I was doing and we ended up with a 'Plum preserving assembly line!!'

The Kids stoning the plums.
The Kids stoning the plums.

Giving the plums a good wash.
Giving the plums a good wash.

Weighing the plums into 1lb portions ready to be frozen.
Weighing the plums into 1lb portions ready to be frozen.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Perusing The Allotment

Well I went down my allotment today...really just for a quick look (as that is all I'm about to do) and to collect some runner beans and cucumbers. I did intend to go down and do some weeding the other day but my sister who I mentioned it to rang my Mum up and told her and then my Mum rang me and told me off...I can't believe she went and snitched on me even though we're in our 30's (although I know she only did it because she cares) and then I got the third degree off Hubby about what I intended on doing down the allotment this afternoon so I daren't do anything stupid. It's nice to be loved...but annoying (if only in a good way!)

runner beans
My bumper crop of runner beans.

My son went down and did a bit of weeding for me during the week and cleared a nice big patch for me so I don't have that many and he assures me he will go down for an hour again this week coming so hopefully the weeds will not get the better of my plot!

weeded allotment
The patch my son weeded.

I mentioned on an earlier post that I was hoping to get more land. I know the guy on the plot is giving up half next season and I have spoken to the chair about it and he said he will talk to the other members about it and let me know. There is a waiting list which is a worry but I'm hoping that they will let me as I only have half a plot and have done so much with the barren land I was given last year..I will keep you all posted.

neglected allotment plot
The neglected plot I have asked if I can have.

Well I got plenty of runner beans today, a couple of cucumbers and some green beans which Kate kindly gave me from her half. Not bad really and I still have plenty of cucumbers to come and the marrows are still going strong!!

cucumbers and green and yellow beansTodays harvest.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Victoria Plum Jam(Recipe)

Well I love jam and this year I have took to making my own with all the fruit that has been plentiful. My Mum has a lovely plum tree in her garden and so earlier this week I decided to make some plum jam.

victoria plums
Freshly picked plums.
The recipe is easy....for every pound of fruit it is a pound of sugar and a 1/4 pint of water..that's all there is to it!! Depending on which recipe you look at depends on whether you stone your plums first or after...I like to stone my plums first though as the stones add more weight to the fruit which I think makes the jam too sweet.

stoned plums
the plums...washed, stoned and ready to use!

When you have washed and halved your plums (and stoned them according to preference) add them to a nice big pot, bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is tender.
Then take off the heat..add sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. Return pan to heat and boil rapidly, stirring continually until set is ready.

cooking plums
Simmering away in the pan..fantastic smell :-)
I test set using 'the saucer test', or you can use a cooking thermometer if you have one. If you decide not to stone your plums before cooking this is when you would remove the jam boils the stones will rise to the surface and then you take them out. Once set is right, put into sterilized jars, add waxed disc and then either put lids on immediately or when jam is cold!!

plum jamThe jam..just waiting for labels.

I don't buy jars, just save them from other things I have had so they are usually all sorts of different sizes. I used 4 lb's of plums for the jam I made.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

A good year for fruit!!


Well this year, (like every year I suppose) has had it's up and downs success wise...and that goes for everyone across the board, not just me (which is good in a way as it means I don't feel like a total failure!!) However that said it has been an excellent year for fruit.

strawberry plant
strawberry pants.

I think I read on someone else's blog that they'd had problems trying to produce blueberries...but apparently they are very hard to get established..(which I didn't know and now just have to try for next year so I can probably join that failure department too!!) But all in all it has been a GREAT fruit year...with all the bushes, plants and trees producing way more than anyone can handle.

Redcurrants...I think!

This has been good for me as I LOVE fruit but only have a very small gooseberry bush and a few canes on my own allotment plot but a lot of the other allotment holders were more than happy for me to nab some of their fruit so it didn't all go to waste and I have been doing just that and been making pies, crumbles, jams, ice-creams, milkshakes, smoothies....??? Think that's it so far...any other ideas as to what I can make???

apple tree
apple tree.

Well I have put up a few pics of the allotment bushes and trees and stuff...has the fruit produced as well as this everywhere???

gooseberry bush
MY gooseberry bush.

What have you all been doing with your fruit??

blackcurrants...I think??

The only thing that hasn't produced for us is my Mum's cherry tree. This is nothing new though...I think in my WHOLE life it has only produced edible cherries twice. They were delicious and plentiful but usually it is just pips covered in skin...anyone no why??

raspberry canes
raspberry canes.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Not much going on down the allotment!!!

Well I can't really get down the allotment and Do anything apart from pick up a few veg. and watch the weeds grow...God I hate being broken!!!! I did try weeding a little today..but perhaps it was a little too soon, so I left it to my son to do a bit and just brought a few bits home.

cucumbers, green and yellow beans
2 Nice healthy cucumbers.
Some green and yellow beans courtesy of Kate!!

After finding that I really couldn't weed I went back home and forlornly stared out my lounge window.

country scene
My bird table

Can't see much this time of year with the tall hedges in full greenery but it's a relaxing scene, at least until the birds start to squabble!!

baby sparrows
The baby sparrows.

And there was plenty of bird activity which gave me a few smiles and lifted my spirits just a little bit, sometimes makes you duck rather quick though as the birds often don't realize there is a pane of glass in the window frame!!

The adult sparrows.

We have sparrows on our porch roof as do the other three houses near us...they nest every year in the same place and it's lovely to see the chicks bustling under the bird table the first time the parents kick them out to fend for themselves, and please don't worry...just after taking these pics. i went out and refilled the feeders, added some fresh water to the bird bath and also treated them with some broken biscuits!!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Guest posting on Allotments4you

I was recently contacted by a guy named Bill Hawthorne about adding a link on my blog or putting up a guest post from his site. It isn't about allotments or even gardening but it is about what is happening because of current environmental issues so with me trying to grow organically I think it has a place on my blog for you to view if you wish. Thanks for taking the time. Tanya.

Green Living: Improving Health For Today and Tomorrow

Much attention has been paid in recent years to what seems to be a growing environmental conscience in the United States. Going green used to be considered expensive and a luxury for those who could afford the trend. Now it appears that we are learning that not only is adopting more environmentally conscious attitudes good for our economic situation, but also our….health? Yes, if we dig a bit deeper we can see that dirty industries and backwards policy is actually harming the health of the earth for our children and the health of her inhabitants today.

How Does Environmental Policy Affect Public Health?

There are two levels of health consequences associated with dirty industry, both direct and indirect. The direct consequences are examples like increased asthma rates in areas with high smog indices. Chlorofluorocarbon release into the atmosphere has shown to decrease the filter of direct sunlight on the planet, resulting in more concentrated ultraviolet light reaching the surface of the earth. Perhaps it is no surprise then that in countries with depleted atmospheric gas, skin cancer rates are among the highest in the world.
The indirect health consequences are harder to see immediately, but closer examination reveals that these are, in fact, perhaps the most hazardous. Bi-products of dirty and backwards industries, such as coal and oil processing, include cancer causing substances like asbestos and benzene. A U.K. study conducted in 2002 indicated that coal and oil industry workers are at a much higher risk of developing mesothelioma and leukemia. Dr. Robert Taub among many other doctors who specialize in this area understand that these are substances that can be directly traced to antiquated pre-regulation equipment in industries whose environmental hazards are even more inherent.
Can we really afford to continue on the path we were on before? Investment in clean industry means not a healthier planet for our children and grandchildren, but also a healthier place for us to live today.
submitted to Allotments4you on 16th August 2009; written by James O'Shea.

Monday, 17 August 2009

The School project with snails!!!

Ok....I thought I would share with you the little school project that we have going on!

My Nephew has just turned 9 years old and his school is taking part in the 'Morrisons, Let's grow...Big Bean Challenge'.

Basically at the end of the summer term all the children were sent home with an info pack and some seeds so that they could join in the challenge if they wanted to. With me having the allotment and being into the growing stuff my sister asked me if I would do this with my nephew as she isn't really into plants and didn't want to spoil his chances of growing!

We went ahead and planted the beans in a margarine tub with a bit of soil.....there were six beans in the pack so we planted them all...kept them warm and watered and then waited.

7 Days later we had bean seedlings that were 11cm....we were very happy at this, especially as all the seeds had germinated.

green bean seedlings
seedlings...7 days old

Then we had to go away and so a neighbour tended to the beans and when we came back we found that they were still very healthy..(if a little box bound) and had grown to 19cm's tall which was 9 cm's higher than the measurement chart they sent with the grow pack.

green bean seedlings
seedlings..17 days old.

Being so late on I thought the best thing to do would be to plant the beans on in my Little greenhouse...after all the pepper plants were doing well in here and I thought it might give us the chance of some vegetables before the season was over. This did not turn out to be the best option though as whi8lst I was in hospital the snails got in and ate the plants...BLOODY THINGS!!!!!

green bean seedlings
The snail damage!!

So now we wait and pray that we will get some foliage back before school restarts so that we have better photos to send back in to school with my Nephew!! Have anyone else's children's schools done the challenge?? If so how are you getting on??

Sunday, 16 August 2009


You can use this contact form to contact me to give general feedback or for "whatever it is you have in mind". I will read all emails and give you a prompt reply.

Look forward into hearing from you!! :-0

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Back at home.

Well I'm back at home and going stir crazy knowing that i can't get down the allotment to do anything...GGRRRHHH!!!! A nice surprise when I got home was that some of my tomatoes had finally ripened..not many but they are slowly turning. We seem to have some beautiful cherry tomatoes which although is fine is NOT what we planted....I often wonder if it's even worth buying seeds from a shop or if i should just dry my least that way I will know exactly what I'm getting!!

cherry tomatoes
The erm...Cherry tomatoes!!

The other thing I noticed on my arrival hone was my pepper plant. I said in an earlier post about none growing...well my third attempt at planting hasn't been a total failure. I put in 8 seeds and 2 of those have actually grown...and have now started to flourish. I have grown them inside one of those mini greenhouses and that is where they will stay...I just now have t see if they can manage to produce any fruit before it gets too cold...I can spot a few flower buds this space!!!

pepper plant
One of the Pepper plants..this is the biggest and at the moment is looking quite healthy.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Pictures taken 10th August.

Have to thank the Hubby for these pics that were supposed to go up with the previous post...Thank you Dear!!

chilli plant
My chilli plant has quite a few flowers now!!

The marrows are still doing remarkably well!! This is just one of my seven plants.

cauliflowerUnfortunately most of my cauliflowers look like this, not sure what I have done wrong with them this year????

runner beans
I love runner beans...and they always grow so well for me!!!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Last post for a while!!

Well this is going to be my last post for a while as I am off for an op. today but please keep visiting and commenting whilst I'm away :-)

This was going to be a great post about how proud I
am of my achievements this year with lots of photos to back it up ...but alas this is not the case. I went up the allotment last night...picked some runners and cucumbers and had a chat to another couple of allotment holders and then I realised I didn't have my camera. Rather than go all the way home (because it's soooo far from the allotment to my house!) I thought I'd use the new phone I purchased and get some use out of all the fancy features....BIG MISTAKE!!! I now have a phone with lots of pics on and no way to download them to the computer...I'm sure my Hubby can figure it out eventually but not in time for this post so it is just the boring writing type and for that I am very sorry.

On the plus side I will (hopefully) be enable to put them up on my arrival home so have something to say!!! So in summary...I think I have done well this year and I am very proud of my achievements....again I am still learning how much to plant of what, but I think this is half the fun.....still not solved the potato bug problem (any more suggestions?)...and now I have a cauliflower problem too, which I will tell you about in another post.

Lots of weeds on my bare bit of soil but my veggies are weed free!!! The sun is bound to come out now I can't get down the garden but I wish the
rest of you happy gardening whilst I'm going stir crazy not being allowed to do anything!!!

Belvoir castle
Not such a bore after all...found this lovely pic. of Belvoir Castle silhouette..nothing to do with allotments but a 'Beautiful view'!!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Hooray for sun!!

Well it has been a beautiful weekend in my area of the uk and it has meant that there was plenty of chance to get down the allotment....unfortunately my son and nephew also had their birthdays so I didn't get as much time there as I would have liked!!

I got down for an hour or so though and managed to harvest a few veg for the Sunday dinner. Then it was a case of tackling the weeds AGAIN as they have multiplied drastically with the recent rain!!!!! It seems all I ever do is pull least with the sun shining and the birds singing it was a nice tranquil time and they were rather easy to pull up with the ground being so wet so it wasn't such a bad time really!!

Thought you might not believe me if I didn't show a photo of the sun!!

I have had some rather peculiar shaped carrots which were fun for the kids to try and peel and I have pulled my last three beetroot up and will slow bake them in the oven this evening (the best way in my opinion to cook them!!).

I also managed to pull a couple of leeks up which weren't too bad but probably could have done with a little longer but I really wanted to try them!!

I still have a huge amount of marrows and many more to come looking at the flowers but I have donated quite a few to the allotment stall and so far none have gone to waste. The other veg that is doing really well are my runner beans which i am having to pick on a daily basis but as they freeze so well I really don't mind and I have a neighbour who has had some to make chutney's a new one on me so I will let you know how it tastes...I'm a little skeptical myself...anyone else heard of it???

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Culling the herbs!!

Well the little herb patch that I have in my garden went wild this year and everything started running into each other and all the plants were fighting to be top dog so I figured it was definately time to sort it out as I also had my tomato pots here and they were beginning to get smothered!!

herb garden
A (now) well tended herb garden!

I went a little over board but it is now beautifully tidy and I had A LOT of cuttings and even some plants with some roots on where I had been quite brutal about removing them from the ground. Whilst I was busy sorting the herb patch a couple from the allotment happened to pass by and popped in for a chat drawn by the aromatic smell of my oregano and curry plants. They had never grown oregano themselves so I gave them a nice big piece with some roots attached to plant and also some cuttings to cook with. This then got me thinking and I quickly sorted through a lot of what i had on the ground to take up to my allotment as I had been thinking for a while of adding herbs up there too.

the new herb patch
Herbs now on the allotment.

So now between the raised bed and the compost heap I have some herbs planted and quite well established ones at that. Here you can see (from left to right)peppermint, oregano, lemon balm and catmint. I love the peppermint in fresh ice cream and I have always grown catmint as it never gets black fly and has a wonderful strong flavour and aroma. I use a lot of oregano in my cooking and I am a great fish lover which is where the lemon balm comes in!! I have also put in some chive seeds and will probably put some fennel up here too..amongst other things...herbs are great..very easy to grow..good ground cover and low maintenance!! If you want to try your hand at something but aren't sure what to do first a herb garden/patch is a great start!!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Pesky potato bugs!!

Well I went up the allotment today...(at last a dry ISH day!) and dug up my last row of Maris Piper potatoes. I have had a really good crop of these and will definately grow them again but on one of the plants I found those bugs that I mentioned earlier. I was miffed at finding the bugs again as it meant I lost some potatoes but pleased that I had took my camera (just in case!) and got some pictures of them.

potato bugs
I'm not sure you can see to well.

potato bugs
They are a milky colour and look kind of like a centipede

potato bugs
They have actually burrowed into the potatoes and there are LOTS of them!!

Sorry the pictures aren't that great but I hope you can kind of see the bugs...maybe they are those orange things that someone mentioned and just younger ones...any ideas people??? I am totally confused!!!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A peek at my Garden!!

Well I don't have the biggest or greatest garden in the world as I had to make it child friendly so that it wouldn't harm them (or they wouldn't harm it!) but I do have a couple of features which I managed to sneak in which I though they wouldn't be able to destroy and I thought I would share them with you!!

My back garden
This is basically the back garden which is mainly paving slabs and a huge 12 by 10 shed but I do have a border down the left hand side which I put flower plants in yearly.


Petunias.( I also have some daisies, tagetes and dahlias in too but didn't take photos of them all!!

my rockery
This is the main feature of my back rockery. I love rockeries and really wanted to have one when we bought the house so made a low wall out of concrete blocks and then took my shovel out on some long walks over the fields to dig up some nice looking rocks. It is 12 years since this first went up and has only started looking goo in the last couple of years so if you decide to do something like this you will need patience.

my front garden
My front garden is also quite low maintenance but I love my bird table and birdbath. Living in the country i get quite an assortment of birds visiting and we sometimes have rabbits, squirrels, hedghogs, bats and we even hear the foxes too.

All the flower plants that I put in each year are grown by my Mum in her greenhouse which is nice because it means that for a good price we can have a different combination each year and plant plenty to attract the butterflies and bees.. :-) Most of the plants in my garden were either taken from cuttings or grown from seed...I find this much more satisfying than just buying them in the shops even though it does take a little longer to get them established and a little more effort on the gardeners part!!

P.S. forgive me if I have spelt some of the flower names wrong.

Wet Allotment!!!

Well I really haven't been down the allotment much since I cam back from my holiday....I've been to get vegetables for dinner but that really is about all as it doesn't want to seem to stop raining at the moment which is a shame as I really am missing the tranquility of my garden!!

my chilli plant
A flower on my chilli plant....YAY!!!!

Anyway on the odd lull in the rain yesterday I did manage to get up there (although it was far too wet to get any weeding done!!) for a little while to keep a general eye on things and I noticed that at LONG last my chilli plants have finally got some flowers on them...YAY...I really was beginning to think this was going to be just another I am very excited about this!!! The plants are very bushy with lots of greenery on them and I'm not sure if this is right or whether I should have culled them, as you do tomatoes, but never mind I will wait and see how they turn out and thenmaybe research a little more if I decide to grow them again next year....Woo Hoo...CHILLIS!!!!! (sorry I'm a little excited!)

Monday, 3 August 2009

Spiky Cucumbers?!?!?!

Hi All..

Well I'm glad you all keep coming back to read my blog and I think I am slowly ironing all the bugs out of it and learning what I am doing...I have recently found out that not everyone can comment so I am sorry to those of you who have tried and haven't been able to and I am looking into getting this sorted so please keep coming by and be patient with me...I'm newer to this than my!!

Anyway I didn't intend to write a post about how the blog is coming along but about my cucumbers...When I went up the allotment yesterday I was very pleased to see that there were a couple of cucumbers ready to pick which is exactly what I did....however so I went to pick them up I got spiked!!!!

allotment grown cucumbers.
My cucumbers..can you see how spiky they are??

Is this a natural thing for home grown cucumbers?? Are all cucumbers spiky?? Were mine supposed to be spiky??
I have kind of sheared the spikes off with the back of a knife and I'm not sure this was the right thing to do either but I didn't really fancy eating pointy things that might cut my tongue. The cucumbers look great inside...have a lovely crunch to them and there is a nice flavour to the skin so I don't think I harvested them too early...anyone else had spiky cucumbers???

Waiting to hear!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

First visit after a week away!!

Overview of allotmentOverview of allotment..not looking bad!!

Well as you all know I went away for a week and had to leave my allotment alone ..(although I did have a neigbour go and pick the runner beans as I didn't want them to get too big!!) Anyway I arrived home to discover that there had been A LOT of rain and was really quite dreading a visit to the allotment wondering how many weeds would have come through. Well in a lull in the rain off I trotted to the allotment and was pleasantly surprised....the water butts are again half full which was good...the ground is very wet which is great for the plants but made my boots kind of heavy...surprisingly I was not totally over run with weeds. Sure there are plenty coming through but it shouldn't take too long to sort out as none of them are very well established.

My first cabbage.
My first cabbage.

It was great to be able to harvest some veg. for sunday dinner...i managed to get some carrots, a nice size cabbage and cauliflower and of course some runner beans. I still had some potatoes over from what I had dug previously so haven't dug any more yet. A totally organic Sunday dinner which didn't cost a penny..(well unless you go inot the cost of the seeds...the time it took to plant and sow...the price of tools....) on the day if we are going to be picky about it!!

My first carrots.
My first carrots.

Who cares tasted great!!!

My first cauliflower.
My first cauliflower.