Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wednesday 30th August - Marrow Size Lies

Our 'rivals' were at the Barrels Beer Festival on the bank holiday weekend and Tim is pictured here wildly exaggerating the size of their marrow (I hope).

I am now following Gnome's progress with great interest...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tuesday 29th August - Mother Alert

Mother, desperate to see Allotment 21, finally arrived to find that the 'vegetable robbers' had got there first. There were no crops for her to plunder. Luckily Buddie, our neighbour was tending his 3 plots and allowed Mother free range to pick his veg.

Mother wants to know why we don't have lush beans, ripe tomatoes, carrots or apples when he does. I blame bad parenting.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday 28th August- Hard Graft

Mel & I spent a few hours on Allotment 21 yesterday and managed to pull up 90% of the weeds to make room for the new ones which will appear by next weekend.

Mel planted 2 rows of Carlingford second cropping potatoes which should be ready for Christmas and I threw lime about on what will be the brassica bed next year.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday 27th August - Broccoli Help

For all those who hate broccoli, go and buy this book. The author runs Cafe @ All Saints here in Hereford and the book is mostly recipes that are cooked there. I'm not a veggie but this is one of my most used cookery books and he has a simple method for cooking broccoli that will convert the most hardened broccoli loather.

(serves 4 - 6 as an accompaniment)
375g carrots
375g broccoli
50ml olive oil
1/2 bunch of mint leaves, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley leaves (pref flat-leaf), chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Peel the carrots and slice them fairly thickly diagonally.
2. Divide the broccoli into florets. Take the woody bits off the stalks and then slice the stalks finely.
3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Boil the carrots for 2 mins, add the broccoli & boil for 2 more mins.
4. Drain veg thoroughly then toss in the oil & herbs, season & serve.

If you do buy a copy, make the Lentil, Roast Garlic and Lime Soup which is delicious.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday 25th August - Purple Sprouting

In The Simpsons episode Treehouse of Horror XI, Homer is killed by eating broccoli. When examining the body, Dr. Hibbert said that broccoli was one of the deadliest plants and warned people about its bad taste.

Spouse is a Simpsons fan but luckily, he loves purple sprouting.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday 22nd August - Green Manure

I have sown some fodder radish as a green manure on the rotavated soil. This manure is supposed to be good in areas of 'club root' which our neighbours assure us is rampant. Sister thinks they are talking about a disco.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday 19th August - Marrow Trouble

There is a white powdery substance over 80% of the marrow leaves. It appeared overnight and I suspect it is something bad.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday 18th August - Famous Herbalist

Christine Steward is our new Medical Herbalist at work (Rowan is taking a year off to build a house). It turns out that Christine was the "old book" that gave Sarah Raven the recipe for Calendula Cream which was demonstrated on tv this week. Gardner's World had filmed Christine making it at home along with a few other creams, then decided to use Sarah Raven on the actual programme.

Christine advises that you in fact heat the cream for 3 hours rather than 1 and don't use a funnel when straining.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thursday 17th August - Caught in the Act

The greenhouse tomato muncher has been caught in the act during a routine watering patrol.

Beer traps have been strategically placed and the SAS are on red alert.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wednesday 16th August - Longest Bean

Mel has identified the longest bean on our allotment and is nurturing it for our competition. Steve has suggested weighting it in order to stretch it further.

We have until the bank holiday to make it the longest bean in Hereford.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tuesday 15th August - Couch Potatoes

Nephew helped us plant potatoes back in April and four months later he was back helping us to dig up a few. He really enjoyed himself and couldn't wait to show Sister his harvest.

Sister couldn't wait to turn the deep fat fryer on and turn them into chips.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday 14th August - Calendula Cream

Having seen Calendula Cream being made on Gardener's World, I am determined to have a go. I suspect chemists up and down the country are running out of glycerine and emulsifying ointment as it looked really simple to make. The recipe is:

100g (70 flowerheads) of Calendula, chopped
150g Emulsifying Ointment
70ml Glycerine
80ml Water

mix all ingredients in a bowl and gently heat in a bain-marie for an hour. Remove from heat and add a few drops of lavender oil. Filter through fine muslin into sterilised jar.

According to Sarah Raven it is good for small cuts and abrasions.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday 13th August - Marrow the Movie

Nephew stayed over last night (Pizza Express followed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). He came up to the allotment and upon hearing that my camera did movies, recorded the marrow measurements.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Friday 11th August - Baby Snatcher

The Three Choirs Festival is taking place in Hereford this year which means the city is full of saga louts. Meanwhile I am feeling a strange affinity to baby snatchers. I am very close to becoming a vegetable snatcher.

Spouse would never know...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thursday 10th August - Anorexic Crops

A bad week.

Spouse refuses to morph into Mr Darcy, I was outbid on the rotavator and the allotment is not producing enough food to starve an anorexic.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tuesday 8th August - No Rotavator

With 12 hours to go, the bidding on ebay is heading towards the £100 mark which means no rotavator for allotment 21. I have tried the 'early birthday/ Christmas pressie' approach on Spouse to no avail. Grrrrr!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday 7th August - Mr Collins Apron

Spouse refuses to grow Mr Darcy sideburns. I have now found a Mr Collins apron for sale and am sure Spouse will look very fetching in it.

'What excellent potatoes. It's many years since I've had such an exemplary vegetable".

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday 6th August - Mr Darcy

Mel prefers the other Mr Darcy.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saturday 5th August - Growing Things

Nothing is growing on the allotment in this dry weather so I am trying to persuade Spouse to grow some sideburns. I am hoping that they will turn Spouse into Mr Darcy.

Spouse is resisting.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday 4th August - Bidding War

Four days and 12 hours left and I am now bidding up to £72. Have sinking feeling that Dig for Victory is right and the rotavator on ebay might fetch £100.

Am thinking evil thoughts about rival bidders involving shrivelled vegetables.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday 3rd August - Ebay

Spouse discovered this rotavator for sale on ebay and it's in Hereford. Still aching from the weekend diggathon I put in a £20 bid.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wednesday 2nd August - Blossom End Rot

I think that grow bags were on special offer and that must be why 6 tomatoes were planted into bags rather than straight into the soil. Mel inserted some plastic bottles to improve watering however in this hot weather it isn't enough and Blossom End Rot has appeared.

The greenhouse tomatoes are slowly ripening however one of the giant harbinger tomatoes has vanished! We must have a tomato predator in there.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tuesday 1st August - Fatter than Scarlet O'Hara

I notice that Dig for Victory is using standard bloke measuring methods for his veg. I do not want to confess to having sausage fingers and chipped nail varnish so prefer to use a tape measure. Simon the Marrow now officially has a bigger waistline than Scarlet O'Hara. Unfortunately he is still a lot slimmer than me... but there's still time... and comfrey feed.

Looking at a giant marrow web page Simon will need to double in size to be a true champion. It is a strange world, that of the giant marrow.