Monday, 1 December 2014

Autumn round up

Been a busy Autumn on plot 45.

 Finally weighed our big pumpkins: 11 kg and 10.6 kg. When peeled, seeded and chopped weighed over 7 kg! 

A freezer full of pumpkin and spiced pumpkin soup was on the menu.

Pumpkin cake too :-)

Still got this beauty left.

We've cleared

Planted bulbs and seeds

Got our first brassicas in, spring cabbage and broccoli 

All protected from the rabbits. All it needs is some eyes and we have our own Cecil the Caterpillar 

We even found some more strawberries.

Our rows of garlic and onions.

We have 5 varieties of garlic purchased from the Garlic Farm in the Isle of Wight
and shallots, red onions and white onions.

Photo from last week, our early garlic and white onions starting to appear.

Even found some more strawberries!!

A beautiful frosty morning at the plot and Cecil is still standing!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Halloween fun

Just had to share these pictures of our Halloween fun last week in the Isle of Wight. Took our 2 smallest pumpkins with us.

We scooped ours out from the bottom up leaving more space for the faces.

 We all got stuck in although JJ and Bob did a runner when it got really messy

KP and CP saving seeds for next year

'Guts daddy!'

Just to prove I did help ;-)

CP made her own pumpkin pops

Our Minion. Will do a step by step guide when got more time

A more traditional face, it even has ears!

The finishing touches

Our final dressed table won us a rosette :-)

Thanks for reading, hope you had as much fun as we did.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Harvest time

Not had a lot of time to blog but thought would share a few photos taken over past couple of weeks.

Had to share these. Last weeks harvest :-)

Couldn't resist having a little fun

Flowers picked from the plot

 foot long squash

nearly 2 foot long pumpkin

one and half foot long pumpkin

Strange shaped tomatoes

Double carrot! Not sure why it has grown like this, two separate tops grown together in a heart shape.

As we grew our toms outside they were starting to show signs of going over so decided to strip the plants of the remainder tomatoes and make green tomato chutney with the left overs.

Made double sure well preserved

Home made Christmas presents coming up watch out for the chilli ones ;-)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

August update

We've had a busy couple of weeks and I've struggled to find time to write. So what have we been up to besides using an abundance of courgettes?

We've had help from the Dads. Dad P has been busy sourcing a free greenhouse with glass that fits (We priced up getting replacement glass and it would cost almost the same as a new greenhouse!) The plan is to get it up over the bank holiday weekend but will have to see how reliable the British weather is for that one. Dad W has been helping dig up the first of our potatoes (not an easy job for a one armed gardener) as well as weeding.

Mark started at the front of the plot, I started at the back of the growing area and we worked towards the middle removing the weeds. Mark and the junior Ps have been covering the ground with wood chips as  we've gone. We're finding that the weeds have come back where the wood chips are shallow however just a quick rake and they come out, far easier than hoeing. There's been a couple of perennial weeds that have come back but they were quickly dealt with.

Just got a small section left to weed in the middle. Also need to weed the right side flower bed then put the bark down.

Debating now what to put on the paths between the flower beds and the main growing area. Currently there's a strip of grass and docks but could tie it in with the rest and bark it or go with something different such as slabs. Jury's still out on that one.

The purple sprouts and broccoli that I rescued have all been nibbled by the rabbit. The little blighter managed to get under the net. Part of the Autumn/Winter prep will have to be making sturdier cages so we have better luck next year.

Think my next post will have to be a look back at what we've achieved this year as it is almost a year since we took on the plot.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


I don't know about you, but we have been inundated with courgettes. Over the past few weeks I've used them to make pasta sauce, ratatouille, 3 bean chili stuffed courgettes with the large ones and finally chocolate courgette brownies, which were all very tasty.

Now however I have run out of ideas as of what to do with them and need inspiration. If anyone can suggest a recipe that has worked well for them please comment.

Looking forward to experimenting in the kitchen and will post some of the end results. :-)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Junior P's busy week

We've had a busy week here at plot 45. After a week of neglect while we were in Cornwall The plot went wild (see previous post) and needed some taming.

First issue of the week was rust on the broad beans.

Most of the plants had fallen over so it was time to get he helpers in aka the junior P's. Having 6 weeks off school I struck a deal with older P's in exchange for 1 hours work on the plot, they could have an afternoon at the their friend's.

Bob and Jas stripped the beans off the plants while CP ate as many as she could.

The result:
Over 9.5 kg in the shells.

Once shelled we had about 4 kg. Gave some to Mum W and the rest are in freezer or drying out ready for seed. Good work kids. :-)

I started on a rescue mission. Our purple sprouts and broccoli had been waiting to go in for weeks. I took them up to the plot and thought I had left them in a safe place, only to find they had been half eaten by something.

Mark had cleared an area for me so I set to getting them in while the junior P's loaded wood chips into the wheel barrow.

At this point its touch and go as to whether or not they will survive. The nettle fertilizer is stinking well so I thought why not and decided to try it out. That's the great thing about being the first year on an allotment, you can experiment and see what works best for you. Everybody has their own ways of doing things and is happy to share their ideas and methods and when you try something and it doesn't quite turn out how you expect you get encouraged to keep trying until you find your own way. I'm digressing.

As per our new method of barking everything we dig/transplant, I barked the area.

Finally I covered the plants to keep the rabbits and other wildlife off. Not sure How well they will grow, but have given them a chance. Need Mark to help secure the frame and net it properly, (two hand job) not a bad attempt for a one armed bandit, with a little help from the junior P's. ;-)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Blooming marvelous and veggie's gone wild

After a week away in Cornwall, we couldn't wait to get back to the plot and what a surprise we got!

Blooming Marvelous

Starting front to back, a few weeds had cropped up in the flowerbed but on the whole the flowers were growing well and the Nigella I planted from seed were all flowering. The algae I put around the Nigella on one side is decomposing and plants are looking slightly stronger than the other side.

I need to weed the path again between the 2 beds, but 10 minutes and the bed was looking good. 

Just behind the bed is our dwarf beans that we have barked.

They are doing well. Plants that were half dead are starting to form buds and all the others are flowering. The soil underneath the bark is retaining moisture and there are only a couple of weeds that have cropped up on the periphery of the bark at its thinnest point. Definitely a success. We are going to start covering the rest of the plot with bark as we clear it.

Our potatoes have died back so will be digging them up this week.

Veggies Gone Wild

Just before we went away I noticed we had some courgettes that were nearly ready, but going away decided to leave them on the plant. 

This is our latest pickings but it is not easy to see how monstrous they are from this picture so to give you a better perspective here is the photo I took just before picking them.

  CP helped me to pick them.  As you can see they are fatter than her legs and the largest is almost as wide as her size 9 foot!

Before we left I found a couple of pumpkins on our giant pumpkin plant.

They were about the size of ping pong balls.

After a week they are now larger than the rose off the watering can.

The plant is spreading well and is full of flowers. Next job to train it and take some of the ends off the runners. Also going to bark the area. Girls are looking forward to Halloween this year having grown their own pumpkins :-)

Finally our beetroot. They are still growing well and the largest are now the size of Jas' small football. They were about the size of a hockey ball before our travels.

All this without the use of Uncle Brian's nettle fertilizer. Next experiment will be using the fertilizer on half the plants to see if it makes a difference, with monster veg already, don't think we will be needing it but will be good to get some nutrients back into the soil.