Fareshare, Autumn Tidying And A Bit Of Good News

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Flowers at my allotment this week

This weekend I have been busy making batches of tomato sauce with some of the tomatoes that have grown this year.  All I do is wash and chop them in half and then cook them in a large pan with a cup of water.  When they are soft I use my stick blender to liquidise them until there are no lumps and when it is cool I freeze it in portions ready to use.

I use the sauce in place of passatta in recipes like pasta sauce, pizza sauce or spaghetti bolognaise.

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This year really has been a bumper year for tomatoes.  Unfortunately I have nearly ran out of freezer space, so I have been giving lots of tomatoes away to anyone that wants them.  Last week I had so many that I gave two extra large carrier bags full of tomatoes to ‘Fareshare’.

FareShare is a national UK charity supporting communities to relieve food poverty. FareShare is at the centre of two of the most urgent issues that face the UK: food poverty and food waste.

If you also have any large amounts of good quality vegetables spare, they would love to have them to distibute, just give them a call and take them down to their depot.   You can read about Fareshare here.

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Over the bank holiday weekend,  I went to the Leicester Horticultural Show.  It’s the first time I had been to a show like this and there were some wonderful entries.  I thought I would show you four photographs that I took, as the size and quality of the vegetables was amazing:

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Back to reality (after dreaming of growing leeks and onions the size of the ones above), I have been digging up my potatoes this week.  These are my red ‘desiree’ potatoes.  I was very pleased with the size and quantity of potatoes and I noticed that there wasn’t many slug holes (unlike the other two varieties that I grew this year).  So I will definately grow them again.

After drying the potatoes for a few hours, I transferred them into sacks ready to store them.  I will check them every so often just to make sure that none of them are rotting.

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Another job I completed last week was the pruning of my old, rather large plum tree.  I don’t think it has been pruned for years, so I have decided to prune in stages over the next three or four years.  I’m not sure what variety the plums are, but they are small, very much like damsons.  Hopefully my crops will be better in a few years time when I have finally finished rejuvenating it.

I started by removing any dead, diseased or damaged wood and then I removed some of the branches that were crossing each other.  This will help to improve the air flow between the branches and will help to stop the branches from rubbing on each other, which can increase the chance of a disease called ‘Silver Leaf’.

The ‘Silver Leaf’ fungus produces most of its infectious spores in autumn and winter, so it is important to prune susceptible plants in summer. Not only are there fewer spores at this time, but pruning wounds, (the main point of entry for the spores), heal more quickly.

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I have also been cutting back my summer raspberries.  Summer raspberries produce fruit on the previous years growth, so it is important to only prune canes that held fruit in summer by cutting them right back to the ground.  This is usually a job for autumn, but I wanted to sort them out as they also needed weeding underneath them.

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On Thursday we had a beautiful sunny and hot day, so I collected some of my pea seeds that had been drying on the plants at my allotment.  I knew they were ready to pick as I could hear the pea seeds rattling inside their shells when I shook them.  I have now left them to dry inside my house for another week or so, before I take the pea seeds out of the shells and put them away in an envelope, ready for planting next year.

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I then cleared my peas away, by cutting the stalks from the roots and removing the top growth.  I left the roots in the ground as the root nodules will add nitrogen to the ground ready for my next crops.

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I thought I would show you my sweetcorn as I am really pleased with it.  I don’t know if you remember, I dropped my own homegrown sweetcorn just before I went to plant them, so I had to buy some more to plant.  The new plants have grown really strongly and have produced a wonderful crop.  I wish I knew what variety they were as they taste fantastic.

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I have noticed over the the last few days that there is now a feeling of autumn in the air.  This makes me sad as summer is nearly over, but after such a busy summer I am looking forward to having a rest from all the frantic picking and harvesting I have been doing.

I am now watching the temperatures at night, ready to cover up my winter squashes if a frost is due and to shut my polytunnel and greenhouse.

It’s the time of year that I start to clear my old crops away and look forward to planning next year.

My butternut squash

My butternut squash

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I’ve decided to leave you with a great piece of news….

I am in the Autumn edition of the ‘Grow It’ magazine as a runner up for the best allotment plot category.  You can see my plot in the photo below.

I don’t win anything for being a runner up, but I am very proud to be in the magazine.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at the usual time of 4pm.

I hope you have a good week.

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25 thoughts on “Fareshare, Autumn Tidying And A Bit Of Good News

  1. Well done for being judged as runner-up but it’s a bit mean of them not to give you a prize.
    WE have also noticed some varieties of potato have more slug damage than others – even where different varieties are alongside one another.

    I was interested in the Fareshare idea but unfortunately the nearest to us is Barnsley which defetas the food miles objects as it would take quite a while to take stuff there especially as it isn’t likely to be all ready at once. Our plot neighbour takes excess veg to a local hospice which is another possibility.

    • That’s a good idea Sue. We must all have loads of good food at our allotments that end up back in our compost heaps. Wouldn’t it be good if we could all give it to people who really need it.

      It’s interesting about the slug damage on potatoes isn’t it.

  2. Great to hear you are in the Grow it magazine, and congratulations for coming runner up, well deserved.
    How do you prune your blackcurrents? i meant to ask you before.
    sue

    • Hi Sue. Blackcurrants should be pruned when they are dormant i.e. from late autumn through to the end of winter. The fruit forms on young wood so you should take out up to a third of the old wood each year on an established bush (also remove weak shoots and shoots that grow towards the ground). This will give room for the new shoots to grow.

      If your bush is newly planted, you just need to remove the weak and wispy shoots to maintain a basic structure. Do this until approx. year five then prune as above.

      ( Please note: Redcurrants and white currants are pruned differently as their fruit is formed on old wood).

      Hope this helps.

      • Brilliant the bushes are not yet five years old, but i brought a new one two years ago and i think i have had a handful from it so wondered what i was doing wrong.
        sue

  3. Congratulations! It’s good to get some recognition for all your hard work. I have to say the amount of work you do in your allotment it must be the equivalent of a full time job! The sweetcorn look delicious. Sadly I don’t think it’s hot enough for long enough in Scotland to grow any?

    • Hi Ali. I watch ‘Beechgrove Garden’ in Scotland every week and It’s so interesting to watch the seasons changing differently i.e. they plant things later than I do here. What a shame you can’t grow it, I grow sweetcorn most years and i’ve never given it another thought- we are lucky to grow it here.

    • Hi Jean, how are you? Yes it is an easy way to store the tomatoes. I suppose I could make proper passata but this takes time as I would need to remove the seeds etc and I think life is too short for this lol. I use this sauce exactly the same as passata and we don’t notice the seeds when I use it in different dishes.

  4. I shall add my congratulations to the rest! Good job girl!
    I just finished the last of my home bottled tomatoes the other month, and we are back onto tin tomatoes. I am not terribly fussed as far as flavour in concerned because as far as I can tell there is very little difference. but the can cost add to our budget in a noticeable way ;P
    I haven’t been to a show since I’ve had children, but I always love looking at the pictures.
    I hope I have as good a crop of potatoes as you, but I am slightly concerned that the spot they are in is too damp… not really worried, though, because it seems that potatoes will grow ANYWHERE here, lol!
    Your description of your plums sound like the wild plum that grow..well, wild, around here. Small, sometimes yellow, sometimes red, tart skin, really sweet flesh?
    Don’t let the mice eat your seeds -.-
    Your corn looks lovely (my 9 year old LOVES corn, I will not show him your photo because he will go crazy ;P) We have had caterpillars in the top of the corn in the market recently. They have sold the corn anyway, but cheaply, and there has been sign warning about possible caterpillars.
    Our spring has started out unseasonably warm. I am a leeetle bit worried, as I do not want a hot dry summer, but usually December is very wet and muggy, so I probably got nothing to worry about, lol!

    • Hi Mrs Yub. Yes my youngest daughter and husband love sweetcorn so much there would be a riot if I didn’t grow them. I have never had a problem with caterpillars in my sweetcorn, but we do get woodlice, but they wash off easily and don’t do any damage.
      We have had a lovely warm summer this year but now it is beginning to feel like autumn….I wonder how your spring and summer will be?

      • In NSW the bushfires are all ready rampant, so I dunno. Jean has mentioned how dry it is up in QLD already, while we here in VIC are still getting the odd shower, so there are others much worse off than us.

  5. Well done Mrs Thrift! Great news!!! 🙂 I agree about your corn on the cobs – they look amazing! I’ve tried and tried growing them, never had any success 😦 Oddly I once shared a bit of my plot with a friend and her corn grew amazingly! The following year I copied exactly what she did…..nothing! Glad you’re having such a good bounty from your plot and very good idea about giving away what you can’t eat or freeze 🙂

    • Thanks Anna. I really don’t know what you are doing wrong with your corn on the cobs…I manure a few weeks before I plant them and then just keep them from drying out…I don’t do anything more than that. What were your plants like when you grew them?…Could it just be that they are not being pollinated, as they are wind pollinated it’s best to plant in a block and sometimes they need to be given a helping hand by shaking them a little bit.

      The only other thing I can think of is are you planting them out too early?…I read somewhere that they need a minimum temperature of 12C

  6. Congrats on your appearing in the Grow It magazine. I made my husband look at your garden (photos you posted here) and he was amazed at it. We only have a small garden patch in our back yard here but we have gotten a lot of tomatoes out of it and some yellow squash and eggplant (aubergine?). I did the same thing as you with the tomatoes. I blanched them first though to take the skins off because I mainly use it for spaghetti sauce. I am going to try and grow sweet corn next year. Love reading your blog.

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