I hope you all had a lovely weekend.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.