Tag Archive | Drying potatoes

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.



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.



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.

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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


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.

Holidays And A Good Harvest

It’s lovely to be back blogging again and I have so much to tell you, but equally I have had a lovely break.

At the beginning of the school holidays we went to Scarborough and had a wonderful time.  We stopped in a Travelodge again for six nights and it cost us just £230 for two adults and two children with breakfast included…..what a bargain!

We were so lucky with the weather, as it was really hot the week we were there and we spent every day on the beach.  The sea was so calm and clear, we could even see little fishes swimming around in it.  With the heat, it felt like we were abroad.



My friend at my allotment watered my polytunnel for me while I was away and he did a grand job, but I must say I was worried about my other crops as it was so hot and I had told him not to bother watering them, but they all seemed to be ok.  I was very pleased that I had planted my runner beans on top of a runner bean trench, that I had filled with old peelings, etc. during the winter, as this would certainly have helped to retain the moisture.

My Runnerbean Trench

My Runnerbean Trench

You can read how I made my runner bean trenches here.


Since we came back from our holiday I have been frantically harvesting all my crops at the allotment.  What a difference a year makes!  This time last year it was really wet and crops were struggling to grow, but this year is a bumper year for most things, though I have found that some things are still behind due to the cold spring we had e.g. pumpkins, butternut squashes and my early apples.


I’ve tried to remember to take photos of the things I harvested over the last couple of weeks, but I did keep forgetting.  So here are the few pictures that I did take:

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Remember the ‘cauliflower stomp’ I do before I plant my cauliflowers, to tread the ground down so it is firm (as this helps to stop cauliflowers from ‘blowing’)…. I thought I would show you proof that it works:

I'm very proud of my cauliflowers

I’m very proud of my cauliflowers


My runner beans have been doing well too.  I thought I would show you a picture of some of the beans the plants have produced as I think they are amazing.  One of them measured nearly 15 inches, which I know isn’t a prize winner, but I think it’s great for every day runner beans.  This variety is called ‘Enorma’, which is supposed to be one of the most successful exhibition runner beans, which has been given the R.H.S. Award of Merit.  I can see why, as they not only grow to a good length but they also taste delicious :

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I don’t know if you remember, I planted Nasturtiums next to my runner bean plants, as blackflies prefer Nasturtiums to the beans.  My runner beans are showing no sign what so ever of blackflies, but the nasturtiums are covered.  This shows that companion planting really does work, as I really don’t need to spray my runner beans with any pesticides:



My second early potatoes were ready when I got back from holiday, so I dug them up and brought them home.  Early potatoes won’t store as long as late varieties, so I make sure we eat them first.  As I couldn’t stay too long at my allotment, I brought them home and laid them on my table to dry out and then I put them in sacks ready to store until we use them:


I noticed my early potatoes did have a lot of slug holes again, though they can still be used.  I wonder if there were so many slugs around in the soil after last year, that we are bound to see lots of holes?  I would love to hear how your potatoes are and if your earlies have also suffered from slug holes?


My flowers have been beautiful this year too and have the added bonus of attracting beneficial insects onto my plot:

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It’s been a pleasure taking some cut flowers home too:



The only job I have really done at the allotment over the last few weeks other than watering and picking, is to plant a few more lettuces in my polytunnel, to keep us from running out:


I’m really amazed I managed to get them to fit in my polytunnel as it’s full to bursting point inside of it:



I still have so much to share with you, but I think I better finish for today.

I really hope you have enjoyed reading my blog.  I will be back on Monday as usual.