Tag Archive | Polytunnel

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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:

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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:

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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?

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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:

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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:

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

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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.

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A Bit of A flood And Work In My Polytunnel

After a weekend of wind and more rain, I visited my allotment yesterday, wondering what I would find.

The wind had blown my empty compost bin quite a distance:

It had also blown my arch over and broken it, though it was on its last legs anyway, after I had grown the heavy shark fin melon over it.

There is an old ‘dike’ that runs through our allotment site.  It has been dry for years until we had the summer of heavy rain and floods approximately five years ago, but it dried up again really quickly.   After all the rain we have had, the dike has been flowing again and unfortunately it runs across the middle of my four plots.

As long as it dries up in the next day or two then it should be ok.

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Yesterday, I worked in my polytunnel as it was looking a little bit uncared for.

 As it has been so wet outside recently, I haven’t been able to open it to allow the moisture to escape.  Unfortunately this has led to some of my summer lettuces suffering from Grey Mould (Botrytis cinerea), due to the moist conditions inside the polytunnel:

I removed the lettuces that were affected, but most of the summer lettuces were still looking good,  which is amazing as it’s nearly December:

After this, I noticed my cape gooseberries were affected with grey mould too, so I removed these.  I filled a small bag with the cape gooseberries that weren’t affected, so I am looking forward to a Cape gooseberry crumble tonight

I also removed the four old sweetcorn plants I had in my polytunnel and I managed to get four beautiful corn on the cobs from them.

I pulled up the dying pepper plants and planted some more winter lettuce that I had grown.

I had a general weed around the remaining plants and a tidy up.  It looked much better afterwards.

So, left in my polytunnel are the remaining summer lettuces shown above and my winter lettuces (below), which seem to be doing well:

Corn salad:

Mizuna:

Three turnips:

Celeriac:

And winter hardy spring onions:

So things are going well in my polytunnel:

Thank you for reading my blog today.

Garlic Bread and General Tidying Up At The Allotment

Today I have been weeding in my polytunnel.  It’s amazing how quickly the weeds are still growing in there.

The winter hardy spring onions and winter lettuces that I planted a couple of weeks ago are doing well now, together with the mizuna and corn salad.  I also have a tray of ‘miner’s lettuce’ in my polytunnel, which I am trying for the first time, but they aren’t big enough to plant yet.

I also had a tidy up outside of my polytunnel.  The calendula that looked so beautiful in the summer had finished flowering a few weeks ago and so I left it to set seed.

But now I decided it was time to clear it away into my compost bin.

The place certainly looks better now.

 

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I also weeded around the flowers that line my polytunnel, (lobelia which I grew from seed and the begonias that I bought really cheaply in the summer).  Both the flowers will die when we have a hard frost, but for now they are still flowering beautifully.

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Afterwards, I dug up some crazy paving that has been a magnet for weeds over the summer.

It takes me far too much time to keep weeding between the stones, so I have dug them up and sown some grass seed, while the soil is still warm enough for the seeds to germinate.

I dug and raked the area, trod all over it again (to give a firm flat surface) and then raked it again.  I spread some left over grass seed over the area and then raked the seed into the soil.  To keep the birds off the seed, I have put one of my cages over the area.  Hopefully, the seed will grow strongly and can be mowed with the other grass in the spring.

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Today for dinner we had pasta with a homemade tomato pasta sauce, a home-grown salad, with some homemade garlic bread.  You can find the recipe for the tomato pasta sauce here.

Garlic bread is really easy to make and tastes really nice too.

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Garlic Bread Recipe

 2 Large cloves of garlic chopped finely

100 grams of margarine

2 tablespoons of chopped parsley (or a teaspoon or two of dried parsley)

A baguette (I use homemade rolls)

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Preheat the oven Gas mark 6 / 200C / 400F

Mix all the above ingredients together.

Slice the baguette (or rolls) and spread the garlic butter over both sides of the slices.

Wrap the baguette in foil and place on a baking tray.

Bake for 10 minutes, until the margarine has melted.

Serve immediately.

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(I grow my own parsley and freeze it.  Therefore I just put a handful of the frozen parsley into the mix and it is fine using it from frozen).

 

Thank you for reading my blog today.

Watercress and Potato Soup and General Gardening

This morning I weeded and cleared my polytunnel of crops that had finished.

I managed to pick some onions, carrots, khol rabi and basil to take home.

I have cleared some space for my winter lettuces and hardy spring onions that I will plant next month and in the mean time I will be planting a few lollo rosso lettuces.

At the moment, I still have spinach, beetroot, cape gooseberrys, chickpeas, turnips, peppers and gherkins left growing in my polytunnel.

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Today at my allotment, I picked another basket of runner beans.  I gave half the basket away to my in-laws and I will freeze the other half.

I’m really pleased with my runner beans this year, as I am having a good crop and there are still loads coming

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My courgettes and patty pans are still producing well too

I also found some seeds that were half price today at ‘Wilkinsons’.  I always carry a list of seeds that I will need for the following year in my handbag, so if I find any in the sales I can buy what I actually need rather than buying duplicates.

Half Price Seeds

Yesterday I discovered that my watercress had self seeded and given me a second crop, so today I picked a bag full of it and I made Watercress and Potato soup.

It’s another easy recipe that tastes good served with homemade bread.

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Watercress and Potato Soup:

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350g Watercress washed

2 large onions chopped

700g potatoes chopped small

1 ½ pints of vegetable stock

1 pint of milk

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons of butter or margarine

Heat the olive oil in a large pan

Fry the onions on a low heat until they are just soft

While the onions are softening, cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water until soft (approx. 10 minutes).  Then mash the potatoes with the butter and some of the milk

While the potatoes are cooking, add the watercress to the softend onion and mix together.  Put a lid on and ‘sweat’ on a low heat for 15 minutes

Add the stock, the rest of the milk and potato to the pan with the watercress and onion in

Stir until all the potato is mixed in and bring it to a boil

Simmer on a low heat for a further 10 minutes

Put the contents in a liquidiser and whizz until the contents are smooth.  You may have to do this in batches.

Reheat the soup gently.

Serve with homemade bread.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.