After our lovely trip to The Eden Project last week we’ve been throwing ourselves into our allotment. We’ve more or less got everything in place for this season. All the seedlings have been moved out of the greenhouse (Or as Miss T calls it ‘The Mini Eden Project’) to make way for the plants that will grow in there over the summer; Jalapeño Chillies, ‘California Wonder’ Capsicum Peppers, ‘Marketer’ Cucumbers and some fancy Thai Cucumbers donated to me by my lovely allotment friend. She uses her plot to grow all the Asian Vegetables that she cannot buy in our supermarkets. She gave me a pack of cucumbers that she swears will make great pickled gherkins (my most recent food obsession) and some “Chinese Pumpkins”which were pretty seeds painted gold. I have no idea what kind of pumpkins they will be but I’m looking forward to finding out! Also in Mini Eden are my Sweet Potatoes (‘Beauregard’). They arrived a few weeks ago about an hour before we were due to go away for the weekend so were hastily planted into the biggest pots we could find. At the moment they seem to be doing OK but I might have to rethink them sometime soon.
‘Plot A’ is peas and beans, although most of my French Beans have already been decimated by the slug population that lives in our neighbours bramble. We’ve planted some more in the cold frame in the hopes that we can fill the gaps. We’ve also planted spare lettuces and beetroot in this plot and are saving space for the experimental celery. I’ve never done celery before and have no idea if it’s going to work. I have moved all my brassicas into the holding bed to go into Plot A once the legumes have moved on.
‘Plot B’ is our Misc bed this year. There’s lettuces, rainbow chard, courgettes and outdoor tomatoes. The courgettes are already in flower and we picked our first crop this week. (Recently Mr B made a delicious sausage and roast vegetable dinner which included our courgettes and a mushroom, courgette and bacon pasta sauce. Yum!) This bed should have our Pumpkins and Butternut Squash in as well but there was no room so we have planted them separately. We’ve never done butternut squash before but were very jealous of our other neighbour who grew them last year.
My favourite thing is that, now we have planted everything out, there are plants left over which I have been able to share with friends. Members of my regular roleplaying group have taken some tomatoes, chillies, peppers and pumpkins and I have delivered more of these along with courgettes and cucumbers to friends in the neighbourhood. A couple of weeks ago we took a load of plants up to our friends smallholding and traded them for fresh eggs and the chance to play with the piglets. I love spreading the green love and look forward to seeing their harvests come on as well.
If anyone is wondering ‘Plot C’ is our roots bed; beetroot, parsnips, onions, carrots and garlic. We’re doing considerably better with roots this year, last year I failed to grow parsnips and most of our carrots failed to germinate.’Plot D’ is Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes which are doing fantastically as always
We’ve also been out foraging this week for elderflowers to make cordial and champagne. The cordial has been a success (and has been used to mix with gin and to make ice lollies) but the champagne is slow to start. We hoped that there would be enough natural yeast on the flowers but we think we might have accidentally put them into the water too hot. We’ve added some yeast now and it’s well away so we should have champagne to drink in a couple of weeks.
In Knitting News I have been working on a Goat Hat this week to send to a customer in Minneapolis. This time I decided I was going to try to reinforce the horns with pipecleaners and it has produced a different looking hat. The horns are now slightly posable which means that the hat can either have upright goat horns or more curly ram horns or, I suppose, bend Highland Cow horns or crazy confused horns. I haven’t tested all the possibilities! If you’d be interested in a horny hat of your own you can check it out on Etsy.