It is official, we won’t go hungry this summer! Harvesting on the allotment has well and truly begun, especially the crop of courgettes, and we are eating more of our home-grown produce every day.
Previously I mentioned our salad crops and I can most definitely confirm that we are now eating plenty of fresh leaves. All those lettuce that TFG planted have plumped up, grown up and been pulled up. He’s sown more, however, I am more than happy to be eating a mountain of lettuce if it’s accompanied by something delicious on our outdoor grill. Isn’t that what summer meals are all about, especially when you’ve grown the veg yourself?
It would appear that we have grown some rather high-yielding courgette plants: the varieties are ‘Atena Polka‘ and ‘Sunstripe‘, both yellow cultivars. In the last week we have cropped thirteen fruit. I’m going to need to consult every cookbook I own in order to rustle up interesting menu options using courgettes. I particularly enjoy making chutneys and pickles but our tomatoes are not yet ripe and I don’t want to buy them when they’re growing on the allotment – I shall be patient…
Another crop we’ve been enjoying is beetroot. We sowed a packet of mixed colours and we’ve just cropped the traditional red along with white, gold and striped. Apart from a handful of white beetroot that I roasted for dinner (TFG confirms they were de-li-cious!), the rest of the crop were pickled. We have already sown another batch and they too are almost ready to be eaten.
My absolute favourite sandwich in all the world is fresh, thickly-sliced white bread stuffed with mature cheddar cheese, sliced pickled beetroot and lashings of mayonnaise. I can assure you that once the pickled beetroot is ready I will be enjoying that first sandwich of the season – my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
On the day that we cropped the beetroot, I also thinned out and cropped Swiss chard. I have grown the ‘Peppermint’ variety for a number of years, simply for the colour: it has bright neon-pink and white stems. However, I must confess that until this year I have never eaten any. Instead I have grown it, cropped it and given it away under the misapprehension that I wouldn’t like the taste. Well, how wrong can one man be?! We had Swiss chard simply steamed in a recipe with roasted white beetroot and it was delicious, We don’t talk about the rest of that particular meal: I didn’t know one could create lentil porridge until that evening … don’t ask!
Vegetables currently creating excitement and discussion on the allotment are the Tromboncino squash. They are romping away, producing lots of fruit as they go. Okay, they do look a little bit rude even to the non-smutty mind. Yes, they do grow very quickly and sowing more than half a dozen plants may have been a bit overzealous. No, I wouldn’t change a thing. They are super plants; one of my favourites on the allotment. Every day they grow around a foot or so, if not more, casting their long-reaching tendrils as they go, clinging to the frame we built and steadily getting higher and higher and higher. It’s the stuff that inspired Jack-and-the-beanstalk! During the summer you can treat Tromboncino as a courgette, picking when young and small. Later you can also leave them to ripen on the vine and use them as winter squash. They’re related to butternuts and their flesh tastes nutty so we are looking forward to eating them.
It’s not just edibles that are currently cropping. Our cut flowers are covered in blooms, in particularly the gladioli. I say ‘cut flowers’, but neither TFG or I can actually bring ourselves to pick the flowers and bring them home, preferring instead to leave them to the bees and butterflies, of which we seem to have many. Only yesterday we sat watching clouds of large white, orange-tip and meadow brown butterflies perusing the plot, along with some gigantic bumble bees.
As well as butterflies, the plot is currently smothered in ladybirds. They are everywhere and on everything. We have had a plague of black aphids and so the presence of ladybirds is welcome. They will hopefully consume their fill of the little blighters. We also appear to have a population of frogs that shelter under the shed. As they enjoy a meal of slugs or snails, they are also very welcome to stay as long as they like. Being on an allotment we are both mindful of the wildlife that frequents the area and are keen that we don’t harm the delicate ecosystem that we share with them. However, getting Millie to stop chasing foxes is going to take some time.
Last, but by no means least, there are dahlias. Oh my Lord, how I love them, but you already know that. It was my intention to devote an entire blog post to these wonderful blooms, however, I am pretty sure that TFG is going to show you all the flowers we are currently enjoying at the allotment. Instead I will leave you with the image below. It was supposed to be ‘Cafe au Lait Royale’, however, it plainly isn’t. Does it matter? When a bloom looks this good, who cares what it’s called? It is currently my favourite flower on the allotment. Once we know it’s name, will be one of my favourite Dahlia varieties. It is glorious!
I still have to remind myself that we have only had the plot since January of this year. When I stand in the middle of it, surrounded by vegetables and flowers that we have grown, some of them towering over me, it fills me with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Every time I visit I say to myself, ‘…we did this, we grew all of this and it looks fantastic!…‘ and it does, it really does.
Happy Gardening One and All.
Categories: blogging, Dahlias, Flowers, Fruit and Veg, Garden Wildlife, Our Allotment, Seeds and Sowing, Uncategorized
28 comments On "And So It Begins…"
I think what you did is absolutely amazing. As ramshackled as it appeared in the beginning to this is unbelievable in one growing season. You both deserve a pat on the back. Just seeing those beets makes my mouth water. Carry on…
Lisa, thank you for your kind words. It’s been all kinds of hard work (the manure deliveries alone nearly broke me!) but it has most certainly been worth every minute, especially now, literally seeing and enjoying the fruits of our labours.
That’s a fabulous result in your first year with the allotment.
Thank you, Paddy. We’re pleased as punch with the results.
Gorgeous produce! Just gorgeous! Enjoy!
We are, although, I’m not sure how much longer we will be ‘enjoying’ Courgette 😉
Absolutely fantastic and amazing ! One would think you have had this allotment for years ! And the colours are just wonderful. Bravo !
Some days, after some hard work on the plot, it certainly feels like years….. 😉
Oh, d’you know, l was actually feeling rather pleased with how my salads and my little allotment were looking – and then l saw your post!! l am now feeling distinctly inferior, not least because my photography is far inferior to yours (as are my beetroot)…….must try harder! Nevertheless, thank you for another wonderful post, you have both worked wonders with that plot in such a short space of time.
Thank you for your kind words Jack, however, you shouldn’t feel inferior at all. You’re growing and, I hope, succeeding to pick crops and that’s to be applauded. Professional, amateur or otherwise, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re happy and you’re getting results. I could tell you all about the mistakes I’ve made on the plot, the things that haven’t worked, etc, but I won’t. As for photography, most of the pictures I take are literally ‘point and click’ on my iPhone, nothing more than that.
Huge congratulations on your amazing allotment and I am definitely going to try that sandwich combination! Stay well x
You will not be disappointed – it is delicious!
It’s the right shape for cafe au lait but more raspberry slushie in colour 😀
Identified or not, it’s a beauty isn’t it?!
Such beautiful photos! Try the chard in enchiladas, it’s delicious. Just chard cooked until limp, a bit of enchilada sauce, sour cream, a bit of shredded cheese (either cheddar or Monterey jack). I like to use softened corn tortillas. Then more sauce over the rolled enchiladas and cooked until all nice and melded together.
TFG is busy saving all the recipe ideas we have been receiving for our glut of Courgettes, however, I am totally surprised at how delicious the chard is. I am a convert. Thank you for the recipe suggestion Lisa.
Lovely post and plot – realised I was smiling as I read it. You make a great team.
We do don’t we?! (and I smiled as I typed that) 😀
I am always amazed as your being able to maintain your home gardens and now this is absolutely spectacular. Applause for all your hard work and enjoy your harvest because you earned it. 🙂
Thank you so much. We have absolutely no free time at all, it’s either work, the gardens or the allotment, however, I wouldn’t change a thing. Life, as they say, is good…..and long may it continue.
Oh, you get to grow some fun squash or courgettes. I prefer to grow the common zucchini because they are the most reliable and most productive, . . . but they are not my favorite. I added some common yellow crook neck squash this year. I prefer them, but they are not quite as productive. It would not matter so much in a bigger garden.
For beets, I also prefer the common ‘Detroit’ dark red, rather than all the other colored sorts. To me, they seem to have the richest flavor.
Your gladiolus are RAD!
I enjoy the yellow courgettes, the colour is so jolly, and they do look great jutting our from the parent plant, when ready to be cropped. However, perhaps we shouldn’t have planted quite so many plants!!!
The Gladioli are indeed very RAD!
It is beautiful. You have accomplished much in one season!
Thank you Leslee 🙂
What a crop! My cucumber plant has been yielding so much and we’re guaranteed to have tomatoes up to our ears once they ripen!
Us too….the tomatoes are just coming into their own. Can’t wait to start creating sauces and chutney and ratatouille, etc!
The dahlia is the fabulous Emory Paul.
Hello Bertie, we believe it to be Café au Lait Rose…..