This week, making grape jelly and planting onions, shallots and garlic.
GOT ANY GRAPES?
The grapevine on Plot 35a is one of the things I like the most about my allotment. It is the jewel in the crown: a gigantic vine that every summer produces hundreds of bunches of grapes. In some ways, it is so simple [...]
Last weekend I put down my Japanese razor hoe and went to judge other people’s plots in the finals of Britain’s Best Allotment. The results will be revealed during National Allotment Week next week, so I can’t say too much here, apart from thanking the lovely people who invited me and my fellow judges onto [...]
In my last post I wrote about picking the last of the peas and broad beans from the central bed and removing the spent plants. Normally I would cut the plants down to the ground and leave the root systems in place because legumes, particularly the broad beans, develop nodules on the roots of mature [...]
In gardening, some things are perfectly named – runner beans can run away up the bean poles, say, and there are a whole host of diseases and disorders which have does-what-it-says-on-the-tin names: scab, brown rot and bitter pit alone in apples… But the squash, the autumnal cousin of the courgette, the fancier sister of the [...]
I have been watering my plot for nearly an hour, first thing in the morning or late in the evening, just before it gets too dark to see my way back to the allotment gate, to prevent this heat destroying my months of hard work. My vegetables and fruit bushes are teeming with crops now, [...]
I have recently rediscovered one of my favourite films from childhood, Jean de Florette. It is one of the greatest-ever in the French language. Directed by Claude Berri, from the original Marcel Pagnol film and novel, about Provencal farmers and a tussle over land and water. A peasant farmer who wants to grow carnations has [...]
The difference between the start of the month, when the days were bright and sunny and a languid Indian Summer warmth hung over Plot 35a, and now, with wind, rain, thunder, lightning, has drastically changed my allotment. Suddenly, as if overnight, foliage has begun to shrink away. Leaves falling off trees and the grapevine has [...]
After the stunning kitchen garden at my Aunty Liz and Uncle Tom’s Baltic-side bolthole in Finland last week, back to a bump in Blighty and the overgrown paths at Plot 35a. Actually, I only left the plot for a week, not two as I usually do for a summer holiday, and popped up there before [...]
Roasted cauliflower gets a lot of attention in my kitchen. But here go for something different with a twist on a classic family favourite of cauliflower cheese.
Last weekend it was hard to believe it was still March, with the temperature as high as 18C (although it felt much warmer on the allotment site, as we are sheltered on one side by trees and the other by houses. The warmth has triggered an explosion of buds on the fruit trees and bushes, [...]
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