Sunday 26 September 2010

Potatoes Dug Up

Today was the day I finally dug up the 1st Early potatoes, Charlotte & Pentland Javelin, for winter storage.

But I must tell you all about my favorite digging fork, a Joseph Bentley -
Potato Fork.

Having long and flattened/rounded Tines, it's the perfect tool for digging up Potatoes and most root crops, in fact I use it as my main digging fork it's so good.

The flat rounded tines are great for lessening damage to your Potatoes when digging, as they push the spud sideways instead of puncturing it. Today I dug up almost 100Lb of Spuds and only damaged about 6.

The head is wider than most forks at 7" wide and the Tines are 11" long, the overall length is 42" ideal for taller people, as I am.

The Joseph Bentley website is shown
below, and their products are available from most D.I.Y shops, Garden Centers & the Internet.
Find the Potato fork on the 'Traditional Seasonal Products' page.

Although I had trouble tracking down a Potato Fork but finally found one on a well known online auction site.

A trug containing 60Lb of Charlotte Potatoes, I also dug up 35Lb of Pentland Javelin.

As it was a lovely sunny day it was easy to dry them off after digging, spreading them out on the soil, then I bagged them up into Hessian Sacks obtained from Marshalls (web address link on last weeks Blog).

Each sack contains about 30Lb of Potatoes, as you can see the labels are the same ones used to mark the rows on the Allotment, recycling at it's best.

So it was a very busy day, again today, still have the main crop Cara to dig up yet!

As I said earlier the sun was shining and other harvesting was done:

Runner Beans
and Squash

Thanks for reading/returning look out for next update. Ian.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Potato Yield comparison

I thought for a change I would show you the yields I got from this years Potato crop.

The 1st earlies I planted in March Charlotte did well again and 2 tubers (seed potatoes) produced 4LB 4oz (1.9 Kg).
These waxy potatoes are great hot or cold in salads etc.

The Pentland Javelin I grew as a 2nd Early & planted in April, also did well and 2 tubers produced 3Lb 2oz (1.4Kg) of perfect Spuds.
They have a more floury texture and boil really well.

But for a high yield Main crop you cannot beat Cara, also planted in April. I have grow these many times and 2 tubers produce 8Lb 13oz (4Kg).
They make great Jackets & Chips too.

This year all my Spuds have survived without major problems such as Eelworm & Blight, I did suffer a little with Scab, but that does not affect the taste and rubs/peels off easily.

Next year I think I will try a few different varieties:
1st Early Charlotte (again)
2nd Early Lady Balfour or Hunter (a new variety)
Main Crop Markies or Cara (again)
For more information on these & other Potatoes visit Marshalls web site:

It was a foul day weather wise today, so we only went down to harvest:

Runner Beans

* Here is a simple quick Raspberry Jam recipe:
Raw Raspberry Jam
Yields 1.5lb (675g)

1lb (450g) Raspberries
1lb (450g) Caster Sugar

1.Crush fruit slightly.
2. Put Sugar to warm in a very cool oven (Gas 1/4, 225 F, 110 C)
(put clean jars to warm into oven too)
3. Put fruit into in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir continuously until just boiling.
4. Take pan off heat and stir in the Sugar.
5. Return pan to low heat and stir until Sugar has completely dissolved. Stir until jam reaches boiling point.
6. If there are some whole fruits in the jam allow it to stand in the pan for a short time until a thin skin forms. Stir skin in gently then pour jam into pots, filling each one to the brim. This method ensures that the larger pieces of fruit remain suspended in the jam instead of floating to the top.
7. Put waxed paper discs on at once, waxed side down. Put the jam pot covers on immediately, or wait until jam is quite cold. Never put top covers on when jam is half way between hot & cold, condensation can form and this leads to mouldy jam.
8. Label jam pots with name & date and store in a cool, dry, dark place.
Ref: 'The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cook Book'

Thanks for reading/returning, look out for next up-date soon. Ian

Sunday 12 September 2010

Still Harvesting & it's almost Autumn

The Allotments still looking green and we are still Harvesting, more on that later.
Cant believe how much is still growing despite it getting cooler & getting dark earlier too.
But we are still planting, for over winter crops and Spring too.
Some raised beds, now empty, have been sown with 'Green Manure' which are plants high in
nutrients that can be grown over
winter and then in
Spring dug in to add goodness.

So back to today, we harvested quite alot, as you can see. But still haven't dug up the Spuds for storage, due to a recent back pain problem, don't want to risk any heavy digging until it's better.

So thanks for reading/returning and look out for next up-date soon. Ian.

Sunday 5 September 2010

New month, new planning

Well now that September is here, things are dying down, the Peas, Beans & most of the Fruit have finished.
Still have Potatoes to dig up and store & the late Raspberries are still producing lovely large fruits, the Brassicas, Sweetcorn & Squashes are also doing well, including a good crop of Sprouts, a must for Christmas.

Here you can see the Sweetcorn with a Pink Banana Skin squash in the background, seed kindly donated by a Twitter friend.

Although we have Cosmos growing all over our plot I particularly like this variety 'Pied Piper' with it's tubular petals.

Crops harvested this week:
Potatoes: Charlotte & Cara, Beetroot, Courgettes: Round & Regular, Runner Beans, Tomatoes, Spinach, Rocket, Chives & Late Raspberries.

Looking up the plot you can clearly see that it's still looking lush and green, on the left are most of the Brassicas & Sweetcorn, which as I said are still looking good and producing from 1st & 2nd planting.

Next job is to burn all the weeds & potato halums that have been cut off, then I can clear an area, just after the gate on the left, ready for the pond, so we can encourage more wildlife especially Frogs & Toads who love slugs & snails :)

Charlotte early Potatoes dug up today, still 3.5 rows to dig up and store, the picture shows how many we get from only 2 tubers, and there are 10 in each row. Should dig these in the next few days.

But the next biggest job is to dig up & store the main crop potatoes 'Cara' which are resting under soil as the halums have been cut off now.

Thanks for reading/returning, look out for next up-date next weekend. Ian