Sunday 29 September 2013

Another busy September day

So today was a dry day, a bit overcast at the start but the sun came out at mid-day. 
So it was nice to be on the plot. Here is one of the Butternut Squashes, they are just turning to a light gold colour so will be ready to be picked soon.
A good day for another Bonfire and quite a pile of weeds to burn! Check out my video to see where all the weeds came from.

So a good harvest again:
Runner Beans
and 2 Eggs. Yes Eggs, watch the video to see how.

Thanks for reading/returning/viewing. Ian

Sunday 22 September 2013

Summer returns briefly on the plot

Well what a difference in the weather, last week we had strong wind & rain, this week calm, sunny & warm, Summer is back, for a few days anyway. So we weeded the Potato patch so it will be easier to dig them up in a few weeks time, see later what I did with all the weeds.
While weeding the spud patch, I also dug up a few for meals in the forthcoming week. From left to right:
Charlotte 2nd Early. 2lb 4oz (approx 1kg)
Anya Salad, 2lb 12oz (approx 1.3kg)
Valour Main. 6lb 8oz (approx 3kg).

Not a bad harvest of other fruit & veg: 
Runner Beans 
Pati-Pan Squash 
We also picked our one and only Cox's Orange Pippin Apple, was lovely with some Wenslydale Cheese. 
I will prune the tree back in the winter and hope for a better crop next year, we only added the trees in 2011 so 3rd year should see a better yield.
Best place for them :)
So as I said a lovely return to Summer briefly, temps in double figures (20c). 
In the patch where the Bonfire is we are going to plant some more Brassicas Cabbage, Kale & some Spinach to grow over winter, we have some Onions too that will need to go in soon, so despite Autumns arrival we still have lots to do.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Monday 16 September 2013

Beetroot Wine from the Allotment

I have had lots of requests for my Beetroot wine recipe, so here it is for you too.

Beetroot Wine

3lb (1.4kg)Uncooked Beetroot
12 pints (6.8ltrs) Water
3lb (1.4kg) Granulated Sugar
6 Cloves
3 Unpeeled Oranges (washed & sliced)
Teaspoon of Wine Yeast

All equipment must be clean, best to sterilise with baby bottle cleaner or boiled water, preferably both, rinse well with clean cold water. Even the Muslin/Jelly Bag must be clean best to soak in Boiling water. 

Wash Beetroot well (do not peel). Cut into thin slices and put in a large pan, add water and bring to the boil, simmer for 40mins until Beetroot is tender.
Strain* off liquid into a 12 pint bowl (discard the Beetroot) put liquid back into the pan and add Sugar, Cloves and sliced Orange, heat gently for 15mins. Strain* the liquid back into bowl and leave to cool, best temp between 20-30 degrees then add yeast and cover with a cloth for 3 days, stir daily.

After 3 days, syphon into a Demijohn** (topping up with cooled boiled water) and leave to ferment, using an air-lock check daily until bubble rate stops, rack the wine into a fresh Demijohn to clear the sediment, do this twice over the next 3-4 weeks, then bottle into green bottles this is important to maintain the wines colour.

* Strain through Muslin cloth or a Jelly Bag, this way you will get a clearer wine.
** If you have brown glass demijohns that's ideal, if not just wrap a black bin bag around a clear one, as daylight can turn the beetroot wine brown. As you can see from my photo mine is a lovely purple/red as it should be.

Leave for 6 months, but drink within 2 years.

Good Luck. Ian.

Saturday 14 September 2013

The calm before the storm

Yes the forecast is for Autumn Storms tomorrow & I won't be setting foot outside, so I thought I would visit today and show you what's growing at the moment.

These are Squashes, just 2 of 5 that are growing well here.
Here is just one of the Patti Pan Squash plants, as you can probably see there are 5 fruits on this one. If you peel them, chop into largish chunks (removing the seeds as you go) place in a roasting tin with some black pepper & Olive Oil then roasted for 20 mins in a hot oven they are lovely.
The Bell Green Peppers are doing well, regular watering with Comfrey Tea added, has helped these get to the size they are in the Greenhouse.

The Long Red Peppers are also doing well, as I showed last month, still not turned red though, but still tasty sliced up on a Pizza.
Todays harvest:
Runner Beans
Courgettes (regular & round)
French Beans (green, purple & yellow)
An update on the 'Ulster Classic' potatoes I put in where the Onions were growing, so far only 6 have broken the surface, but as the temperature is dropping daily I have had to earth up to protect the young shoots.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 8 September 2013

Lovely September days digging, weeding & harvesting.

So as the title say's it was a lovely day to do some weeding. We also did some pruning of the fruit that had finished, Gooseberry, Blackberries, Black/Red Currants and the Blueberries all had a trim.
The forecast was for occasional showers, we did experience a few in the 3 hours we & our Chickens were there, but didn't stop us! 
Not a bad harvest too, we have been down a few times in the week and brought home similar harvests, one of the best has been Runner Beans (watch the video for the amount picked). 
Have bought some winter Onions 'Red Winter' and 'Senshyu' will start these off at home in cells first though.

If you remember our bumper harvest of Blackcurrants well about 6lb went into making 2 gallons (12 Bottles) of Wine, my daughter describes it as Alcoholic Ribena, but initial tasting puts it at med sweet, but must be left for at least 6 months before opening. But does taste lovely though I say it myself.

So as I mentioned check out my latest Allotment walkabout video, link below.

Thanks for reading/returning & viewing. Ian.

Sunday 1 September 2013

First of September on the plot

Good day to weed the Carrots a bit cooler and there was a breeze today, that thwarts Carrot Root Fly. Three types were sown here end of July, Early Nantes, Paris Market and Autumn King, the fleece tunnel was put back when weeding done. I have grown Carrots this way for a few years, the fleece tunnel in place from day one of sowing, as a Root Fly barrier. 
Our Allotment Society had a 'Show your own' event yesterday. We entered in 6 categories, the results as follows:
Wife's Blackcurrant Jam 1st.
Anya Potatoes 2nd.
Radar Onions 3rd.
Rhubarb & Pear Wine 3rd.
Butler Runner Beans & Charlotte Potatoes weren't placed. 

So back to today, not a bad harvest, the Potatoes are the first test digging of the Picasso main crop, and from just two seed potatoes the yield was 2.5lb so an estimated total yield of 45lb but wont be digging them all up just yet so there's time for the remainder to get bigger & heavier.
Needed to do a spot of weeding too today as a plot inspection was due, where the committee look for weedy plots! 
Our 'Eat what we Grow' is going well, still managing to fulfil our goal and having vegetable soup for dinner tonight, a lot of the veg harvested today, plus previously harvested Onions, were used :)

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian