Friday, 4 September 2009

The award winning cabbage

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I came third in the Alton Allotment Association annual show, best cabbage catagory.

Not bad for my first attempt!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Strawberry Jam

The strawberry patch has come on a long way since I first started with 4 plants. I have just harvested a large bowl full this evening and put some aside for eating but there are just too many. Not wanting to waste such a lovely crop I set about making some more jam with the other 1½kg.

Beth's made a runny strawberry jam before from Sarah Raven's cook book but I prefer something a little more set. Drawing on my apple and blackberry jam making earlier this year I've set about (pun intended) making something by combining that recipe with Sarah's. I've just finished so the jury is still out on the results, perhaps an update or comment to this post at a later date will be in order.

Just so I remember what on earth I did...


  • 1½kg freshly picked strawberries, halved.
  • 1kg high pectin sugar (I use Silverspoon Jam Sugar with Added Pectin).
Put the strawberries in a pan and heat gently while stirring. When they are coming to the boil add the sugar and stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Mash the mixture with a potato masher (or put in a blender if you want it really fine) to smooth it out to your desired texture. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil, continue to boil and stir until the setting point is reached. Setting point should be around 105 degrees celsius, test on a cool plate. I boiled for around 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash some jars and lids. Sterilise them by placing on a tray, then put into the oven on 160 degrees celsius. Once the oven has reached temperature turn it off and leave the jars in the oven until you need them.

Allow the mix to cool a little before transferring to the sterile jars. Add wax discs (wax side up) and put the lids on.

Job done. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Rhubarb Patch

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Our Rhubarb is doing incredibly well again this year. I've picked loads (our freezer is bursting) and given loads away to friends and family too and it's still got another good pick in it yet!

I've no idea what variety this is (we inherited it from the previous plot holder) but it seems to come up earlier than all the others around us and is a prolific grower too.

Allotment Overview

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Have a look at the picture on Flickr (click the picture) where you will be able to see a load of notes giving a brief tour around our plot as it's in full swing at the moment.

Onions Drying

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We're past the longest day of the year now, traditionally when we pick our over-wintering onions and garlic. They're all lined up on the shelf in our shed now for drying before being hung for storage at home.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Garden Salad

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First pick of the new year from around the allotment and back garden.

The salad contains a cos lettuce and a bunch of other lettuce leaves, radish, and chive flowers.

Lovely. Had it with steak and home made potato wedges

Monday, 23 March 2009

More Blackberry and Apple Jam

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After Beth's successful attempt at making this jam before we thought it would be great to have another go with the remaining 3Kg of Blackberries we've had in the freezer over winter.

Asparagus Planting

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Our new asparagus plants arrived a couple of weeks ago and we finally got around to putting them in the ground this weekend, me helping where I could one-handed style.

First soak the asparagus in water for a couple of hours. While waiting, dig a trench and mix some compost in the bottom, water well.

Make a hump at the bottom of the trench such that the asparagus roots can be places over it with the shoot pointing upwards on top. Then cover with soil to a depth of an inch or so and job done.

We'll have to wait another couple of years before we can harvest anything from these.

Thanks to John and Liza for helping out digging trenches while I'm still injured.

Spuds are going in again

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I'm injured at the moment and unable to do any of my usual heavy work at the allotment. Fortunately, we have some good friends both at the allotment who have offered to help out, and locally who came to do a load of digging for us.

Many thanks to Liza and John who don't have their own allotment plot but were prepared to lend a hand when it was really needed. Although I suspect a labour exchange will take place when I'm fit again to get their veggie plot going at home!

In this picture, Beth and Liza are busy filling in the recently dug trench with lots of lovely new potatoes.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Friday pm at the allotment

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I'd last been down on Saturday (31st Jan) afternoon, and there were lots of people out and about digging and what have you - a really warm day when you think Spring is coming. I was very tempted to join them, but I needed to get on with other things, so just dumped our latest load of veg peelings from the house and picked some swede for dinner that night and grabbed my box of seed.

We awoke on Monday (2nd Feb) to snow. Was somewhat glad that I hadn't spent time on Saturday digging.

This picture was taken on Thursday, we'd had a little more snow on Tuesday, during Wed/Thurs night, and can report when I'm blogging this on Friday afternoon, it's snowing again.

So what to do when the snow is on the ground - I've been planning - sorted out a rough planting schedule and also the lay out for this coming year.

Will start planting seeds in the next couple of weeks at home, and look to get things into the ground in March.

Taken from the shed - finally decided to grab my wellies and the spade