Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Yearly Archive: 2007

Romanesco – Fractals

The wind was blowing a gale at the site today as we plodded over to the brassica cage for a second vegetable to go with our first picking of sprouts. Imagine our surprise when we spotted this beautiful pale green Romanesco. It is a truly lovely looking vegetable and living proof of the miracle of the mathematics of nature.

I ordered a DVD today for Rob’s Christmas present. It was ‘Grow Your Own’. I can’t wait to watch it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Grow-Your-Own-Olivia-Colman/dp/B000TQLIBA/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1202815917&sr=8-1

Solace and Mash

After a nasty bout of coughs and colds Rob and I didn’t feel much like plodding through the mud to take the chicken poo to the composters at the allotment. All the plots are mostly ‘put to bed’ now with some of the plotholders covering all with plastic sheeting. However our spirits were lifted by the site of burgeoning sprouts, hearting up red and green cabbages, new shoots from the broad beans and green healthy looking Parsley still there for the picking. Even the beds which we have been gradually topping up with our own compost from the ‘daleks’ were looking neat and satisfying.

mashRob set to and dug up a couple of fine parsnips and a couple of leeks to take home and make into soup. We shall soon be as fit as fiddles. The visit gave us both a boost and we began to plan for next year with new vigour. I see that Thompson and Morgan are selling the seed potato Vivaldi. I have already ordered my seed potatoes for next year but think I shall have to order some of them, they make the best mash ever. Now if I am planning on ordering more seed potatoes I must have been inspired as we lost almost our whole crop to Blight this year.

 

Autumn

A few of the Charlotte potatoes from this year’s harvest had spurted so I have put them in a pot in the lean to. To be continued……. Apart from tidying up and laying compost on the empty beds there is not much to report from the plot so I thought a picture of our grandaughter Libbie enjoying the Autumn leaves would brighten up the weblog.

Avalon – Butternut Squash

roasted butternut squash

Last night I cut up and roasted the first half of the butternut squash and we really enjoyed it. I was surprised to find that there were no seeds inside but was very pleased that we had found something new that we could grow again and enjoy eating. I understand that you can make a nice soup out of them too and look forward to trying that when we have enough which will probably be this time next year. Only one plant survived this year and only two fruit on that. We  cut the last pumpkin today and kept it ourselves having given the other two away. We also cut the other butternut squash and a decent cabbage. I managed yet again to pick enough runner beans for a meal. Rob sowed the last of this year’s broad bean seeds over on plot 18.

A Blizzard of Whitefly

I’m not sure if there is a collective noun for Whitefly but I think a blizzard would be the perfect one. We had decided to have two hours at the plots and we both had our jobs planned. Mine was to clear the flower bed and collect seeds from the Lupins then to collect seeds from the Sweet Peas. Rob’s was to empty the greenhouse. As we had finished with a half hour to spare I had the bright idea of giving the time to the sprout bed which needed the yellow leaves removing and the plants watering with soapy water. Big mistake! As soon as we started a cloud of Whitefly rose into the air and in no time the air was thick with them. We made a quick exit, running for the car followed closely behind by the nasties. We jumped in the car and slammed the doors shut still swatting them away. I fully expected to see Alfred Hitchcock peeping round the hedge.

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Strawberry Fields – Almost

Today we put the rhubarb to bed for the Winter. I put a layer of chicken poo on to the bed then covered it with straw and anchored it down with netting. The strawberries in the fruit cage have thrown out loads of runners and one of the tasks I set for myself today was to transplant some of them over onto the old bean trench on plot 18. I only took the runners that  had escaped from the fruit cage on to the surrounding paths and managed to put in about sixty new plants as well as giving about thirty to a new plot holder. I still have some to dig out of the path before I go into the cage itself.

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Rob has now dug up the whole of the carrot crop as I read somewhere that they could be spoiled by frost. We are very pleased with the harvest as our first efforts bore little resemblance to carrots as we know them. We still have lots of work to do and never seem to have enough time. We came home after two hours with backache, a cabbage, a couple of decent parsnips and three buckets of carrots. Time for tea I think.

Potato Famine

Rob has finally finished the heartbreaking task of digging over the potato beds on plot 18. I suppose I shall have to start buying potatoes from Sainsburys again. Blooming Blight! Never mind. The plot looks very tidy and we are planning to put a few loads of horse muck on the beds ready for next year. We cut the one big pumpkin and delivered it to our nephew, Matthew, who had asked us to grow one for him for Halloween. I harvested the remaining few beetroot and pickled them. I picked a few nice runner beans again but I feel this may be the last of them. I have left some bigger ones on for seed. Also brought back two lovely pointed cabbages, one for us and one for Roy and Janice. The carrots and parsnips are doing well and we have decided that next year we shall sow the seeds then count the days and harvest at the recommended time rather than letting them get too big. We bought some onion sets today from Focus, one Radar yellow, one Electric Red and one bag of white Snowball. We plan to put them over on plot 18.

radarwhitered baron

Autumn Sunshine

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
with fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run.

To Autumn – Keats

The leaves are starting to fall and there is a feel of Autumn in the air this morning. I love the Autumn even though it means the end of the growing season for most things. I really must soften the soil around the swedes and give them a water and a feed today. I also have some overwintering brassicas to plant out. The rest of the grim potato harvest is yet to be done. The strawberry runners are still waiting to be potted too. Autumn may be knocking at the door but there are still lots of jobs to do on the plots. Although when I set off to the allotment the sky was overcast and it looked like rain I enjoyed two hours of warm sunshine and managed to tick a couple of the jobs off our list.  After picking a few runner beans I weeded and hoed the swede bed and prepared the bed next to it for the brassicas. I transplanted all but a few of the overwintering greens and then gave the whole lot including the adjacent sprout cage a good watering with soapy water to get rid of the white fly which had already settled on to the new plants. Before leaving I covered the new row with wire cages to keep off the birds.