Posts Tagged ‘Autumn Gold raspberries’

A bit of a stink at the allotments this weekend!

July 6, 2011

Hands up who thought I meant trouble was brewing at the William Fowler Allotments in Chipping Norton?  Sorry to disappoint, but the ‘stink’ was of our own making.  With the cabbage white butterflies starting to appear and look longingly at our brassicas, it was time to spray with the noxious rhubarb jollop.  

We’ve made ‘comfrey cordial’ this year for the first time and we were warned it ponged at bit.  Well it is positively aromatic by comparison to the rhubarb leaf solution.  Needless to say it’s a job we do just before leaving, but it is gratifying to see the butterflies circling and quickly changing their minds!

Our allotment experience this weekend was low-key.  The weeds were under control, there was nothing to plant, so we enjoyed some leisurely R & R while pottering in the sunshine.

Onward peas

An abundance of peas

It was a red-letter day on the picking front when we harvested the first of our peas.  I love peas! It’s a family thing as my daughters and granddaughters share my passion.  But this year our peas look good enough and plentiful enough to grace the front of a seed packet.  I’m not sure what we can attribute the results to. Could it be they were planted straight in the ground?  Are the Onward variety more suited to our soil, or are they benefiting from the lashings of organic chicken poo pellets?  I don’t know, but whatever the reason, we have the best crop of peas ever.

When we used to grow a few veggies in our back garden, we never realised what a constant battle growing your own really is.  I don’t know how commercial growers, particularly the organic ones, make a living.  Each time we foil one pest or problem, another comes along to take its place.

This week was the turn of the broccoli (calabrese to be precise).  We have never been successful with broccoli, normally getting one tiny flower which opens and goes to seed before getting any bigger.  In accordance with my zero tolerance policy this year (if it doesn’t work we don’t grow it), it was the broccoli’s last chance.

mouse damage to broccoli

Best broccoli and nibbled broccoli!

Perhaps like the peas, it has enjoyed the poo pellets, but this year we have proper broccoli!  At least we did until something started eating it.  We ruled out birds – even using the netting as a trampoline wouldn’t give them access.  The only answer we can come with is mice and / or voles.  We know they are there in abundance, but for the past three years we’ve rubbed along together.  But perhaps we will need to think about some measure of control … or pick all the broccoli when it’s still too small to matter! On the plus side, we did manage to get at least one decent head which escaped the rodent attack.

To end this week’s log – another success story.  Our Autumn Gold raspberries, which don’t know one season from another, are going mad.  Having picked a good couple of pounds of them, it was time for the first jam making of the season.  Now we don’t actually eat jam, but the family are always willing to help us out.

Golden raspberry jam really is delicious, but it’s a bit of a culture shock.  Raspberry jam is of course traditionally red – so having raspberry flavour from something which resembles apricot really doesn’t add up!  I’ve added our seedless raspberry jam recipe to our blog here, so you can try it for yourself.  Enjoy!


Rain stopped allotment play

May 9, 2011

Yes – rain!  At long last we’ve had some significant wet weather. Typically of course it was over the weekend and not during the week when we really wanted it.

It’s a bit hard updating a blog when there is nothing to report, but I’ll do my best.  After all, I am meant to be a writer and I did promise to post weekly.  While it was too wet to do anything on the plot, we did of course pop up between showers to take a look see.

Carrot enclosure

The carrot enclosure

Now while I promised not to be obsessed with carrots this year, we have still spent more time than I care to mention peering optimistically into the carrot enclosure.  With what results?  I know you’re dying to know what’s happened!  OK, I won’t keep you in suspense … in carrot bed A, planted with Chantenay Red Cored … a big fat zilch!  Not a single thing to be seen, apart from the odd weed that is.  So the clock is ticking … if they haven’t put in an appearance by the weekend, their time is up and the bed is being given  over to beetroots.

But … in carrot bed B … success! The Early Nantes are up and quite prolific they are too!  I can’t begin to describe the excitement and a sense of relief.  I don’t actually like cooked carrots, but love them raw, and carrot juice mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice is out of this world.  But none of that compares to the heady perfume of home grown carrots when they are pulled from the ground!

Autumn Gold raspberries in bud

Autumn Gold raspberries - covered in buds

Our Autumn Gold raspberries are worthy of a mention too. They clearly don’t understand the seasons as they fruit throughout the summer and well into the autumn.  While we can count the number of red raspberries we’ve had on one hand, the Autumn Gold ones are quite amazing.  If you’re looking for a high yield raspberry … look no further!

While rain stopped play at the allotment, a few dry spells allowed me to plant a few more modules of sweet corn.  We have never had much luck germinating corn, only having around a 30% success rate.  We’ve tried them in the plant house, on the window ledges, and straight in the ground.  The germination rate has been consistent, if nothing else.  So if anyone has any green-fingered tips for growing sweet corn, they would be very welcome.

Finally, our window ledges are being taken over by

Cosse Violette French Beans

French beans gone mad!

rampaging French Beans.  They have gone quite mad and are going to need to be planted very soon.  Let’s just hope the weather permits.  Last year I made some weather notes in our online diary.  I can say with authority … on the 13th May 2010 … Chipping Norton had a heavy frost.  Best leave the beans where they are for now then.

I seem to have written quite a lot for someone who started this post with nothing to say …

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