Monday, August 27, 2007

Rooting out roots

Using the azada and right-angled fork from, we've been digging and weeding this weekend. The fork is proving itself excellent for grubbing up couch grass. I've been following Somebeans as he digs, pulling out the roots. Slowly, neatness is being produced...
Below is some of the produce we gathered on Saturday: a couple of tiny heads of calabrese, lots of lettuce leaves, runners, borlotti beans, french beans, my first tomato of the year (Orange Banana), courgette, carrots, radishes and two types of potato. Good stuff!
SomeBeans has been very busy and produced this wonderful structure on number 99 - a stonking new compost bin. It's been built to allow for expanson, too - Somebeans says that putting extra bays on will be easy enough. It has been completely filled with the piles of vegetation he's scythed down over the past few weeks.

Brilliant stuff! And soon, it'll be the time of year when the weeds will stop growing - won't it?!?

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I've been making use of some of our harvest this weekend. It's been raining pretty much non-stop all weekend, so I've kept myself busy indoors. I made 1lb of bramble jam from blackberries I picked on the allotment site. I also made some red onion marmalade with some of the 'Red Baron' onions grown from sets this year. It's delicious and very simple to make.

We did get down to the plot but pretty much only to harvest some bits and pieces. Harvested: 'Bonnie' potatoes, 'Pink Fir Apple' potatoes (tiny but will taste nice and won't grow any bigger as I had to cut the haulms off due to blight), courgette '8 ball' (we're having stuffed courgette later in the week), Chantenay carrots, the first of the runner beans (only 2 or 3 though), ditto Borlotti beans. Tasty!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We went down to the plot last night. Somebeans finished 'phase 1' on plot 99: he's scythed down all of the long vegetation.

We discovered a small toad on the plot, but didn't have a camera to take a photo. Unfortunately, it didn't look big enough yet to ravage slugs, but given time and a lot of friends, it might reduce mollusc populations a bit.


The gladioli are looking good - we've had 3 harvests so far. Next year I'll have to plant successionally to extend the season.

I also picked some more blackberries- they are looking so good at the moment. Time to surf for some more blackberry recipes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Food for free

The blackbirds have stopped singing, the nights are drawing in and now blackberries are ripe - a sure sign of the coming autumn.

I made a delicious use of free blackberries (overgrown allotment plots are useful for something, at least): blackberry crumble cake. A basic sponge base (made with plain flour) dolloped into a 2lb loaf tin, around 200g of whole blackberries thrown on top, and then a generous amount of crumble mix on top of that. Bake and enjoy!

The recipe can be found on the link below, but it has the wrong temperature for baking, and some of the ingredient weights are a little bizarre - I followed the amounts for crumble from a cookery book rather than the weights stated here which seemed to have far too much butter for the amount of flour. Note to self: make again next year, and would also be excellent with raspberries instead.

Original recipe:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Elephant garlic

We don't use an awful lot of garlic in cooking, but I though I'd try growing elephant garlic. I planted the cloves in October (the first crop to go into the allotment, pretty much) and it's now ready for harvesting.

I harvested the first head on Friday and it does look impressive! It's supposed to be more closely related to the leek than normal garlic and so has a less pungent flavour. I roassted the whole bulb at a lowish heat for 1.5 hours and I've squeezed some of the flesh onto potatoes before roasting - very nice. I've now found a recipe for roasted pork loin with elephant garlic and spice rub, which sounds rather nice!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Playing 'catch up'

What with holidays and rain, it's taken a few weeks to catch up with weeding on 97A. Now that's nearly done, and it's starting to get to the stage where harvesting will come to the fore.

SomeBeans continues his toil on 99, and we've put down some weed suppressant membrane to try and reduce regrowth where he has hacked down the undergrowth. We will continue to dig this.

Blight having struck the potatoes, I have cut down the infected haulms to ground level, in the hope that it won't have had a chance to travel down to the spuds. The potatoes I dug up on Friday looked good. I've ordered some sacks so that I can dig up the remains of the potatoes ASAP, to reduce the risk of attack by slugs whilst underground.

Photo of potato beds with foliage removed

Our first courgette was harvested - very nice lightly fried in butter. I also harvested and roasted a bulb of elephant garlic. This has proved to be a hit, with some of the flesh squished into potatoes during roasting to give a mild garlic flavour. We haven't had to buy potatoes since May, which is hardly self sufficiency but still is exciting to me!

In the garden, the Californian poppies have been ruthlessly uprooted as I decided they were too untidy. This has luckily given me lots of space - to plant more plants! :) I bought a variety of plants from Penlan nurseries - most of the plants have now been put into the ground. The plants arrived promptly and were a good price - a recommended supplier. The front garden will have some of the love-in-a-mist removed, and hardy geraniums put in, to tidy it up a bit.

And, living up to the name of the blog, the Inelegant Gardener has a rather inelegant tanned segment on her back, from weeding in the sun in a tee-shirt which doesn't quite cover her back! Still, cheaper than a tattoo...