31 July 2010

Gardening with the kids

School holidays are here and they're already bored, so a trip to the allotment was in order. They largely moan at the thought of this but always enjoy themselves when they get there, and today was no different. So they came, dug, planted, ate, argued and got muddy. Very muddy. So much so they needed a complete change of clothes when we got home!

First they tortured some worms:

Then they planted some leeks:

Big brother made the holes and his sister planted the leeks. After watering them in they had a snack on some fresh peas before checking on how the carrots were doing under the fleece:

"It's a whopper!" Yes that's why he actually said after pulling up that carrot! It might not be the biggest carrot in the world, but it's probably the biggest I've ever grown so he's right in one way!

His sister was quite excited with her carrot as well. Then of course they ate them.

The arguments started to come along a bit more frequently after that so we took this as a sign to go home (picking another courgette first) where they proceeded to eat courgette, mint and feta 'cakes' (savoury) and then courgette cake (sweet) later.

29 July 2010

Catch up

The last month has seen a lot of strawberries, tidying and weeding, followed by a holiday and a couple of plots looking like I hadn't done any weeding... I know it's goes with the territory but apparently the allotment officer came round to inspect plot no 2 this week again when it was look a complete mess - aaarrrrggghhhh! The stone wall falling down at the front of the plot isn't really helping matters. Guess I'll be getting another letter soon...

Anyway, back to the review. The last month has seen a couple of firsts. Despite having the most unhealthy look plants I managed to grow one Okra. I hate Okra, but Mrs D likes it and confirmed it was tasty. Not sure it was worth all the effort to be honest and so far one Okra off for four plants (not to mention those that died in the cold weather earlier this year) isn't a great return, but there are a couple more growing.

Secondly, my first tomato grown at home. I know it's pretty sad, but I always fail to grow them for various (neglectful) reasons, but the one taking over the attic room is doing very well and has begun to fruit. Weather we get enough to make sauce from them is another matter altogether... Must get the greenhouse put up!

Now, the strawberries - gratuitous gloating follows! We've had a lot, even to the point of giving some away. They were great strawberries this year and to celebrate we made a lot of stuff with them:

Strawberry cheesecake
Strawberry flan
Strawberry jelly
Jam in the making
Jam, which did set, bit runny but the way we get through it, it's not going to be a problem!

We've had quite a few peas - all of which have been eaten straight from the pod, largely by the kids - and broad beans, although I never seem to get as many as I'd like - we like broad beans a lot! We're eating Charlottes for several meals a week, and very tasty they are too. Kids haven't started complaining we're having them too often either, so I take that as a sign they like them as well! The French beans (Major) are just starting off - they've been having to compete with the weeds so haven't been doing so well and some of my dwarf beans appear to have developed a climbing habit... Must have got mixed up with the labelling somewhere!

The summer raspberries are doing OK, most of the gooseberries seem to have been eaten (by what?) as did the red currants (must put netting on better next year).

Then we went on holiday for a week and this happened:

We ended up with 16 courgettes/marrows, all the lettuce ready at the same time (of course), some of the main crop peas coming through, good sized beetroot and some reasonable (it's all relative!) sized carrots. We're currently working our way through many different courgette recipes However, I'm with Nigel Slater - we should call them Zucchini it just sounds much more exciting!