FEDAGA allotment show 2010

Just back from the FEDAGA allotment show. It’s a great piece of organisation and over a hundred people turned up, and there was a great buzz in the hall.

This morning we had to set up the produce between 8am and 9am. If I’d had my bike it would have been simple, but trying to get across town by bus was a bit fraught and so I reached the community centre with 20 minutes to set up. I also had 7 categories of produce (which is up from the 3 categories I exhibited in last year) and that took more time to register…

Peas, Greenshaft
Potatoes, Charlotte
Runner beans, Hestia (dwarf)
Shallots, Red sun
Onions, Sturon
Blackcurrant Jam
Rhubarb and ginger jam

Most of the other exhibitors were much higher quality so I didn’t expect to win anything, so I was pleasantly surprised to pick up a third place in the shallots. Am a little disappointed not to get anything form the (competitive) blackcurrant jam category because I think mine was quite delicious.

entry card for shallots category

She who knits certainly showed that she can knit, and won the cup for handicrafts. Congratulations to her! And perhaps next year she’ll spend a little bit more time at the allotment helping out ;-)

first and second place in the knitting category

big smiles from the winner!

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Last of the broad beans

Two quick visits to the plot today. I took the daughter on the first one, and she was fantastic. Second one I got bitten to death by the midges…

Picked the last 250 grammes of broad beans (that weight is when they’re podded but not yet shelled). The daughter picked some blackcurrants and redcurrants and I’ve bought some strawberries, so it’s Summer pudding tomorrow. That’ll be after a main course of egg fried rice with spring onions, peas, broad beans, mushrooms and carrots. The onions, peas and beans are from the plot.

I also have a glut of turnips, but suspect they’d not work well in the stir fry :) They’ll go with a massive haggis that she who knits bought from costco.

Managed to blanch 175 grammes of the beans for freezing, but worried about the amount of energy that it’s taken to prepare them. Next year I’ll sow beans every two weeks for eating fresh and have a patch from which I can pick and freeze a significant quantity.

Recieved two courgette plants from a neighbour.

Sage and hyssop seem to have settled in OK: the sage is standing proud; the hyssop has started to flower.

Wildlife count: 1 teeny-tiny frog, 1 grasshopper, plenty of spiders, way too many midges.

Currently have 1 empty bed, 3 empty half-beds, and 2 empty 1/3 beds. I’ve also got spaces where I have to build 2 new beds.

Oh yeah … and Go Bradley!.

Summer bounty

Hectic, hectic month on the plot. Tidied up, built a raised bed, planted seeds that I’ve germinated in my new greenhouse, moved stuff around on the plot… and over the last few days I’ve been harvesting and preserving produce. I’ve made cordials, frozen beans, preserved some garlic in extra virgin olive oil, eaten loads of vegetables, and the biggest success has been today’s strawberry ice.

strawberry granita, with a helper

strawberry granita, with a helper

The girl is helping out so much. She loves it, and she’s getting the hang of the plot. Yesterday a pal joined her and she delighted in showing him around. I was so proud when they were watering the peas, she moved along the row whilst the pal was static.

kids looking intently at a bug

kids looking intently at a bug

And here’s her lovely grin

lovely grin on the girl, who's standing in front of the blackcurrant bushes

lovely grin on the girl, who's standing in front of the blackcurrant bushes

By the way, we love her frog t-shirt. And this is a frog in our garden — a benefit of letting the grass grow long.

a frog in our garden

a frog in our garden

As usual when there’s a situation where nature is running its course , I’m reminded of a Summer haiku by Issa:

Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
casually

The rocket starts

Nice family trip to the plot today — a low impact way to spend the bank holiday Monday.

The rhubarb’s still going strong and now the rocket and spinach are ready for harvesting. It’s nerve-wracking, really, ensuring that the food’s not wasted. And I can see the blackcurrants swelling but still green, the garlic strong, the beans in flower; more picking and preserving needed throughout the Summer.

Today’s work: weeding, weeding, weeding; planted a row of peas with the girl; planted 25 French beans around the tepee.

Planting peas with gusto

Planting peas with gusto

Today’s haul: 1.8 kg of rhubarb that’s gone straight into the freezer in 300 gramme bags; 125 grammes of spinach that’s maturing in a dahl sag for tomorrow night’s tea; 250 grammes of rocket that she who knits made into a jar of pesto.

Picking rocket with the girl

Picking rocket with the girl

Rocket pesto - we put it through the hand blender next

Rocket pesto - we put it through the hand blender next

tidying up the plot

The warning letter says I’ve got to get the plot tidy before 26 March, so I’ve been down to the plot twice this weekend.

Yesterday: mended the broad bean supports; dug over the bed for leeks; rooted up the bramble on the side of the plot; cut back the oregano; and cut the grass on the paths. Made it back home in time to watch the Scotland-Ireland match, ordered take-away curry, had a bath and was in bed by 9:30.

Today: finished digging the bed by the compost bins (it’ll probably get peas), and dug in a barrowful of manure; answered a master composter question; cut back another bramble; weeded the rhubarb and put manure around the crowns, which are just starting to poke out off the ground.

That’s 5 hours of work this weekend, and I suspect I’ll sleep like a log again tonight. But for now, I’m going to brew some coffee and listen to the Food Programme on Cuba and Urban Gardening.