December 25

Harvest Monday 25th Dec 2017

The last Harvest Monday of the year. The next one will be the 1st of January 2018.

I recently moved over to a ‘no dig’ approach to allotmenteering and it has lead to some amazing vegetables, some of which I have harvested for our Christmas dinner.

First off are the parsnips.  I generally have dreadful troubles with germination and this year was no different. However, an allotment neighbour had sown his and they had all germinated in the early warm weather we had this year.  True to form, it took me 3 goes to get some germination. These are Countess and I will grow them again next year. They are enormous. In fact, I could sow some each month so that I have more of them but not all this size!

Another vegetable that was large this year for me was celariac and again I put this down to no-dig gardening.  Where the slugs nibbled, the woodlice moved in so I need to prevent that next year but these are definitely the biggest celariac I have grown over the last few years.

It wouldn’t be Christmas day if we didn’t have sprouts! I love them and so don’t need chestnuts or pancetta with them, although that would be tasty. And leeks in cheese sauce.  Plus there is spinach and some early white sprouting broccoli.


Christmas and Boxing day sorted!

The potatoes, which are not pictured here, are Sarpo Mira which I tried for the first time this year and will grow again next year.  They didn’t need watering and only showed slight signs of blight at the end of September.

What did you pick for your Christmas meal?

Merry Christmas every one.

December 11

Harvest Monday 11th December 2017

Over on the excellent blog Our Happy Acres every Monday, bloggers get together and share what they have harvested that day. I thought I might join every fortnight. After all, there are only so many interesting ways you can photograph leeks!

In the polytunnel, I  have a couple of cabbages for over the Christmas holiday. We particularly like these with sauerkraut, raw beetroot, mackerel and horseradish sauce. Sounds disgusting, tastes lovely.

The peppers are sweet peppers and are a chocolate colour. I found these last few lingering on the plant. I did think I would try and save this plant and keep it going over winter by cutting it back quite hard but it is very cold this week and it may not survive.



These veg are what I think of as typical winter veg.  The parsnips are really quite big and too my annoyance I snapped one off as I was digging it up. There are three different types of kale, curly leaved, Tuscan and one other with red midribs which I am not sure about. They are all great in soups or casseroles.



And finally there are the herbs and spinach again from the polytunnel.  The flat-leaved parsley grows all winter here and with 5 plants, I have enough to see me through until late spring.  There is also some lemon grass in here which I grew from seed. I use it in a raw carrot, ginger and lemon salad which is one of those fresh dishes that you sometimes crave during winter.  The spinach is just a small handful now and will sit there until spring when it starts growing again.


What have you been harvesting this week?

December 9

Recipes with winter squash #1

We grew a lot of winter squash this year. I do love them but I also need

variety otherwise it will be a long winter.  My favourite meal is a lamb and squash tagine. You can find the recipe below.

Lamb and Squash Tagine

300g diced lamb

1 onion

1 red pepper

2 cloves of garlic

lump of ginger chopped up small

2tsp turmeric, paprika, cumin

1tsp ground coriander


50g dried apricots

500ml stock

200g (we use more!) of squash

juice of half a lemon

Put everything in a pot apart from the squash and put it in the oven for 1hr at 150C. Then put the squash in and lemon juice and cook for another hour.

We like this served on cauliflower and broccoli. Not the trendy grated cauliflower and broccoli, but florets.

There are lots of squash recipes here:


December 5

Not pretty but they will do!

We have to number our plots by the 21st of December. Of course, ‘last minute Annie’ here had left it to the last minute. The numbers have to be visible from the path. What do you think?

I found some trays in a shop for £1 and then cut tape to make the numbers. it is Gorilla tape so it should last a while.

There is a full range of numbers on the site because allotmenteers are an inventive lot and prefer not to spend too much money.

We have the old style numbers. I bet this number was given out with the plot when it was first taken out.

Then there is the cottage style which looks really good.

And finally, painting. It is nice and clear and can be seen from far away. I could have done this on my shed.

Mine is a temporary solution until I have time next summer to make some nice painted signs to hang up. I am thinking a bit like this…   in fact several of these would be great. 

The one with the fake grass would be fab. I do like these though it seems a waste of Crown Prince! It probably wouldn’t last long either.

How is your plot numbered?



December 3

Covering it all up

This is the month where I start to cover the beds that are empty and wonder how much more compost I need to make next year.

I have a mix of 2yr old manure and compost that I have made myself over this year and I am trying to remember what I put on each bed last year so that I can alternate: compost one year, manure the next. I don’t think this is necessary but I think each has its own type of goodness and the plants might benefit from a range rather than one thing.

The parsnips are ready so we have started to eat them. They are enormous – perhaps a little too big – so I think I need to sow them a bit later next year. I think May should be early/late enough. Perhaps I should sow some in April, some in May and some in June. I definitely need better notes than I kept last year about when I sowed things.

I sowed some broad beans in the greenhouse on the 10th of November and planted them out on the 4th of December. They are tiny in comparison with many other plots but should catch up. I also planted about 12 in the polytunnel which is not enough so need to sow more.

Today, I harvested parsnips, kale, leeks, sprouts, radicchio (not sure if I have spelt that right!) and parsley. I have a few peppers left on a plant in the polytunnel which I will need to pick soon or they will rot.

One of the things I will be doing this month is searching for other vegetable/gardening blogs to read and learn from.  So far I have found

Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments

Sharpen Your Spades 

What are your favourite vegetable growing blogs?