The Accidental Tomato

All of my tomatoes are accounted for. The one’s that I planted in the poly tunnel, the one’s that have found good homes with friends and colleagues.

IMG_4923

And then this one shows it’s face from between two courgettes. I had dismissed it a few days ago, as a possible weed in the compost. But no, with the warmth and light; this is officially a tomato. That is evident from the leaves, and I know not what variety. I guess it must have been in one of the would be dud jiffy pellets that was thrown into the compost degrade. Will keep an eye on it, and see what this turns out to be. It’s smaller than it’s relatives in the poly tunnel, but an interesting control participant as I didn’t expect to have any tomatoes outside.

It’s always nice to have pleasant surprises.

Pickles, peppers and petals

Had to do an experiment today. THE experiment, the one that was the only reason for growing gooseberries on the plot. The experiment, that is gooseberry pickle. Amlar Achar, as it is know. Now, whilst I have a bollywood ma and pops, that doesn’t mean I know anything about Indian food and preserving. Ordinarily, I grow the produce, Ma then makes it all Indian. Today, I made the produce Indian. Searched a relatively easy to follow recipe, raided her pantry. Mustard oil, onion seeds, even the asafoteda, and that stuff honks half way to hell; it is that potent.

I have never made an indian pickle. I once asked my granny-Mum’s mum- and she gave me a recipe, taught me how to do it, but this was the first time flying solo.

The whole thing was concocted. I have learned to do chutney, and practice for that is straight forward.

I walked away from the saucepan, in something of a strop. I didn’t recognise the substance, it didn’t look like a pickle to me. But I wasn’t looking at it from the Indian perspective.

Still made Dad taste a teaspoon. And Mum tasted it with her dinner.

They are both okay. The Jar is still there.

Having left the jar, and trying to get rid of the sulk; I went to water the plot. It’s a bit hot outside, so  bit necessary. Then there is the poly tunnel; the contents need regular watering. Spotted, was a bright red cayenne. I have struggled to get chillies red in the poly. This is only the second time that this has happened. There are also the tiniest of yellow courgettes, which is nice to see.

The next nice part, was the roses.

Slap bang in the middle, is a rose called Blue moon.

Yes, it’s pink.

floral ‘obbit seedbox by @loldeantimber

horticultural 'Obbit:

flashback post: That floral trug, and the matching seedbox

Originally posted on horticultural 'obbit:

You are all aware of the floral obbit trug made by https://www.facebook.com/Loldeantimber?fref=ts and now they have matching seedboxes too!

The trug was brilliant last year and the matching seedbox is a welcome addition. Now contains some seeds, so already been put to good use. The seedbox was a fabulous welcome surprise when it arrived the other day. Complements the ‘obbit trug beautifully. The same colour and the same pattern, I am really very proud of them both.

The floral ‘obbit trug was a commission made of https://www.facebook.com/Loldeantimber?fref=ts last year. Hand made, with the unique floral petal, the trug has paid for itself over and over in courgettes and goodies. It’s evidence of a small British Business growing and going from strength to strength. The hard work, commitment and passion of @loldeantimber is evidenced beautifully in their hand made GYO products.

As with everything on the blog, if I like something…

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The journey of June: fruitful

Hello, everyone, happy Sunday; I do hope that you have had a nice weekend.

Firstly, an apology. For not having updated properly, the plot is kicking off now and that means watering and harvesting. I have made two batches of ice cream in the last two weeks, with the strawberries from the plot. I have even harvested some tonight. The ice cream was fabulous, the ice cream maker, a good investment and highly recommended. I have been harvesting strawberries daily, and I don’t particularly have a preference for them.

As you can see from the gallery, the plot is coming into it’s own. There is nothing to report yet, as far as squashes and things go. They are just forming large leaves as of yet. In the poly though, the tomatoes are getting leafier, taller, and sending out yellow flowers. I have had to stake them into sentry like positions to prevent them all falling over.

cream sausage tomatos
cream sausage tomatos

The stars for the moment, are the chillies.

image

These are currently sat on a warm window sill. There are also a few more cayennes on the plant. Whilst walking through the poly tunnel with the watering can, I saw the rather chunky, lime green form of the hungarian hot wax. There are about five fruit, I shall leave them there for now.

Soft fruit is coming quick, with the strawberries especially. I have been watching the raspberries carefully. Especially as half canes don’t look to be doing an awful lot. These were canes planted last autumn, all thirty of them in the full season collection. There were an additional 10 yellow ones, The raspberries you see above, all three of them are the harvest of tonight. That yellow one, didn’t make it home, I ate it on the spot.

It was delicious. Get some. These are a variety called Fall Gold.I suspect they are a bit confused, as they are meant to be autumn ones.

I will continue to monitor the growth of the raspberries, to see if any more of them come to life. Also last year, I sank gooseberries and currants. The gooseberries have already yielded one small harvest, the next one, is most likely to be a pickle of some kind. The currants, are still babies, so there is not an awful lot expected.

But they do taste good. I swear, that the berries that I have collected were ready to burst. Beautifully red, they have given the strawberries a good run for their colour money. Not as tart as I would have expected, but a little full of seeds.

I had one black currant berry. May be next year, we can cordial or cassis. Yet to see if I have any white currants, if I can work out whether or not they are ripe. The two blueberry bushes are also laden with fruit, and again, ripeness check needed.

Last but not least, William Shakespeare 2000

william shakespeare 2000
william shakespeare 2000

Big, beautiful blooms, this rose bush sits in the middle of the plot. A sprawling mess, we like this sprawling mess, with green foliage and red blooms that burst in a matter of days in the shape of a fuzzy pom pom. This is the rose that I have been waiting for, as the other roses heralded the start of summer.

Home grown, home made: Pudding

All that would be soft fruit on the allotment, you can eat it, infuse spirits, make it into smoothies. I rather wanted to make ice-creams. After much researching, and I did do a fair bit, I found one and bought it. Today was the first time I have used it, and luckily my mum had harvested some strawberries this morning. (I was asleep this morning when she did, so she came home and told me about it, loudly.) If the rest of the fruit on the plot works, that may make for more experiments.

The machine came with some simple recipes, so I have used one of them today. An eggless recipe as well, which is useful; as there are some family members who don’t eat ice cream made with eggs.

The bowl for the machine, had to be froze and for a while. The ingredients were then chilled to help the process. A ripe banana was added to the strawberries and both were mashed up to a smooth paste and then added to the ice cream mix.

I was fully expecting to be pacing for a good half an hour whilst the machine did it’s thing. It took twelve minutes to get a lovely softy whippy ice cream. And it tasted lovely, it passed the Pop’s taste test.  The quantity made is small, I didn’t want to make more than we can eat. A very small scale study! The inner bucket of the machine is back in the freezer to make the ice cream a bit more solid.

Just in time for tea time.

Garlic and gooseberries

No, no together, I assure you. At least not yet, not until I make a gooseberry pickle type thing. Two harvests in fact. The first, was of the garlic bulb. Purely as it had fallen over. I hoiked out the purple and and green bulb,not expecting the bulb to have split into cloves. Lo and behold, it had! There were quite a few cloves actually, and all very potent. These are the over wintering ones from the garlic farm, and  I do have say that at the moment I am rather impressed. Have yet to harvest any more, I usually wait til the foliage has gone all pale and raffia like. This went into an aubergine, tomato and pepper chutney.

Another experiment, came courtesy of the maiden gooseberry crop. These are my first ever gooseberries. And they went into a jam. I did bite into gooseberry the other day. I didn’t like the gooseberry, the gooseberry didn’t like me. I did want to experiment though, so these were jammed with a scotch bonnet.

The very busy poly tunnel

This evening, I have had a chance to pause and reflect whilst in the poly tunnel. I had noticed that the tomato plants had started to stretch out their leafy limbs and were in need of tying in to canes. I am quite surprised really as to how quickly they have taken off in the last few weeks. Especially as we had something of a drama before they were all plugged in. I do believe that all of the them are inderminate cordon, so this means pinching out arm pits from time to time. Where I have missed them, and there are trusses; I have left them. If the arm pit sprout is tiny, I am rubbing them out. Though I don’t mind if we get a fair few tomatoes, I am being kind to the tomato and to my mum who would rather tomatoes didn’t feel her kitchen worktops.

It is all very busy inside. We have tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and a single solitary cucumber. The latter having been donated by a kind allotment neighbour, and being grown undercover. There was  an aphid attack on one of the chillies, so I’ve had to squish and zap a few little green monsters.

There are flurries of yellow and white flowers. I don’t see any purple flowers on the aubergines yet, these are still a little small and need to do some additional growing. What you see in the picture above are the flowers on the cream sausage tomato, and the fruit of the cayenne chilli. I shall leave the chillies in situ to get red and ripen. On the other hand, we have had already had a number of unripe purple ones from the purple haze plant.

We have an assortment of chillies, from the cayenne, to hotter habaneros. I am glad to see that the orange and chocolate habaneros are forming the tiniest of flower buds. A reflection of the size in comparison to the cayenne, that is usually echoed in their punch.

herbs on the plot @urban_herbs

A week ago, I went to BBC Gardeners World Live and I happened upon Urban Herbs you can find details here about them. My mum had sent me out to get some swiss mint for her. I didn’t find any, but I did find some Indian mint-to placate my mum-as well as some sweet basil, orange mint, bronze fennel and french tarrogan. The tarrogan and basi have been potted into the poly tunnel.

Ma has cooed over her Indian mint, so I think she has been mildly distracted by it.

Roses on the plot

The roses have somewhat caught me off guard, in being early. Perhaps I had forgotten that we were in June already. In 21 days, I have harvested about three bouquets of blooms, and there may still be more all being well. There a few roses bushes that don’t seem to be doing anything, but the large proportion of them are burgeoning with blooms.

I have deliberately put up a picture of the arch. I was at Gardener’s world live last week, and over heard Joe Swift talking about garden planning. He was saying that people put these features in their gardens, but then don’t even walk through them. I definitely walk through mine! The arch is the gateway from one part of the plot to the other.

In the middle is william shakespeare 2000, leading away from the falstaff apple tree, something of a theme! The second half of the plot is called project othello. Either side of the arch are two climbing roses. These are golden showers and danse de feu. One yellow and one red.

The avenue of roses-and fruit trees-was a deliberate design. This year it has paid dividends. Walking passed the blooms, I am convinced that I was smelling lovely zingy lemons. Shakespeare definitely smells of lemons!

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