Inaugral Aubergine and Mint Chutney


The jam pan has been sat idle since the summer, I’ve not done anything since then in terms of maslin pan preserving. Until now. Woke up today with the intention of avoiding all school work, quite a bit of that’s been done over the last few weeks. Today, we were going to make a variation on aubergine and mint chutney that I experimented with last year. Rummaged in the shed to retrieve the jars to be used. Washed them out, sterilised them. Today, we were to chutney.

I had to go find aubergines, I’m not growing any and not at this time of year anyway. Ma wouldn’t let me pinch the ones that she and Dad were going to have for their dinner. Four medium aubergines took a while to chop. Not to mention the red onions and fleshy tomatoes. The red pepper was simple enough. As well a few spices from Ma’s pantry and red wine vinegar. Did I mention the dozen or so dried chillies? It’s a good thing that chutney changes flavour with time. At the moment, chillies and red wine vinegar make for an interesting combination.

This started out as a me thing. I will make chutney today.


I was wrong, the ‘production manager’, namely my mum was going to  help. She’d help me, if she could carry out her own seed sowing experiment, She has saved some indian baby pumpkin seeds, and wants to sow them into pellets. Plus, if the two of us chop, then it doesn’t take too long. She’d also, dragged along the stool before I could occupy the hob. I was not going to get a look in, and this is, after all, her kitchen. I spent a lot of the process by her elbow as she tended over the jam pan. Plus, the mint in question, is her home grown mint. Harvested and dried, it’s in there somewhere.

#NABLOPOMO: April 2015 ‘Grow’


Came across this the other day, and having participated in the November one last year, thought why not. Especially as the theme is ‘Grow’. That, I think, lends itself to the spirit of the blog. Since there is mostly growing, of fruit, vegetables and me as a person.

All being well, the usual allotment adventures will continue and there will be the usual blog posts about them. Last year, It was really nice to see how far away the blog was read. It gets read far and wide anyway, which is lovely to see!

The biggest difference was that the lovely folks on the other side of the pond were reading-remember, I write in England, Great Britain, about the plot. I’m not sure that allotmenteering is the quite the same thing over there. I am sure that there are people who grow fruit and veg, just not in the same way as allotments are organised here in Britain.

As always. I shall be sharing the highs, the lows, the slug stories and the weather damage. And if you want to head about anything in particular, then all you have do is ask.

Update: Psychology Sunflower Challenge 2015

As you are aware I am trying to start a Psychology Sunflower Challenge.

baby sunlflowers
baby sunlflowers

About two dozen seeds were started off in damp jiffy pellets, and made quite rapid progress. In my experience, they do grow very quickly, and you do end up potting them up quite rapidly.


The seedling babies were growing quite quickly on the window sill, so did need to be potted up. Otherwise they get leggy, bend, and keel over. Cue emergency pot up. As you can see above, they have placed into small pots and are on their first baby leaves with the true leaves just about to sprout. These are greedy, sun loving creatures. So they do need warmth, light, and for now, water. The compost is full of nutrients for the next six weeks. By which time, it will be necessary to harden them off, having possible put them into bigger pots. They will need to be protected if there is a sharp drop in temperature and a frost.

I have sown two varieties here. These are sunburst, which get to about five tall, and giant sunflowers, which are something even taller and with multiple flowers.

Hopefully these will all continue to thrive and survive. Will hopefully sow a few more and encourage more pollinators on the plot.

If you have sown some sunflowers, then please let me know. Would be lovely to see what is happening  ^_^

the Chilli Menagerie 2015: Window sill Shuffle

With the tomatoes thrown to their possible impending doom into the 4TB, there has been a window sill shuffle with the chllies. The larger chilli plants are serrano, cayenne, aji limo and hungarian hot wax. The habaneros bring up the rear in the second smaller batch. I have left the habaneros where they are, but others have moved to a cooler spot. Mainly because they are trying to escape their pots and I don’t really want to pot on too quickly. They get comfortable, and things start to go  a bit awry. I have found, through observation, that the cramped drier conditions foster a more positive outcome. Plus it is only nearly the end of March. I don’t want to plant these out into the Poly tunnel in bigger pots just yet.

The wendy house also needs tidying before I do that too. That is the wendy house blow, when the one side did actually do up. Ah yes, I need to repair the door. I am not buying another cover. Why is it, that I always take the one door of it’s hinges? I have done the same with the 4TB….meh.


Tomato transfer 2015-this may not work :S

The lovely Not Just Jams was talking about how she had put her tomatoes into her insulated greenhouse, with fleece. And I thought I might risk it. Not Just Jams also that she had had hot water bottles. Think that was milk bottles with water in, that heat up naturally. And since she is lovely, and has given me a lot of valuable ‘lotment and preserving advice, thought I might try some of her ideas. I didn’t get as far as the hot bottles. If only I had nabbed some out of the recycling that went out yesterday.

So I scampered this morning to tidy up the four tier blowaway, that has housed nothing but trays and things since last summer. I also need the window sill space. In the coming month, different things are going to get sown.

I did fleece the top deck of the 4TB though, and line it black bin bag. From GCSE science, that absorbs heat and light, as does the black trays. So here’s hoping to trap the heat.

And now  I am a scared. That these pampered things are not going to make it til sunrise. They were starting to sulk whilst they were just sat on the flagstones whilst the sun was out.

They are fleeced. In that I have managed to create a box with it on the top shelf. Two sheets of cut down fleece are placed at right angles to one another to cover the four sides.

Closed the door, and I shall try and sleep tonight. The poor things.

Dorset Naga, Trying again 2015


I wandered around the stands at he edible garden show and was lucky enough to bump into the lovely lady proprietress of,uk Since I haven’t sown the dorset naga from seed, and have run out time to do so, I picked up a plug Not strictly cheating, as it’s now up to me to look after this young plant. This and another chilli variety, purple haze, were wrapped up delicately and placed into my rucksack to bring back to Birmingham. I had visions of them being half dead when I got back home, but they were okay.

I had no plans to have the Dorset naga amongst the vast collection of chilli babies that I have currently have. But seeing it, i couldn’t resist.

There have been valuable lessons learned from the experience of last year. This year, the Dorset naga and the other chillies will be in pots. I am not sinking them into the ground, to have lots of leafy luscious plants. This year, we become a bit precious about the plants. The hope is that the pot root constriction method will help plants be productive.

Looks tiny, but hopefully the plants of both varieties will grow stronger and robust.

Oh, and it will need a name. How else will it know it is being spoken to? 😉

Horticultural ‘Obbit at the Edible Garden Show 2015


Well, I went!

I booked my ticket a fortnight ago, having established that I would be away from work. I would have a few days off, and why not revisit The Edible Garden Show at Alexandra Palace in London. The ticket was reasonably priced, you would pay a lot more than the £16 to visit a tourist attraction in the Capital and especially on the first day.I queued, post full English breakfast, as did a few hundred others, having arrived before the 11 am opening. No one told me, about the steep hill from the Alexandra Palace train station. I huffed and puffed up the hill, to see the view over the city in the very crisp weather. It wasn’t sunny, as the world and his wife had just viewed an eclipse. The other event, that was happening that day.

The plan, was to not spend any money. This was an exercise in window shopping. Perhaps learn something too.


And that partly went by the way side. I made chilli based purchases, more on this later, but I didn’t come back to Brum laden with goodies. I didn’t fancy carting them all back, for one.

It was a nice day out, and having arrived early, I had a lot of time to walk around. Window shop, at first, what was around, work out what I wanted to see in the Expert’s theatre. As I got there, James Wong was running late and there were people already waiting. I kept walking around. There were a few schools there, kids and teachers, waiting for winners of Lunch growing scheme. I had empathy towards my slightly harassed looking colleagues, and the excitable kids.

I did spend a fair bit of time sitting in the Expert’s theatre, watching and listening.  I heard Pippa Greenwood, talk about veg, another chap talk about the factors that influence the vegetable patch. Last but not least, there was a question and answer session with the contestants of the Big allotment challenge. Was lovely to meet and speak with both Rob and Rekha. No, I didn’t swoon over Rob, and there were no screaming hoards that I had fight off to have a chat with him. Yes, I was surprised by that too.

This is not my first visit to an Edible Garden show. I made a visit to the show when it was at Stoneleigh. The show at Alexandra Palace felt different. It felt smaller for one, as though there was less there. I think I saw two seed companies. As well as a couple of equipment people. There was the experts theatre, and make/eat demos. Had I not left for the train, I would have stayed for the jam making bit.

It did feel very different to Stoneleigh, though I did go on the saturday that year. A lot less to look at, less hustle and bustle. Didn’t see alot on preserving fruit and veg, I think that would have been useful. There wasn’t anything there for me, that would have made me want to spend my money on goodies. Other than the two baby chillies. I feel that the show has lost a certain something. It just didn’t feel like a show, about edible gardens. There were poly tunnel people, greenhouse and shed people. Even furniture people. But something was lacking. A spark of something,

But I went, and even spent a fiver.

Loving the Liebster March 2015


My thanks to the Wellie Blog for their nomination. I am always grateful for people reading the blog and sharing their comments. It always surprises me who reads the blog, where and what they find on it.

  1. Who is your favourite person to garden with? I tend to go by myself, or my mum will join me fleetingly.
  2. If I wasn’t on the allotment I’d be … be sat in a corner reading with a cup of tea, or writing fan fiction for Sector G
  3. Monty Don or Alan Titchmarsh? Neither. I don’t tend to watch gardening shows.
  4. Which vegetable have you grown to like after growing your own? Chillies, as there are so many!
  5. To dig in the rain or not? No, hide in the poly tunnel and wait til it passes. with a thermomug of tea.
  6. Where is the best place you go to get allotment advice? Other gardeners! 
  7. Which tool would you not be without? Er….transplanting trowel.
  8. Music or bird song whilst on the allotment? pod on shuffle! There is something about listening to James Bond Anthems and also maroon5
  9. What is your best and most successful recipe for allotment produce? Bramley and green tomato chutney, or chilli jam.
  10. Sprouts: love or hate? Pass.

My nominations are as follow:

1. Allotment adventures with jean

2. The travelling Blackberry

3. Silverbells

4.Coffee to compost

5. Lottie land girl 

I’m not going to ask questions, but I am going to ask you to share the love!

#thisgirlcan : Allotmenteering

horticultural 'obbit

Me, and The Champion's league Replica, I think it's a replica..... Me, and The Champion’s league Replica, I think it’s a replica…..

When I tell people, that I have an allotment. Other than almost killing the conversation, the response is usually a scoff and a spot of “what you? Thought that was all about old men.”

Newflash. Think again.

I’ve had the plot now for three years, I was container gardening two years prior to that. And I am certainly not an old man. I’m thirty years of age, and a woman. You do not get to call me old.

I’m not the only girl on our site, it’s actually fairly equal. But I do wonder how many there are across the country. Plus, like many other parts of the society around us. Maybe gardening is no longer a blokey bastion, with cloak and dagger shed conversations. Times are a changing.

It might historically have been a bloke’s playground, on the…

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