Mum has just used the second half of the pumpkin, so now all of it has been used. Needless to say, we are probably going to be eating pumpkin for a few days. You can watch it via youtube here.
With one pumpkin we have created straight forward dishes. Both have contained fenugreek which despite being a green manure, is really very useful in Indian dishes. The recipe used here for the curried pumpkin can also be used with squashes and it’s entirely upto you as to how much of everything you might want to use. I have found that pumpkin can be either be quite sweet or bland entirely. With both of these you can add different spices and condiments to make it how you want to.
The curry and the soup were always going to be the plan for the pumpkin, I have yet to make pies!
The recipe is fairly straight forward. Having peeled and chopped the pumpkin it was then roasted with an assortment of spices. Once cooked through, this was added to a base of onions, ginger, onions and cumin that had been sweated off. Adding water and simmering till tender, the pumpkin became tender and was then blitzed with a hand blender. The one difference in this soup compared to ones made previously, was the addition of home grown fenugreek for additional flavour. There were also some frozen home grown chillies in there too.
If you hold a second, I will be posting the other half, where we curry Bruno!
Remember that green pumpkin above, the little green one?
Well, I have that to my aunt. It had turned orange over the last few weeks and she was ready turn it into something edible. So today as an early diwali present, she handed me these.
Seeds. I had asked her to save them for me. The plan, as with all bruno seeds, is to save them, dry them; and send them to loving homes for next year. The seeds were in one hand, in the other was a tupperware box of pumpkin soup. So two presents, for the price of one.
Bruno, one of three, has come full circle. From being a seedling, to a heavy vine, from which we harvested a fruit. To curried and souped, with his seeds now drying.
Bruno, one of three, you actualised your potential.
Potatos and prep were the key words this week. As mentioned previously, we have had an abundance of Pink Fir Apple potatoes. This week we harvested the last batch. These have been by far the most productive potato that I have ever managed to grow. My potato growing adventures have not been without incident. so to have such nice good quality potatoes from the plot is something of a surprise. All of the spuds this year were in raised beds, and either in compost or farmyard manure. This does appear to have paid dividends.
In the poly tunnel, we have a mass of six foot triffids. Would you believe, that whilst I was away, Ma harvested a red tomato. Yes, I was upset too. You can also see her picking glads, some of which were as tall as her.
Grapes are on the turn, and whilst there is not many of them this year, they are rather sweet. The autumn raspberry cane has kicked off with lovely large fruit, whereas the blackberries are still somewhat thin amongst the boughs.
Ma has taken up the cabbages, as she was about to declare war on the critters that were nibbling on them. She has shredded them and frozen for winter saag dishes.
Then came the apples. Having spend ages chopping, coring and peeling. I have found a new gadget! This was tested in the falstaff apples, the worcester pearmain are too small as are the home grown concorde pears. if only I had thought of this two weeks ago! Would have saved me six hours of work!
It is not unusual for me to take my pumpkins from the vine and put them on the window sill to ripen. Especially as the weather turns, the levels of sunlight drop and the temperature lowers.
Having gone away for a week, I had removed the fruit from the vine hours before taking a plane. A week has passed, and there is a distinct change. The green striped skins have given way to the bright orange that we associate with Autumn and All Hallow’s Eve.
Crucial question, how much do they weight?
Well, the precedent is six pounds, that was the weight at which the original Bruno weighed in at. That is the record that we then aim to meet and exceed. Their collective weight does exceed that. However, individually. the largest is 5.5 lbs, the middle one is 3 and the smallest just over 1.5lbs.
Whilst the individual weights may not match the first ever Bruno Fruit, I am going to take great solace in the fact that I have managed to get three fruits from two plants. That is something that I really prize, three is the magic number this year.
Not sure as to what will happen to them, we don’t tend to make lanterns out of them.In the past, they have either been souped or turned into an Indian dinner.
Rain has stopped play today, it’s grey and grim outside. The perfect opportunity to take stock of what is happening on the plot. Means I can update you on the blog, also work on another creative project. A project that builds on the blog actually, none too dissimilar and to be made public later on this year. Let’s just that whilst the blog is updated as and when I have something to share; the creative project is something of a summative assessment of all plot based learning experiences. That is a story for another day though.
So what has been happening this week?
The chillies are cropping weekly, and with the hungarian hot wax chillies loitering on the window sill I wanted to use the constructively. Mum’s been using them in her kitchen as per usual. They’ve gone into assorted Indian dishes, and even the odd fenugreek stuffed chappati. That is after all what they were grown for. The same goes for the harvested garlic crop.
The plums in the pan aren’t mine, not sure where they are from. I fancied making a jelly, and this is somewhat popular amongst friends and colleagues. I was rather traumatised emptying the jelly bag of the purple pulp; it didn’t look particularly nice. It looked as though it belonged on a medical ward. The juice for the jelly was a wonderful claret colour, and that meant wiping down all the surfaces onto which it dripped.
Chillies and garlic also went into a chutney, and I even did an experiment. I found a recipe for piccalilli and have tried this for the first time. I think its a bit mellow and probably needs more a kick; however it awaits taste testers.
Courgettes have started to crop; no thanks to the confused weather. There are other squashes and crops starting to come through too.
The ghost rider pumpkin is starting to sprawl out with its dinner plate sized leaves. Spotted a few babies, that may or may not have been pollinated. With the scarlet emperor beans in full flower, the climbing french beans have started to form gangly pods.
The poly tunnel is alive. It truly is standing room only in there. I have had to stake the tomatos and also defoliate as well. This allows some more energy to go to the fruit-according to my mum-but also allows the plants to be better ventilated.
I was starting to wonder about the super hot chillies. As to whether once again I had missed something in their growing conditions. To be entirely honest, I was chiding myself about not watering them that much. I have harvested a good clutch of hungarian hot wax; and I am hoping that these will go yellow with being on window sill. The would be red cayennes are by far this year the longest I have ever grown! This may be down to letting them stay on the plant for longer than I have in the past.
But! Remember the habaneros? Well, I should have paid more attention, and tomorrow I will double check. There is for the moment, one single solitary orange habanero. I will check if I have a chocolate one. In addition there are the tiniest of pumpkin chillies. I would have had had longer look; only as I was defoliating I heard “Puunnnaaaam! Come home now! You been here a while” My mother was on the plot, and she had come to fetch me back home. In punjabi, and at the top of her voice.
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.
Today is something of a red-letter day. The polytunnel on the plot now has everything tucked into it. The Growing season is officially ready to rock and roll. Unless the weather or the world has a huge great big episode. If you have a look at the tags, you will see just how much is plugged in or potted up.
With exception of two plants-the Dorset Naga and Purple haze chillies-everything in that polytunnel has been sown and grown from seed. That tomatoes, chillies and aubergines. All of which have had some form of drama attached to it. The tomatoes got dehydrated, the chillies had aphids, the aubergines were and are somewhat developmentally delayed.
The chillies are now starting to flower, even the tiniest of the pots that contain the chocolate and orange habaneros have flower buds on. The Cayenne’s have a clutch of white flowers, and the purple haze is a spot purple.
The last of the chillies was potted up today, pettie belle, as were the four aubergine babies. The aubergines are a little smaller than I would have expected, but I did sow them later than I could have and on a whim.
Our challenge now, is to keep everything happy. Watered, fed, happy and not too hot. There is one vent open to help cool and offer some form of ventilation. Valuable lessons are incorporated into all of this. The chillies are in pots, and will stay that way, as will the aubergines. Previously both of these have been in the ground, and not a lot has happened. Tomatoes are plugged in, they have worked well outside in the ground. The added bonus of being under cover might help them this year. Copper tape is around most of the pots, as well as little blue pellets of doom.
Tomatoes are now looking happy, and they are sending out little yellow flowers. So this with the white chilli flowers is a sign of some positive things. I am not too sure about the Aubergines, they might catch up, they might not.
With everything plugged in, let’s keep our fingers crossed.