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Monday, 14 September 2009

Just Catching Up

Just catching you all up with what’s been going on in my life. Following on from my first lotty visit last Wednesday I returned on Thursday to work mainly on my own. I wanted to see the task of removing all the spuds from the ground where they were planted this year done and dusted. I was able to complete the last three rows where I was working which left just one other row which is else where on the plot. I mentioned to the site manager that it would have been a good idea to get them out as the crops were getting slug damage as well the longer they sat in the ground (thankfully the weather in my neck of the woods have been dry or the whole crop would have been lost). What damaged spud there were was also being followed up by some little creepy crawlies (sorry Maureen they are creepy I have to agree but for educational purposes I have posted the pictures, so others would know what they are if they ever come across them in the future because till last Thursday I had never seen or heard of them).
Spotted Snake Millipede 'Blaniulus guttulatus'

Since we are on the topic of the plot here are some pictures of The Lotty’s cat whose name is Oscar, he is very friendly for a ‘wild’ cat and made himself a real nuisance last Thursday as he wanted lots of attention and petting, even my four year old got tired of him.

Later Thursday night when all were in bed I finally got round to turning the foraged damsons into jam using the tried and tested recipe from
Eat Weeds blog. The only thing I did differently was to add two pods of crushed cardamons and a couple dashes of ground nutmeg. I was so glad everyone was asleep cause I got to lick the spoon and pot afterwards, oooooohhhhh!!!!! Yummy!

On Friday the poor ignored garden got a little look in with some well needed watering and harvesting of ready crops. Check out my second slightly bigger than the last time ochre.

The weekend was busy starting from Friday afternoon as the kids extra activities restarted this week as well. So I didn’t get to go into the garden except to open and close the greenhouse. On Sunday though we went out to our local largest public green space Mote Park which is about 15 minutes walking distance away. There was a Multi-cultural Melee being put on which is put on every year but we have never gone to before though we have been here seven years now, tut! The kids had a great time going on the rides, getting their hands henna tattooed and watching all the different cultural dances that went on the main stage.

On the way home we did a little bit of foraging of some plump looking hawthorns (2lbs 3oz) and more even sweeter than the first lot damsons (2lbs). Later today when I go out to pick up my daughter I’ll get some more sugar and turn them into yummy preserves.

While on the topic of foraging food, on the way to my daughter’s school we always pass a hedge which at this time of the year has some yellow fruit, I finally got it confirmed today that is some sort of wild Asian origin quince Chaenomeles japonica 'Moned'. The fruits can be used to make jellies and as they are very high in pectin if they are used in conjunction with other fruit which have lower pectin levels they help to aid the setting of those jellies as well, I’ll pick myself some hopefully tomorrow.

I must mention another recipe I tried from fellow blogger mangocheeks, her Roasted beans with couscous and spiced feta Salad. I omitted the feta cheese salad and also added halved cherry tomatoes to the roasting pan. The meal was delicious my tongue felt like it was experiencing fireworks with all the flavours popping in my mouth, thanks again mangocheeks for posting it.

Last but not least, I have been given my first ever blogging award from another fellow blogger (blush). Thanks again Jo and I’ll post about ten things I love and pass it on in my next posting.


  1. great work all round have managed to grow so much this year so I can't wait to see how much variety you grow next year with your allotment space too!!

  2. Oh my goodness, as always I don't know where to start.

    Those horrid little beasties I think are wireworms, they usually target potatoes. I don't know much else, but if it is wireworm, i would recommend reading up on it, especially as it may affect what you grow in the ground next year.

    You seem to be surrounded by lovely fruits, how come the estate where I live isn't offering me bountiful of fruit. My eyes are popping out of my head at your new find of wild Asian origin quince Chaenomeles japonica.

    My goodness you even managed to harvest, how much, yes 2lbs 3oz of hawthorns, my oh my that must have taken some patience prying them of the tree. Good job you had some helpers with you. I wish I was one of them, honestly.

    I am so glad you liked the spicy green beans couscous recipe, it really is one of my faourites.

    Congratulations on your blogging award too. You do have a lovely blog, that's why I keep coming back.

  3. Yes, all the out of school activities resumed for us too last week. Back to being a taxi service!
    Oscar looks like a softie. We have a couple of cats around our site, but they have collars on so they belong to someone. They won't come anywhere near you though.
    Are you able to get to your plot whenever you want now or do you still have to wait until someone else is going too?

  4. I see you have been very busy as usual Kella. It's amazing how much you manage to get done with a young family to look after.
    Those creepies really are horrible, I'm glad I haven't got any (yet!)
    Have you only had 2 Okra ? I don't think I could be bothered to grow them, they sound as difficult as I have found aubergines. I bought some Okra from Tesco's last week it was slightly reduced (not generously so !) and I made a delicious curry with it. I also added some potato and french beans to bulk it out. In India they call Okra 'Lady fingers' because of the shape, it's also known as 'Bindi' which is the Sanskrit name for Okra.

    I have had quite a few Raspberries as mine are late fruiting canes. So I found a recipe for Raspberry curd and made 2 jars this evening, it's delicious, and can be used on pancakes, ice cream, in plain yogurt (my favourite) and I also cooked about 12 beetroots ready to make more beetroot and apple chutney. It's delicious with cheese in a sandwich.

  5. Tanya, though my harvests have been regular they started late and are not as varied as last year but I only have myself to blame for that. I do plan to continue growing the bulk of what I grow in my garden at home, as its easier for harvesting for the pot. But the allotment will come into its own by allowing me to grow spuds in the ground and more main crop veg for storing like carrots, beetroots and other root veges like 'Oca, Ulluca, Yakon', etc. I also plan to grow more of the long standing brassicus crops at the plot and not to forget the space hungry crops such as squashes and pumpkins will go there as well. These crops also need less tending and molly coddling as well so they should cope well out there which frees up space at home for the more demanding crops.

    Jo, Yes Oscar the cat is a real softy and surprising tame for a 'feral'. I still depend on someone letting me in but the key situation is being sorted (it’s a special key which cost quite a bit to cut and there is a deposit to pay for it which is refunded on return of the key). In the mean time the site manager has said she doesn't mine letting me in or leaving me with her key from time to time whenever necessary. I would have had it last nigh for today but the weather was forecasted for heavy rain and boy is it playing true the garden since late last night has been enjoying a well deserved continual drink.

    Mangocheeks, I forgot to label the creepy crawlies (I've edited the post now), they are called Spotted Snake Millipede 'Blaniulus guttulatus' and don't cause the initial damage but follow up on the damage caused by others like slugs and wireworm (I was glad to not find any signs of the latter but they are normally a problem where there was lots of grass/ pasture).

    This is the first year I made a concerted effort to harvest the wild food available and thus far I am well pleased with myself that I have followed through. I plan to use your mulled wine plum jam recipe with the damsons today, I only got as far as de-stoning them last night as my youngest is down with the cold and was very restless last night.

    Thanks for the compliments and the congratulations.

    Maureen, yes (blush) only 2 ochro thus far with a couple small ones left on the plant which for no apparent reason is beginning to die (roll eyes).

    They are a pain to grow and this is the most success I have had in the four years I have tried growing them. I am not ready to give up yet so I'll be going for it again next year (glutton for punishment me), it is the same story re aubergines for me as well but I'll be giving it another go next year as well.

    I love stocking up the cupboard at this time of year with my home cooked preserves too.

  6. Love the stategic product placement...Tesco, every little helps!

  7. Hee! hee! you noticed that too did you, do you think the cats out the bag now? I actually buy my produce and pretend I grew them myself, NOT!!!!! ;)



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