Wednesday 30 June 2010

My rain dance has worked

The dry weather we have been having recently has left me worried about the effect on our crops. In particular, the wild cherries here in Sunniside are looking a bit small. They are already late. This time last year they were all ripe. I was on holiday then and when I came back, they had all been eaten by the wood pigeons. The cold winter must have delayed things this year and we are still waiting for them to ripen. I'm also concerned about the potatoes we have on the allotment. Some will be ready for harvesting soon. As a basic food crop for us, it's important we get a good supply.

A couple of days ago I nearly did a rain dance on the allotment. It turned out I didn't need to. On Monday evening we had a heavy downpour. It gave the ground a good soaking. Our water butts also filled up. So, fingers crossed, and perhaps with a bit more rain, the crops will continue growing.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Cherry pie

I was in London last week. Amongst my plans was sorting out my garden there (I have a house at Crystal Palace though Sunniside in Gateshead in the North East of England is my home). I barely scratched the surface of the garden but I did spot that some of the local cherry trees were covered in fat, ripe fruit. I couldn't resist the temptation to pick a tub of cherries and make a cherry pie.

I also had some blackberries pickled in whiskey which have been waiting to be used up since last autumn. We had long since drunk the whiskey but now I found a use for the blackberries. They made it into the pie with the cherries. The result was rather pleasant.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Rhubarb crumble and pies

We have quite a surplus of rhubarb on the allotment at the moment. The quantity is more accident than design. At the start of last year, we thought our rhubarb had died out. We bought more and planted it. The problem was it hadn't died out at all. Now it is all growing strongly. So I have been cooking with rhubarb quite a bit recently.

Yesterday I made a rhubarb crumble. I have a video on this coming up soon. The day before I made 2 pies. And last week, I made rhubarb and ginger jam.

I'm off to London on business for a week but when I'm back, I'll be making rhubarb chutney, more pies and anything else I can think of.
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Tuesday 8 June 2010

Sweetcorn planted and greenhouse reorganised

Sunday was a weeding day. It was also used to reorganise the greenhouse. Whilst I planted the sweetcorn seedlings into bed 3 (having removed any weeds), David sorted out the greenhouse. Last year we made the mistake of having the pots with tomatoes growing in them on the tressle table. The result was we could hardly get moved in there. So the table came out and grow bags with tomatoes and aubergines went on the floor. The bench was left in for the pots with the peppers.

Friday 4 June 2010

How to make pheasant burgers

We had some leftover roast pheasant (we used the bones to make stock) and a pile of dry bread. Combined together they make great burgers, which we ate tonight with pear chutney I made last year.

Pheasant burger recipe

Turn your bread into breadcrumbs
Mince or shred the roast pheasant meat
Chop one large onion
Mix the above together and add in a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil.
Beat at least one egg and add to the mix. The egg is needed to bind everything together. If necessary add more egg until the burgers hold together when shaped.
Fry or grill to cook.
Then enjoy.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Allotment update - May 2010

This is the latest update from the allotment. Crops are beginning to grow.

Greenhouse update

This is the latest update from the greenhouse, filmed over the weekend. Many of the seedlings have been planted out into the allotment already but we have some crops that will remain in the greenhouse: tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and cucumbers.

Sweetcorn will be planted soon in bed 3.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Growing carrots in bags

carrot bag May 10

We have tried - and failed - to grow carrots in the ground on the allotment. This year we are trying out these carrot bags. This photo was taken about three weeks ago so the carrots have come on a bit since then. We'll need to thin them shortly. For now, this experiment appears to be working.

Raised bed

raised bed May 10

This is the raised bed we have installed on bed 4. As you can see we still need to fill it with earth on the right hand two thirds of it. That will come from the pond we are planning to dig to the left of the raised bed. One third of the bed has been filled with compost from grow bags and potato bags we used last year. We've planted beetroot, radishes and some herbs.